AFC North Offseason Reviews: Cleveland Browns


Sorry about the 5 days with no post.  The whole network was having tons of issues with WordPress and couldn’t log in, and I couldn’t log in to write a post.  If you were following my twitter updates, it was one of the most annoying things in a while.  Anyway, here it goes.

A few days ago, I posted an offseason review of the Ravens for  Today, and the next two, I will post the three others that were made for that same purpose.  Today, the Brownies.

AFC North Offseason Review: Cleveland Browns

2008 Record: 4-12 (AFC North: 1-5)  

Key Losses: MLB Andra Davis, S Sean Jones, TE Kellen Winslow, Jr., WR Joe Jurevicius

Key Free Agent Signings/Trades: MLB Eric Barton, OLB David Bowens, DE Kenyon Coleman, S Abram Elam, WR Mike Furrey, CB Rod Hood ,TE Robert Royal

Key Draft Selections: First Round: C Alex Mack (California); Second Round: WR Brian Robiskie (Ohio State), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (Georgia), DL David Vekiune (Hawaii); Fourth Round: Kaluka Maiava (USC); Sixth Round: RB James Davis (Clemson)

Best Free Agent Signing and Impact: The Browns targeted Abram Elam, a restricted free agent, and signed him to an offer sheet. The Jets matched that offer sheet with hours to spare. On draft day, the Browns traded their No. 5 pick to the Jets and among the players the Browns got in return was Elam. 

Biggest Loss and Impact: S Sean Jones and TE Kellen Winslow. Jones is a key loss because he was a starter. At the time, the Browns had nobody to replace him.  Mike Adams was being projected as the starter, but after the trade on draft day that netted Cleveland Elam, they now look to be in good shape moving forward at safety. Winslow was a different situation. Is he a big loss? Yes. Would they be a better team with him in a Browns uniform? No. Winslow was a perfect example of the old adage “addition by subtraction.” Although Winslow will be missed in the passing game, his attitude and lack of desire to run block will not be. This was the biggest indicator of where Mangini wants to take this team. Run the ball and control the clock. You can’t do either effectively with a tight end that doesn’t block anyone.

What is your reaction to the Browns’ draft?  Has it changed since April? Two wide receivers in the second round? Doesn’t seem like a logical choice, except for the Detroit Lions. The best thing about the draft was the Browns did not pick at No. 5. There was not a clear-cut player that could help Cleveland in 2009 and that selection would have demanded a lot of money. By trading out of that spot and picking up a center in Alex Mack, it only continues to bolster an already above average offensive line.

Was the Browns’ biggest need addressed? No. In a 3-4 defense that the Browns run, linebackers are critical and they still do not have above average linebackers. Former Jets players Eric Barton (MLB) and David Bowens (OLB) will help, but the position is still a big weakness especially since the Browns employ the 3-4 scheme.

What storylines will you follow in camp? (1): Quarterback. Duh. Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson? Who ya got? Most are leaning toward Quinn, but Anderson has a chance and that frightens most. (2): Who will emerge as the four to start in the linebacking corps and is it enough to help this defense improve? (3): Currently the Browns have 10 wide receivers and 10 defensive backs. Something has to give. (4): How is the team adjust to new head coach Eric Mangini, new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan? (5): Does RB Jamal Lewis have enough left in the tank to solidify the Browns running game, a Mangini staple?