The Browns were one of the worst offenses in the NFL in 2011. They averaged just 13.6 points per game. Quarterback Colt McCoy never seemed comfortable, the running game was anemic, most of the time and the receivers had troubles getting open and catching balls. All these factors combined to create a pathetic offense.
That said, the Browns should be much better in 2012. They drafted a running back in Trent Richardson, who brings stability to the position and a 100-yard per game rushing potential. They also took on a quarterback in Brandon Weeden, who has the physical tools to help the Browns out at the position.
The Browns should improve when they have the ball. Here are five reasons why:
Weeden, a 28-year-old rookie, is likely to take over as quarterback. He's bigger and has a stronger arm than last year's starter, Colt McCoy, which should help the Browns stretch the field. Weeden can also squeeze the ball into windows on short passes along the sidelines, which should help get the West Coast offense moving.
Peyton Hillis was a beast in 2010. But in 2011, he turned into an oft-injured headcase and an insufferable distraction for the team. This year, Cleveland turns to rookie Trent Richardson. Richardson is a little bowling ball with power and speed, and he should make a huge impact from the start. When defenses have to game-plan to stop, they run that will also help the passing game.
Who would you rather have, Trent Richardson or Peyton Hillis?
The Browns' head coach will be in his second year, and he should have learned from his mistakes of a year ago. He'll still call the plays for the offense, but he'll get input from new offensive coordinator Brad Childress, which should liven up the play-calling.
The Browns already have the start of a solid offensive line with All Pro left tackle Joe Thomas, center Alex Mack and Jason Pinkston. Now add to the mix right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, taken in the second round, and Cleveland looks like it has a unit that can become a formidable bunch. Offensive lines tend to look better when they have running backs like Trent Richardson behind them.
This bunch was terrible a year ago. But second-year man Greg Little showed flashes of brilliance in 2011, and tight end Evan Moore will probably get more chances this year, which should help. There is also rumbling that 2011 draft pick Jordan Cameron might be ready to contribute this year. Also, Weeden will be able to get the ball to the members of the unit should they be able to get open downfield. That was not the case with Colt McCoy in 2011.