AFC North Preview- Cleveland Browns

A year ago, hope was very high in Cleveland. coming off a 10-6 season, and a playoff appearance in 2007, a lot of people felt that the Browns’ success would be repeated in 2008. But Derek Anderson faltered, the Browns turned to Brady Quinn, and he ended up being hurt for the rest of the season. The lack of success at QB, and the lack of defense crippled the Browns, and a 4-12 season led to the firing of Romeo Crennel, who saw very little success after being successful as the Defensive Coordinator for the New England Patriots.

The new head coach in Cleveland is former New York Jets coach Eric Mangini. Mangini, another Bill Belichick disciple. The first task for Mangini on offense will be having to choose between Quinn and Anderson. Brady Quinn showed flashes of brilliance before he got hurt, and should get the opportunity to expand on his skills. Derek Anderson however, needs to take advantage of this opportunity; if he doesn’t do it for the Browns, at least do it for himself so a team that will need a QB in the future can look at him and say “this is what we need”.

So we have put the quarterback situation to rest, the Browns have plenty of receivers, Braylon Edwards needs to catch passes and not drop them. David Patten should be a solid #2 receiver, and then Joshua Cribbs at #3. Expect the Browns to run a spread offense, and the competition should be fierce for the #4 spot. The RB is still going to be Jamal Lewis, and Steve Heiden should be at Tight End. The O-Line should be improved and create holes for Lewis in the running game, and protect Anderson and/or Quinn a whole lot better.

Mangini is going to lead the defense and he brought in Rob Ryan. They will stay with a 3-4 formation, and Shaun Rogers is still the big anchor at Nose Tackle. The Browns will need to improve on their linebacking corps and secondary to make a statement.

With a questionable situation and an uncertain defense, it just does not seem like the Browns are going to make a splash this season in this season. Once the QB situation is solidified, it will have to be up to the Browns to make something happen. If there is one thing that would make a season in Cleveland, it would be beating the Pittsburgh Steelers. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long 2009.

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