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Intriguing Battles for the Roster – Offense

Intriguing Battles for the Roster – Offense

Guys to Keep an Eye on Next Month

Well, the Cleveland Browns are not full of Joe Thomases and Joel Bitionios – therefore several positions are up for grabs as the team gets back on the field in Berea in July.  Outside of the obvious (and annual) quarterback derby that has already been underway, there are a few key spots where one guy who can separate himself from the rest of the pack.  Let’s look further into those position groups.

Right Tackle

It appears that Shon Coleman will have the first crack at the starting lineup for the orange and brown.  He is big, mean, and has a solid track record in college; however the second-year athlete has yet to prove he can make it work (consistently) in the NFL.  I have faith that coach Bob Wylie will work his “magic” (pun intended) with the former Auburn star.  Meanwhile Spencer Drango and Cameron Erving are waiting in the wings for their opportunity.  I have mixed feelings about Erving, who has been rather underwhelming since joining the team.  Drango had an up-and-down rookie campaign, but getting another training camp under his belt should help his progress.

Tight End

The release of veteran Gary Barnidge opens the door completely for a guy or two to secure the starting position.  The frontrunners are rookie David Njoku and Seth DeValve, who have been impressing the coaching staff up to this point.  Both are receiving threats but could use some work attempting to develop as a run blocker.  Randall Telfair and maybe a wildcard could earn some playing time; however, I would be surprised if the aforementioned duo does not get the lion’s share of snaps.  The question might be, can DeValve hold off the first round rookie?

Wide Receiver

Under the assumption that Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt remain healthy and play up to their capabilities, the Browns will have their top two wide out options.  That still leaves another athlete or two who the team will be counting on to haul in passes for the franchise.  Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis, and Rannell Hall are three options to fill a void that was missing in 2016.  Like some of the tight ends, a young athlete (Louis) has been garnering solid reviews from his supervisors.  However, I am intrigued to see how Hall bounces back from a promising 2016 exhibition season prior to missing the entire year due to a broken leg.

Conclusion:  There is a long way to go until the regular season kicks off in just over two months.  However, the roster must be settled prior to that point in time.  This would include several competitions at position groups, hopefully with the best man winning the gig.  I would like to believe that these include guys who can play in the NFL and not roles just needing to be filled.

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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in NFL Season, Players, Training Camp

 

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The Time to Pay is Now

The Time to Pay is Now

The Browns Have Money – They Must Use It (Wisely)

The Cleveland Browns have over $100 Million under the salary cap heading into the 2017 season.  It’s one thing to be frugal spenders in the NFL, but this is getting out of hand.  I understand going all “Dan Snyder” and focusing on attracting older veterans whose better days (in the league) are behind them is not the way to go.  However, the team must improve tremendously from last years debacle and one way to do this is to sign (or re-sign) some quality, younger veterans who can make an impact now.

Terrelle Pryor Free Agent

Yes, the wideout had just one solid season for the Cleveland Browns.  No, was not astronomical either.  However, Sashi Brown and the front office would be extremely wise to lock up a talent on the edge for two primary reasons.  One, the Browns desperately need a target on the field who can be a reliable option opposite Corey Coleman.  Should the team take Mike Williams or O.J. Howard – even better.  This receiving unit would be one of the better ones in the league.  Additionally, the Browns will more than likely be breaking in another guy under center next fall.  Who would you rather see him throwing to – a tall, athletic playmaker like Pryor or a roster devoid of a guy like that?

Quarterback Plan

There are basically two schools of thought regarding how the franchise will handle the position under center this offseason.  They can either draft their guy for the future in the first round or acquire a veteran signal caller and accompany him with a later round option.  I frankly don’t believe the team will select a quarterback with the twelfth overall selection in this year’s draft – so I feel they will go with the second route.  Now, what can they do?  Personally, I prefer a pocket passer (Jimmy Garoppolo) to a primary runner who can throw (Tyrod Taylor).  If the Browns hear a reasonable offer – no first round picks surrendered – they should pull the trigger on the Patriots’ quarterback, pick a Davis Webb or Patrick Mahomes in the middle rounds, and couple them with Cody Kessler on this roster.  This would be light years ahead of last season’s quarterback room.

