It’s really, really early to be making declarations about the upcoming season, but NFL OTAs have already provided plenty of juicy stories.
Some of them will have no bearing on the overall standings at the end of the year. Some will certainly trickle that far into the future. We have no idea about which ones will make long-term impacts, but we can make some educated guesses.
One team enters the offseason with almost overbearing expectations and has a limited window with which to placate fans. Another team brought in a high-risk rookie and has done a terrible job of not protecting him. An NFL veteran with tons of tread on his tires is blowing new teammates away, while a top rookie is struggling to get off to a good start.
Taking a look around the league now that every team has gotten to get into their OTAs, these are our top takeaways.
1. Myles Garrett off to frustrating start in Cleveland
When you’re a No. 1 overall pick, the expectations cannot be any higher that you’re going to make an immediate impact. When you’re a non-quarterback taken No. 1, those expectations are raised even higher, because there is no position of greater import in the NFL than quarterback.
This leads us to defensive end Myles Garrett, who has gotten off to quite a slow start for the Cleveland Browns. And by slow start, we mean he hasn’t been doing a lot of practicing as he rehabs what’s being reported as a sore foot.
Now, Cleveland is saying all the right things, like there is no reason to panic and this isn’t a major issue. And it’s true Garrett did practice a couple times this past week, taking a day off in between Tuesday and Thursday to rest his foot. But you have to believe there’s at least the tiniest bit of panic in Cleveland’s front office. After all, last year’s first-round pick, Corey Coleman, missed a lot of his rookie campaign due to injury. Now he’s likely out until training camp with another injury, this time a hamstring issue, among other things.
The Factory of Sadness has been seemingly cursed for decades. These developments do absolutely nothing to deter fans from wondering if this is just more of the same. Hopefully, both Garrett and Coleman are able to make big-time, meaningful contributions to the Browns in 2017.
If not, then one wonders just how much patience owner Jimmy Haslam will have with Hue Jackson, Paul DePodesta, Sashi Brown and Co. as the organization continues to search for a solution to its long-standing woes.