June 6, 2009
By Donald Starver
This is part 3 of our AFC North review. On Thursday, Joe Barnes from the Baltimore Ravens blog The Ebony Bird started things off with a review of the Baltimore Ravens’ off-season. On Friday, Adam Kiefaber from the Cincinnati Bengals Blog Bengal Stripes gave us his review of the Bengals’ off-season. Today we will have Don Delco from the Cleveland Browns blog No Logo Needed sharing his perspective on the Browns’ off-season moves. And finally, I will finish up tomorrow with my review of the Steelers’ off-season.
Take it away, Don.
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.
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?: 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 the 3-4 defense that the Browns run, linebackers are critical. The Browns 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 adjusting 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?
Thanks Don. That was an excellent review. I must tell you that I am very jealous that the Browns got Alex Mack. I thought he would look great in black and gold.
I agree with you that losing Kellen Winslow Jr. is actually a positive for the Browns. Despite all of his talent, KW2 just didn’t seem to have the right mental attitude to reach his full potential. His focus seems to be more on himself than on his team. I have never really liked him as a player. I’ll take a blue collar, selfless tight end like the Steelers’ Heath Miller anyday.
So that ends our Cleveland Browns review. Tomorrow, I will be discussing my views on the Steelers’ off-season moves. See ya then.
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