Posted: 5/10/2012 11:42 AM
Posted: 5/10/2012 4:33 PM
So all the yelping for the big armed qb probably will be in vain as Jamarcus Russell was the first pick. The Browns are not caving, folks, and none is falling from the sky and landing in Berea.
The failure to acquire a run stuffing tackle of impact is the glaring omission of this transaction season. But it should not obscure what the Browns did accomplish in upgrading their roster.
Five areas of the team were substantially improved.
Running back: How many players do the Browns have that rank in the top two in their division? Free agent running back Jamal Lewis instantly qualifies, even with the running back situation in the AFC North with Willis McGahee replacing the departed Lewis, Cincinnati's Rudi Johnson, and Pittsburgh going with Willie Parker while Najeh Davenport learns the offense.
Everyone but Jim Brown believes Lewis still has gas in the tank to be a superstar in the NFL. At the very least, he gives the Browns a security blanket at a position of constant turmoil a year ago. And with a year under his belt, Jerome Harrison may be the answer as a change of pace back.
Quarterback: At 6-4 and 222 pounds, Brady Quinn's stature will be noticeable immediately. He will pass the eye test as an AFC North quarterback. His mobility and presence in a high profile program will be hard to dismiss.
The commercial of him working out in T-shirts and shorts for a vitamin supplement will definitely make him marketable as well. The Charlie Frye era is now over, and the recently acquired Derek Anderson will tote the clipboard.
How quickly Quinn can start winning won’t be known until we see him react to live pass rushes and complex NFL pass defenses. Still, he is an upgrade in the tangible aspects of the game’s most important position.
Defensive secondary: Any defensive system using a 4-3 alignment as its base defense needs a minimum of eight cornerbacks and safeties to make the defense strong.
The Browns had three quality secondary players last year – cornerback Leigh Bodden and safeties Sean Jones and Brian Russell. But Russell left for Seattle in free agency, clearing the way for Brodney Pool to step up, and the Browns were reduced to Daven Holly across from Bodden. Eric Wright has first round talent, but an off-field incident drove him into the second round. Brandon McDonald can play corner, but has the size to fill in at safety.
Offensive line: Fielding a right tackle playing on one healthy (body part) last year in Ryan Tucker brought down the whole offensive line. Tucker was in and out of the lineup and Shaffer was overmatched on the left side. Also, there were no young legs to spring off the bench.
The Browns addressed both issues by drafting franchise left tackle Joe Thomas, and moving Shaffer to the right side. They also signed prize free agent Eric Steinbach along with Seth McKinney.
Backup defensive end: The Browns dodged bullets last year when an aging Orpheus Roye was out of the lineup. And with Alvin McKinley leaving in free agency, he'll be replaced by Robaire Smith. But behind them is undrafted Simon Frazer. The Browns have added speed and versatility to the position and also improved their special teams with Hawaii's Melia Purcell and LSU's Chase Pittman.
Yes, this crap really could have been written any year.
Pick a year and give it a try. I'm outta here for a week or so in the mountains.
Posted: 5/10/2012 7:00 PM
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