Overall, though, the weakening of the offense will be more damaging than any improvement in the defense, and it seems unlikely that the Browns can repeat as division champions.
The Browns, by the way, have another handicap shared by no other club in the East. Their one interdivision opponent this year is Green Bay—and they must play the Packers in the second game of the season.
The Browns have a resourceful and imaginative coach in Blanton Collier. It is just possible that Collier will be able to skin the team through to the title even without Brown. Until it gets some new clothes, however, Cleveland is more likely to wind up second.