The Cleveland Browns organization always seem to be on the outside looking in at the rest of the league. Everytime you think they are about to turn a corner, another door slams right in their face. A couple of short years ago, Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis had strongholds on their respective positions. McCoy was drafted by the Browns and shortly became the QB of the future, and Hillis was traded away from the Broncos and he ran his way to a Madden cover. In the present day, Hillis is no longer in Brown uniform after a terrible season of injuries and arguments with the Cleveland front office, AND McCoy has been slapped with the concussion prone tag and has to fight for the starting spot against “old” rookie, Brandon Weeden. That’s a lot to deal with, espcially with being the weakest team in their division. While the Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens seemingly get better every season, the Browns keep inching backwards. But will a new rookie RB and a quarterback “controversy” put some bite back in the Dawg Pound’s bark, or will they continue to run with their tail between their legs.
Fantasy Football Studs: Joshua Cribbs can be very dangerous as a return man for the Browns special teams, and CB Joe Haden is strong at his position, which makes them defensive sleeper. But they are far from being a fantasy stud. The only fantasy stud from Cleveland, took his talents to South Beach and is playing in the NBA finals. But back to football. Rookie running back Trent Richardson could be a stud, but according to NFL legend, Jim Brown, he is ordinary at best. So we will have to wait and see how he runs the rock. However, he is worth a draft pick. There are no other players worth mentioning.
Area of Strength: This will be a short paragraph! Because of uncertainty at QB, the Browns will start off running the ball a lot, which it could turn out to be an area of strength. Richardson will be the main guy, but they also have Brandon Jackson and Montario Hardesty, so they have depth at that position. But here’s a wrinkle in that theory: because the Browns may be playing from behind in most games, the running game may go to the by the wayside and they will have to throw more. Who will they be throwing to you ask? Who knows.
Area of Weakness: The Cleveland Browns have been both winners and losers when it comes to drafting QBs. Winners because they always seem to be in the position to draft a QB with a high draft pick. Losers because none of the QBs have worked out. Let’s see, there’s Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, and now, Brandon Weeden. Weeden was drafted with the 22nd overall pick in this years draft from Oklahoma State who will be 29 in October. He does have “upside” with a 6’4″ 221 frame and he does know the life of a pro athlete since he was drafted to play baseball a few years back. But he’s still a rookie QB and he has no viable receiving options other than maybe Josh Cribbs and TE Benjamin Watson, who is a bit long in the tooth. The QB position is the weakest link for the Browns.
2012 Marquee Matchups: Not only do the Browns have the tough task of playing their division foes, they have some difficult matchups right out the gate. In Week 1, they take on the Eagles. Week 5, they play the Super Bowl winning Giants. In Week 7, they go up against #1 pick, Andrew Luck and the Colts. After a Week 10 bye, they play the Cowboys. And in Weeks 15 and 16, they play against rookie phenom RG3 and Peyton Manning. Tough schedule.
All Things Cleveland Browns: The Browns have some of the most faithful fans in the NFL. Here are some great ways to keep track of your team:
Apps: Cleveland Browns Official iPad App, Cleveland Football Live
Fan Clubs: Dawg Bones dawgbones.com, Browns Backer http://www.brownsbacker.com, The Browns Board – The Official Cleveland Browns Fan Message Board thebrownsboard.com