The Browns decided to pump up their offense in
this year’s draft by both trading up for the rights to RB Trent Richardson and by next calling Oklahoma State QB's Bradon Wheeden's name, but will these moves be enough to put some bite back in the Dawg
If you ask
the average Brown’s fan about the team’s ability, or lack thereof, to put the
ball in the endzone, they might tell you the offense was downright
offensive. It appears Browns management
agrees and to that end they traded up one spot with Minnesota (who received
Cleveland’s 4th, 5th and 7th round picks to
trade spots) and drafted prized running back Trent Richardson of Alabama with
the 3rd overall pick in the draft.
This will hopefully fill the void left by the departure of Peyton
Hillis, the bruising powerback who left under acrimonious circumstances to sign
with the Chiefs during free agency.
then arched more than a few eyebrows by using their second pick in the first
round to draft Oklahoma State’s field marshal Brandon Weeden. The former Cowboys quarterback was not
projected to be a 1st rounder, and many believed the Browns could
have easily landed him as the 5th pick in the 2nd
round. But this Browns management team
knows what they like and will not be deterred by draftniks and pundits who
believe they know better.
timetable on Weeden maturing as an NFL caliber QB is hastened exponentially as
he is a 29-year-old rookie who was not signed to learn under either Colt McCoy
or Seneca Wallace. No, his time is now
and if his recent workouts with the team are any indication, he has a
confidence and swagger that may make training camp and the preseason more of a
coronation than a competition.
One of the
lone bright spots for the Browns was their secondary. The Brownies ranked 2nd in the NFL
in defending against the pass, allowing a paltry 184.9 yards per game through
the air in a league that has evolved into a pass first mentality. However. it was their run defense that proved
to be the bane of their 2011 existence.
linebacking and defensive line corps may not conjure images of Dallas’s
Doomsday Defense of the 70’s but they are hopeful that this year’s crew will be
stouter than in previous years. An
upgrade won’t be difficult from last season where opponents chewed up the
ground like a rototiller. Cleveland
surrendered an average of 147.4 yards per game and landed them at the bottom of
the heap, a dismal 30th place. The signings of free agent defensive linemen Frostee Rucker and Juqua
Parker should bolster the line but won’t evoke any sleepless night from Ben
Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco or Andy Dalton, all AFC North adversaries.
How do the Browns do in 2012?
The NFL odds makers are projecting a slight improvement over the woeful 4-12 record from
last season. The total wins currently
sits at 5 ½ for the upcoming season and the odds for the Brownies to win the
Super Bowl has Bovada giving out 200-1 odds on anyone brave enough to back that
bet. Clearly this is not a Super Bowl
contender and with mandatory meetings against their more talented AFC North
rivals, of which they lost each home and away contest last season, will limit
their ability to push themselves over the hump and get to six wins for the
However, this is an improved team offensively, and
it would surprise few who follow the NFL closely to see them win at least one
of those six games against their divisional rivals and maybe even two. But the schedule does them no favors. In addition to the brutal divisional games,
the Browns will see the Eagles, World Champion Giants, Chargers, Cowboys, and
the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos. That will leave no margin for error against Buffalo, Indianapolis,
Oakland, Kansas City, and Washington.
Good luck, Browns fans will need it!