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Blog Entry

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns

Posted on: April 17, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2011 3:39 pm
 
Posted by Andy Benoit



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Another year turned into another rebuilding season for the Browns (it turned out to be the last of three in Eric Mangini’s tenure). Injuries rocked all three mistake-prone quarterbacks (Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and third-round rookie Colt McCoy, who performed OK but was limited to a cliff-noted playbook).

It maybe wouldn’t have mattered anyway, given the paucity of quality receiving options (No. 1 wideout Mohammad Massaquoi improved just enough to pass for being a low-end No. 2, while tight end Ben Watson was the go-to guy by default).

Defensively, the young secondary at times seemed overburdened by the volume of sub-packages in Rob Ryan’s complex system. But often, Ryan’s scheme compensated for shabby pass-rushing resources. The Browns were the only team not to give up 30 points in any of their first 15 games. Still, that wasn’t enough to save Ryan from the coaching staff overhaul in January.




Defensive scheme

The task of installing a 4-3 scheme is substantial, especially given this team’s prior commitment to the 3-4.

Linebackers Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita and nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin (who will now play more one-gap techniques) are the only players from last year’s team who are truly equipped to operate in a 4-3.

And Gocong never did blossom in Philadelphia’s 4-3. Restocking the defensive line will be the biggest challenge.




1. Defensive End
Marcus Benard is a fantastic athlete who, as an outside linebacker, often played bigger than his 256-pound size suggested. That doesn’t mean the undrafted third-year pro is ready to start – especially given that he’ll be learning how to play with his hand in the dirt. Jayme Mitchell, another undrafted guy, is penciled in on the other side. What does this tell you? The Browns need at least three, and maybe four, defensive ends.

2. Defensive Tackle
Rubin can be an adequate two-down player, even if he’s not a true Pat Williams-like clogger. Brian Schaefering, however, does not get off blocks well enough to play inside. Even if he did, the Browns would still need more one-gap quickness here.

3. Wide Receiver
Very few quarterbacks could succeed with Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey and Joshua Cribbs as their top four wideouts. Massaquoi is not dynamic enough to create on his own; Robiskie has barely seen the field his first two seasons; Stuckey’s quickness is impressive but best suited for the slot, while Cribbs is simply a gadget player.




Let’s hope new head coach Pat Shurmur is a patient man. The defense that Dick Jauron is installing is not complicated schematically, but it will take at least two years to accumulate the front seven personnel needed to run it.

That’s about how long the offense will take to develop if Shurmur decides that Colt McCoy is indeed the long-term solution for his West Coast system. A third straight 5-11 season seems likely.

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Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 4:09 am
 

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 3, 2012 4:38 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:05 am
 

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns

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Since: Apr 28, 2007
Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:20 am
 

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns

I think offensive scheme change will be harder to implement - but will pay immediate dividends - based on current personnel.  I think Robiskie, Stuckey, Massaquoi, and Cribbs will all be effective in this scheme..Ben Watson will contiue to thrive as will sleeper prosepcts Carlton Mitchell and Even Moore.  Hillis and Hardesty is healthy will thrive as well.

Based on this thought - I think we're going defense heavy in possibly the first 3 rounds...

Changing from a 3-4 to the 4-3 scheme will be much tougher based on the people on the roster/depth chart now...

I love Robert Quinn in round 1 - A DT tackle like Drake Nevis or Marvin Austin in round 2, and a DE like Jabaal Sheard or Allen Bailey or Christian Ballard in round 3

A slashing RB could be need also



Since: Nov 1, 2009
Posted on: April 18, 2011 2:03 am
 

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns




Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: April 17, 2011 11:25 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns

The Browns are trying to "get young."  They're not gonna sign a whole lot of veterans, even if they had the chance, otherwise, they would've kept alot of the veteran players they had.  This isn't a good situation at all.  The pompous ignorance, greed, and impatience of our new "football czar" has put the Browns from within two years of the NFL Playoffs, to a good 5 or even 7 years of the post-season!  The West Coast won't work in the AFC North, and if it does, they'll need plenty of D to back it up.  I've noticed Pittsburgh puts top 5 defenses out on the field year in, year out, but they struggle against teams with an excellent vertical passing attack.  That said, franchise receivers are straight trouble.  The Brandon Marshalls, Braylon Edwards, Terrelle Owenses, Randy Mosses of the league have far outnumbered the Jerry Rices and Marvin Harrisons for far too long.  The Browns have to be careful.  I'm not 100% sure about A.J. Green, and I always say D first, then pick your gems in the later rounds, but whether they wanna start by beating Pittsburgh, or think that's a final solution, they're still way so much farther away from being a good team now then they were in the preseason last year.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!



Since: May 6, 2009
Posted on: April 17, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns

I think the Browns will go for a defensive lineman early and get some weapons for McCoy later in the draft. Heck, they may trade down to get more picks. That is what some Brown fans want.



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: April 17, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Cleveland Browns

Talk about pessimism! Yes indeed, The Browns seem to be one of the worst affected by the lock out as the new systems will need time and a lot work to implement. However, all is not doom and gloom.
They have one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league in Peyton Hillis and one of the best left sides of any O-Line in the league. The Defensive secondary boast some young studs and Rubin on the D-Line is a beast.
Yes, that still leaves many holes to fill. The Browns really needed free agency this year and hopefully it will happen soon. Or perhaps a very short free agent season will permit them to sign some vets quickly seeing the opportunity for playing time in Cleveland. Who knows.
The 6 spot in the draft could prove fruitful for them (either a rookie stud or a trade down for more picks) and this year's draft does seem to be deep in areas the team needs.
GO BROWNS!!!


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com