When the Browns open the season against the Steelers, look for Denzel Ward to cover Antonio Brown.
The Golden Knights are Canada’s team because they play the way Canadians are always complaining more teams should play. They were fifth in goals per game (3.27) in the regular season while rolling four lines and skating teams out of the building with nary a neutral-zone trap, which had been a hallmark of NHL expansion teams since the mid-1990s. This isn’t to say the Jets don’t also “play the right way,” having averaged 3.33 goals per game. But again, basically half the team is American so, like, they don’t even know about hockey.
The Golden Knights are Canada’s team because of Jonathan Marchessault, who is basically the embodiment of the Canadian hockey dream. He was an undrafted free agent from Cap-Rouge, Quebec, because he was a 5-foot-9 forward and scored only 40 goals with the Quebec Remparts.
Although it was overlooked on an otherwise terrible team, the Browns actually had a pretty good run defense last year. If Ward can shore up the pass defense, it’s easy to see him being one of the key building blocks for a turnaround in Cleveland.
One of the new faces is quarterback Luis Perez, who won the Harlon Hill Trophy as Division II’s top player while helping Texas A&M-Commerce to the Division II title last season. Perez will be joined by Kent State running back Nick Holley, who also played some quarterback in college before missing most of last season with a torn ACL.
Colorado safety Afolabi Laguda, Southeastern Oklahoma State tight end Codey McElroy, Oklahoma safety Steven Parker and Rice defensive end Brian Womac round out the group of players joining the Rams.
The Rams also announced that they have waived linebacker Carlos Thompson. Thompson played three games last year and got a start in Week 17 against the 49ers.
“It was different for everybody. With the younger guys, it was fun at times. I think sometimes when they come up, they don’t really have time to think, or be nervous. In a way, it relaxes the rest of the group a little bit,” said Orpik.