Latest Browns Notes
The offseason is here and the wheels are turning for the Cleveland Browns. Both the staff as well as players has been discussed in the news recently. Let’s breakdown both aspects of this franchise and what it means.
The time might be coming soon where wide receiver Josh Gordon gets reinstated from his one-year suspension. The new personnel department could possibly have a huge decision to make. Whether they keep the troubled wide out or not, the Browns need to reinforce the position heavily in the coming months as this current crop will not cut it.
An option would appear to be getting a reliable free agent in the coming months. Having Hue Jackson at the helm, a pair of his former players in Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones might be strongly considered as acquisitions. In the NFL Draft, I do not expect the team to go for LaQuon Treadwell with their first pick, but would not be surprised if either Michael Thomas or Josh Doctson (to name a few) is chosen in the second round.
For his second tenure, Ray Horton will man the Cleveland Browns’ defense. Many are upset at this hire, however the defense was better statistically in 2013 than it was the two years since. I’d like to believe the unit will be improved from Horton’s first year, but I can’t be too optimistic yet. Jim O’Neil did no favors in his two years; Horton appears to be an upgrade.
Al Saunders has been hired as the senior offensive assistant. The longtime coach in the NFL comes to Cleveland and brings a great deal of experience (over thirty years to be exact) with him. While he’s not an offensive Dick LeBeau, the Browns could do much worse than Saunders. I will miss John DeFilippo and wish him all the best, but hope that Saunders can help me forget about the former offensive coordinator quickly.
The associate head coach on offense will be Pep Hamilton, the former quarterback coach for Andrew Luck (both at Stanford and Indianapolis). While his last tenure ended prematurely, Hamilton got some great stats (and wins) from his signal caller. However it can be debated whether that was due to Pep’s leadership or the talent at quarterback. Kevin O’Connell was brought here to help with Manziel, now that both will likely be gone – Hamilton could get another shot at working with another top five draft pick.
Former running backs’ coach of the Minnesota Vikings, Kirby Wilson now becomes the running game coordinator for the Browns. After coming from a franchise that includes Adrian Peterson, the coach will have to tinker with (at least) two young backs in Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. I liked Wilbert Montgomery in the same role last year, but it seemed like he was not on the same page with the offensive coordinator.
Hal Hunter leads the offensive line, while Robert Nunn will be the next defensive line coach. The former was with the Colts and Chargers and has many years of experience, while the latter was most recently with the New York Giants. The Browns’ offensive line when through a tough situation following the dismissal of Andy Moeller just prior to the start of the 2015 season. Nunn needs to give a shot in the arm to a group that has had its issues in getting to the quarterback.
Conclusion: On paper, it appears that this assembled staff is much more experienced than the guys they replaced. Of course it will come down to how much they can get from the players – that’s where the draft and free agency is vital for major improvement.