Cleveland Browns To Be an Aerial Team Next Season?

Samuel IngroAnalyst IJanuary 21, 2010

CLEVELAND - JANUARY 03:  Derek Anderson #3 of the Cleveland Browns throws over Daryl Smith #52 of the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

It started last year with the locker room mural of Browns' greats being taken down, and it concludes this season. The history of the Browns being a running team is over.

With the arrival of Mike Holmgren, speculation has arisen about a West Coast Offense coming to town, yet the man himself has declined to confirm it.

However, with the introduction of new General Manager Tom Heckert, the new direction in Cleveland has been all but set in stone. Heckert, who has spent the last nine years in Philadelphia, has made his living drafting for the West Coast Offense.

With the way it sounds, he isn't about to let a team history and new color scheme change all of that.

"I don't know if you know a lot about Philadelphia, but we threw the ball a lot. The last game we were watching other games on TV, and the Browns threw the ball like 11 times and we ran it like eight. So it was a little difference in philosophy. Like Mike Holmgren said, it's a throwing league and that's how you score points," said the new General Manager.

Heckert's philosophy is a big change from last year's final four Browns' games, which may come as a relief to many people. In Cleveland's final four games, they ran the ball a staggering 181 times, compared to just 65 passing attempts.

"Running the football, playing good defense, and controlling the clock is great. But you do need to throw the football," Heckert stated.

Another thing to consider is the fact that Jerome Harrison is a free agent. When he posted 286 yards in a single game last season, he elevated his profile and will likely receive more looks from teams this offseason. It's very possible a team with a better offer could swoop in and make him a featured back elsewhere.

Which would leave Cleveland with James Davis, fresh off the injured reserve list, and former CFL running back Chris Jennings. An unproven duo to say the least.

This makes it even more likely that Cleveland will become a team with a dominantly aerial attack next season. The big question is, who would be leading the attack?

The sheer amazement over Quinn and Anderson's numbers last season expressed by Holmgren and Heckert, combined with their huge salaries, makes this reporter believe that both have likely seen their last start in Cleveland.

The offseason hosts a meager free agent class involving Chad Pennington, Tavaris Jackson, Jason Campbell, and Kyle Orton, with rumors of Michael Vick and Matt Hasselbeck also possibly being shipped out from their current teams.

All of these passers have experience with the style of offense Heckert is describing, but you have to ask if these men are trustworthy enough to lead Cleveland's struggling offense.

It could very well mean that Cleveland may pursue a quarterback in the draft a lot earlier than anyone wants to believe.

Will it be Sam Bradford in the first, Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy in the second, or Tony Pike in the third?

That's a decision for Cleveland's new front office to make.