»Brian Hoyer has four NFL starts in five seasons and is seven months removed from ACL surgery. Does that sound like a quarterback who will hold off Johnny Manziel and all that comes with "Johnny Football" -- exciting preseason plays, a clamoring fan base, the promise of a new tomorrow and hope dancing in the pocket? Don't be surprised if Tyler Thigpen -- with more than 10 NFL starts in the pistol offense under his belt -- is higher on the depth chart than Hoyer by the time September rolls around.
» NFL Media's Charley Casserly predicted that third-round running back Terrance Westwill end up beating out free-agent acquisition Ben Tate. A more likely scenario is that Tate goes down with an injury and never regains the starting job. Don't sleep on undrafted free agent Isaiah Crowell, viewed by some draftniks as the most talented back on the Browns' roster.
»Josh Gordon is appealing his pending lengthy suspension. The expectation is that he won't be available for at least the first half of the season. That would push a brittle Miles Austin into the No. 1 receiver role, with Andrew Hawkins in the slot and the No. 2 spot up for grabs between Nate Burleson, Travis Benjamin, Earl Bennett and Packers castoff Charles Johnson. Even with Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron playing like a young Tony Gonzalez, this receiver corps is among the NFL's weakest.
» If the offense is in transition, the defense should be a strong suit under Rex Ryan protege Mike Pettine. The front seven was a revelation for the majority of last season. With Donte Whitner and first-round cornerbackJustin Gilbert bolstering the secondary, there's no obvious weak spot on defense.
» The initial campaign of the Pettine era figures to hang its hat on a ball-control offense and a blitzing, physical defense. Even if the Browns are expected to bring up the rear in the AFC North, they are no longer a pushover, much less a laughingstock. Bring your lunch pail when you come to Cleveland.