This is not your Grandfathers Cleveland Browns, or your fathers for that matter.
They are not even the Cleveland Browns from last year…They are “Brand New”
The signing of Brad Childress is huge. Last year first year Head Coach Pat Shurmer though that he could handle both the Head Coaching duties as well as the offensive coordinator job. Anyone who knows anything about football knows that was a mistake. Shurmer barely scratched the surface of being an offensive coordinator in the NFL, but for some reason Shurmer thought he could do both with the Cleveland Browns.
No I don’t think so.
Coach Childress is a former head coach for the Minnesota Vikings; he helped his team to two playoff appearances in a five year span. The Vikings have Adrian Peterson as the feature back, something the Browns plan to do with Trent Richardson. Coach Childress will not call plays that will be Pat Shurmer’s job. What he will do is help with practice and game plan schedules for the offense. This is a huge step in the right direction for the Browns. This will allow Coach Shurmer time to evaluate both sides of the ball including special teams.
Nolan Cromwell was hired as the senior offensive assistant; he has helped the Packers and Seahawks with offensive development and really brings another person to help with the players and the game plan. Nolan is one of the most vocal coaches on the team and is usually identified in articles as someone who is really pushing the development of the wide receivers.
The Reality of the Situation
The Cleveland Browns finished with the 29th offense in the NFL in 2011 and that is pitiful. There are not many positives to take from last season. So we are going to let the Cleveland Browns start the season, Brand New. The past is the past and this is the new Cleveland Browns offense
We will have improved play from the Quarterback
- Brandon Weeden is a quarterback that is a big guy; he can really sling the ball all over the field, and he beat all of the elite QB competition in college. His size to look over the line and the ability to stretch the field is something sorely missed from the Cleveland Browns offense. Defenses can no longer put 8 players in the box and play man to man on the perimeters. They have to play us straight up because Brandon can make all the throws. I don’t really expect Brandon to come in and struggle. Tom Heckert has made great decisions in the draft and I can’t see him missing on Brandon Weeden. With the way rookie QB’s have come in and played well, I can only see Brandon coming in and playing well. He will throw some interceptions and may get smacked around in the pocket, but that’s development. No matter what his age is, he is a rookie.
- Colt McCoy should be the backup, even though I think they are going to just release him. Seneca Wallace is not great, he cost us more money than Colt and he is not great, BUT what do I know.
Cleveland Browns have a Stallion at the RB position, and some Thoroughbreds to help out
In today’s NFL, The 3 down back is almost non-existent. Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Ray Rice may be the only ones that carry the load for their teams. But the New York Giants employ a multiple back system, and it turned into a Super Bowl.
- Trent Richardson was the best player in college football in 2011 hands down; no questions need to be asked. To be a running back in the SEC and dominate the competition reminds me of what Cam Newton did to similar competition, and we see what he did in the NFL. I know they play two different positions but, can you name the QB on Alabama, or name a receiver on that team. That same team that won the BCS National Championship. Exactly. His size is similar in muscle build to Adrian Peterson. But he has the low center of gravity like Ray Rice and a Maurice Jones-Drew that will allow him to hide behind blockers and because of low center of gravity maintain balance as he runs through running lanes. You have to make a commitment to tackle Trent Richardson, and that is something I don’t think a lot of people will want to do one-on-one
- Montario Hardesty is hopefully healthy, the positive is we don’t really need him to do anything other than just be able to provide some reps. Brandon Jackson was the running back on the Super Bowl Green Bay Packers in 2010. Injury sidelined him last year but this year he is healthy and ready to provide depth. He is very familiar with the west coast offense and will help Trent understand concepts. Chris Ogbonnaya played decent enough in relief to push Montario if he does not play better.
- Owen Marecic was a two way player at Stanford, where he played FB and LB. He has to be smart, but never looked the part last year. The concussions did not help him. He reconditioned his body in hopes to hold off 7th round pick Brad Smelley from Alabama. Smelley has versatility and great hands coming out of the backfield. I think they will keep both players because of Smelly versatility and Marecics history of concussions
There is something that goes on in the NFL and everybody does it…its follow the leader. If you do it, we will do it to. Right now a team like New England has TE’s that are the staple to their offense. The Two TE set is taking he league by storm.