Conclusion:  It’s time to see wins for the orange and brown; making smart signings is a way to accomplish this task.  Securing Terrelle Pryor, scooping up Jimmy Garoppolo, and acquiring a reliable defensive starter (likely in the secondary) would be an excellent start to the 2017 free agent period for the Cleveland Browns.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Free Agency, Offseason, Players

 

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Zeroing in Team Needs – Cleveland Browns

Zeroing in Team Needs – Cleveland Browns

Top Three Priorities for the Cleveland Browns

As we are underway in the free agency period, there are a couple of positional groups that are in dire need of upgrading for the Cleveland Browns.  Some of these will be addressed by acquiring free agents (from other squads), while other positions will be improved upon (hopefully) via the draft.  Which are the most vital areas of the team that the front office should supplement with better athletes?  Let’s break it down below…

Quarterback

This is an obvious no-brainer, as Josh McCown is the only signal caller currently on the roster who could even have a shot at winning an NFL game.  It should be apparent that the team will select their next guy under center in April’s draft.  I would like to see the team secure their new athlete with the second overall pick, insert him in the lineup to play immediately, and see what happens from there. Unlike much of the fan base, I understand developing a franchise quarterback takes time – so the wins might not be there in 2016 but that could change down the road.

Wide Receiver

Another apparent spot to upgrade is at wide out.  Unlike quarterback, I want to see the Browns sign a guy in free agency (Mohamed Sanu is a likely candidate) as well as draft one in the second round.  Drafting a young signal caller is a good start for this team, however finding large, fast targets to help him out is something that the Browns need to accomplish as well.  The Browns were riddled last season with small receivers who got hurt easily and were not physically gifted to match up with their opponents.   I’m tired of seeing the team not scoring touchdowns in the fall; great wide receivers should help with this problem.

Linebacker

Both inside and outside linebackers need to be substantially better in 2016 than they have been in prior seasons.  Karlos Dansby is not getting any younger and Craig Robertson is solid but might not remain with this team.  The Browns need to find a guy who can not only cover receivers up the middle, but also be fundamentally sound with his ability to tackle.  On the outside, at least one dominant pass rusher is needed for this defense.   Nate Orchard is the only young athlete who showed promise in 2015 – everyone else either underachieved or has an unknown status.  The Browns might be able to scoop up a diamond in the rough (at linebacker) in the middle rounds of the draft; hopefully they are able to utilize him effectively in Ray Horton’s defense.

Conclusion:  I am looking forward to the Browns finally being able to make this roster better than it was a season ago.  I understand that they actually have to make the correct decisions, but I would like to believe they will do a better job than their predecessors.  The team needs to improve their quarterback, wide receiver, and linebacker positions – whichever way possible.  If the Browns can successfully accomplish this, perhaps they could actually make a leap towards respectability one year after seventeen weeks of misery.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2016 in Free Agency, NFL Draft, Offseason

 

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The Roster Changes Being – 2015 Edition

The Roster Changes Being – 2015 Edition

Latest Free Agency Chatter

The ball has begun rolling for the Cleveland Browns, who are beginning to re-tool their roster (and hopefully improve it). The first move was an acquisition, and a difficult decision, at the quarterback spot. The next was bringing in a veteran wide out to bolster this team’s corps – provided he signs on the dotted line. While I may not agree with all their personnel decisions, I give the front office credit for being proactive and not sitting on their hands.

Josh McCown Signing

Ultimately it came down to whether the Cleveland Browns chose between veterans Brian Hoyer or Josh McCown. In a stunning move, the team took a guy who was six years older and was less-than-successful on the field (winning one contest in eleven attempts last year). Going head-to-head, I would be in the camp that would prefer to have Hoyer on my roster – but I can understand what the team was thinking.

McCown is a veteran who should be a better teacher to the younger signal callers (Manziel, Shaw, and whomever else), as he has been in the league for over twelve years. He also will be content with starting or supporting the starter from the sideline – the same cannot be said for Hoyer. Whether he is right or not, it appears that this type of attitude might not be the best thing for the Browns’ locker room. I wish Brian Hoyer all the best, but I am not sure there is a place where he will be a guaranteed starter in 2015.

I am very eager to see the team’s next move at quarterback now – as I would not expect them to only have McCown, Manziel, and Shaw on their opening day roster. Will it be Brett Hundley, Garrett Grayson, or Bryce Petty? I am hopeful the Browns can get their guy in the middle rounds of the draft, have McCown show him the ropes, and figure out if he or Manziel can be the quarterback past 2015.

Brian Hartline in Town

The former Miami Dolphin (and local product) was in for a visit this week, after he was released by his former team a few days prior. All local connections aside, I would be content to see him sign a contract with the Browns. He would provide a viable option as a number two wide out, and give whoever is under center a dependable target to throw to.

Regardless of if he signs, the team must still find their top receiver in April’s draft. I want one of the “top three” – but it would likely only be DeVante Parker with the twelfth selection. Hartline and Parker would really improve the passing offense next season, and it might not be that hard to accomplish that feat.

Conclusion: The offseason continues to be the most exciting part of the year for the Cleveland Browns. The quarterback carousel continues to turn, and it’s likely to turn some more in the next few months. Additionally, an area of weakness could be improved significantly in the near future. There are still many athletes that need to be acquired to make this franchise a title contender – but my hope is that the wheels are in motion to improve this team from their 2014 unit.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Free Agency, Offseason, Players

 

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