This is the debut of a new, likely weekly, article where I ramble on about Browns related things that are on my mind. My beloved Cleveland Browns are preparing to take on Da Bears in the 4th and final pre-season game. I have not yet come to terms with the title of this article, so it will likely change at least once. This first edition will focus on some of my impressions from the first 3 pre season games and the happenings of camp thus far. After the game Thursday night we will have our Browns predictions for the upcoming season. Here are my Browns thoughts.
– Jake Delhomme has looked pretty solid in his pre season reps. I find it very exciting that we are not relying on the talents of Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn to make it through the year. I am glad they took their talents elsewhere. While Delhomme certainly is month Payton Manning, he is indeed an improvement. I like the way he runs the offense and is a leader, hopefully it continues on into the season.
– Jake’s neck has got to be sore from Ndamokong (Donkey Kong) Suh trying to detach it.
– Peyton Hillis is pretty much a beast. While Jerome Harrison hasn’t quite got it going yet, I think the combo will be very effective this season.
– I like our backfield options. Harrison will be the main man, clearly, but the tandem of Hillis and Lawrence Vickers pounding it up the middle has got to worry front sevens across the league. It also dramatically increases our short yardage and goal line abilility. Plus the team could explore having both Hillis and Harrison out there at the same time to confuse defenses. I’m excited. Plus we have yet to see Monterrio Hardesty and what he could bring to the table. We have also not yet seen…
– the Flash. I’m kind of surprised it has not yet been featured in the pre-season, but I’m assuming it is being kept in Eric Mangini’s back pocket in case the offense sputters. Hopefully the team won’t need to heavily rely on it this season, but it is still a nice wrinkle to throw at teams.
– Josh Cribbs is starting to look like a real option at WR. He made a spectacular grab versus the Lions and has looked solid so far regardless.
– Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaqoui also look like they have made big strides. Robiskie is starting to resemble the star wideout he was in college.
– The pass rush is non-existent. They are barey getting pressure on the QB and have gotten just one sack in 3 games. The Rams and Lions offensive lines are not that dominating. Mangini suggested there hhas been some issues withg players understanding Rex Ryan’s blitz schemes. So let’s hope that is the case.
– The secondary is looking pretty good. Joe Haden and TJ Ward are making strides and improving constantly. And they should be ready to contribute right as the season kicks off. Eric Wright continues to grow and impress and Sheldon Brown is getting the hang of the system. Abe Elam is looking better in both man and zone coverage. It does, however, mean verry little if the front 7 cannot do their job also.
– TJ Ward is a boss. He looks like he could be a big contributor on D and Special Teams.
– Phil Dawson is probably one of the greatest kickers, and so underrated.
– I certainly let loose a big sigh of relief when it was announced that Shaun Rogers was only getting fined. If he is healthy he will instantly make our pass rush and run defense better. He is a space, and people, eater in the middle of the D-Line.
– Speaking of Rogers. What if the team moved him to defensive end? Leave Ahtyba Rubin at Nose Tackle and slide Rogers over. Rubin can clog up holes almost as well in the middle, and let Rogers get one on one with a Guard or Tackle and wreak havok in the back field. It would also give the Browns 2 big guys on the line to draw the attention of O-Lineman and free up blitzing lanes for linebackers. It would kind of be like playing a 4-3 without actually having 4 linemen, and could make the Browns 3-4 blitz schemes much more effective.