- Ben Watson is a concussion waiting to happen, I don’t hope it happens to him but it’s something that could happen. Watson has always seem committed to the team and is a Super Bowl champion so he knows what it takes to get there. Jordan Cameron has done nothing but make a name for himself in the offseason. Pat Shurmer has done nothing but praise Jordan for his development in the offseason. We all know about Jordan’s former basketball career. Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham turned into studs after a second season in the NFL. We can only wish that he turns out to be half as good.
- Evan Moore is one of my favorite players on the team. One play that stands out to me was a game against the New York Jets. Evan Moore was lined up man to man vs. Revis Island and caught a quick slant for a TD. His size is a mismatch for many defensive players; I don’t know why he did not get on the field especially after being given a new contract. Maybe it was his blocking and the addition of Mitchell Swartz will allow Evan to get more playing time. I can see Jordan Cameron and Evan Moore causing trouble for many a defense in the NFL. Alex Smith is a great blocker and can be an asset with that skill set, but he may not have a home with the Browns.
Everybody was calling the Cleveland Browns Wide Receivers a joke. It’s weird what the addition of one player will do to change the mindset of an entire group
- Greg Little played better than anyone could have or would have expected last year. He finished statistically right up there with Julio Jones and A.J. Green. I’m not worried about his drops, he missed an entire season of football and he only caught passes 10 yards and in, so he always had to worry about getting hit. That’s a bit of a shocker for a rookie who did not play for a year. Greg lost weight and looks ready to explode into a very good receiver. Josh Gordon is the addition that has changed the landscape of the view people have of The Cleveland Browns wide receivers. Josh is similar to Greg Little in the fact that they are big receivers who enjoy catching the ball and turning into big plays
- Mohammed Massaguoi is barely holding onto a position. He has not ever been productive but has the full support of the coaches and front office. I believe he can make his own bed this year, if he does not play well, josh Gordon will take his playing time away. Something that I think will happen anyway. Josh Cribbs wants to be a receiver, even I want him to get some time at receiver but he is so special to the Special teams. I want to see him add on the performance he started last year when he had his best year as a receiver. Cribbs makes plays and catches the ball in traffic and has big play potential. He is a talent that needs to be utilized on offense. Period. Let Norwood and Benjamin handle the Kick return duties
- Jordan Norwood is really turning into a pretty good receiver. He is small but he makes plays in the open field. There is competition for him to keep that spot so he must show improvement. Travis Benjamin could be a slot guy but more than likely will be used as a downfield threat. He has impressed with his route tunning and sure hands
- Carlton Mitchell is tall and fast and the fans hope that he gets better, but it wont happen. Josh Cooper is Brandon Weeden’s buddy from college. He has nice hands and knows how to find the soft spot in zones. He is another fan friendly player that probably wont make the team
About the Offensive Line…I am happy that we have added depth and know it is being considered strength. I have never really been too interested in writing about offensive lineman. So I took a great article from Chris Pokorny at Dawgs by Nature that gives a great breakdown of what people have been saying about The Cleveland Browns and the offensive Line
This offense will not be a juggernaut of an offense like the Green Bay Packers this year, but they will be much improved. I fully expect the offense to finish in the Top 10 in rushing and the Top 15 for passing.
The Browns may have only won 4 games last year, but it’s not like they were blown out of all the games. There were 6 games that we loss by 7 points or less.
I’m not the type to look at a schedule and start counting wins and losses, but I have heard that the Browns have one of the toughest schedules, but you never know what a team is going to bring on any given Sunday.
I am sure that the Cleveland Browns will be a ground and pound offense. I am not getting caught up in the hype of Brandon Weeden and Josh Gordon coming to town and suddenly making us into the New England Patriots or the Saints. We are Cleveland, and we play in the AFC North.
If anything those moves are in place so that the running game can excel. As I stated earlier no one can put 8 men in the box anymore because of the threat that Brandon can make a throw that will hurt them. In turn there should be running lanes and space for Trent to play.
The Browns have a multiple back system, which includes a beast in Trent Richardson. He never has to come off the field but can you imagine what a fresh legged Trent could do in the 4th quarter of games.
The Browns have multiple TE’s that can stretch the field and play in multiple sets. Remember Ben Watson came from New England where it all started.
The Browns have built an offensive line through the draft and has depth.
The Browns have a mature strong armed rookie QB that is ready to prove doubters wrong.
And lastly, The Browns have a WR crew that has been underestimated and undervalued. But since the addition of Josh Gordon no one has been complaining about the depth.
I would like to say that some people are thoroughly missing what the Browns are doing here, but maybe I am a homer.
Only Time will tell.
Here is my story on the Cleveland Browns defense