For Jerome Harrison, the Weight of the Browns Rests on His Shoulders

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2010

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 27:  Jerome Harrison #35 of the Cleveland Browns runs by Tyvon Branch #33 of the Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

"Okay, so now what?" 

Four simple words that the Browns head coaching staff faced after their inevitable release of veteran running back Jamal Lewis on Saturday, which has now left fourth year starter Jerome Harrison on deck and ready to face the first pitch of the 2010 season.

I know it doesn't seem too daunting just yet, but when you think about the Browns' history of running back play, you can't exactly say that the odds favor Harrison in any way, shape, or form. 

With that said, it doesn't take away from the talent that Harrison possesses.  The former Washington State running back rushed for 862 yards last season and five touchdowns, dismal stats I know, but decent ones to begin a possible career.

But can Harrison get the job done in Cleveland?  God knows Browns fans are picky when it comes to their running back play, and a poor performance would surely land him in the exact position that Brady Quinn finds himself in today. 

Still though, I can't help but recognize the talent that Harrison has, and the potential he brings to the game of football.

Whether or not you managed to catch a Browns game last season, you may have missed out on a few special and rare plays of excellence that the Browns managed to produce through their notoriously pathetic ways on offense. 

Cleveland vs. Kansas City is the first blockbuster game that comes to mind, as it featured Harrison proving my theory true, and rushing for three touchdowns and 286 yards.

The more impressive stat however, doesn't come from the field.  It comes from the paper.  Looking at the Browns' offense that is now beginning to be set up for the future in a very convenient and precise way, the Browns may possibly have the best running back duo in the NFL, if not now than in five to ten years time.

Harrison and Chris Jennings.  Two lackluster names that don't really pack a mighty punch when you think of them.  However, if you think back to the last few weeks of the 2009 regular season, your memory may jog, and the Browns offensive running game may spark.

But before we get to ahead of ourselves here, it is painfully obvious that we need to take a step back in the opposite direction.  A team can have all the running back power they like, but none of it matters if the quarterback and wide receiver play is atrocious.  Unfortunately for the Browns, I can tick two out of two boxes for their struggling offensive unit.

Derek Anderson is the sure to-be starter, we all know that.  But wide receivers?  They are almost absent on the Browns' roster.  I wouldn't blame you if you didn't recognize the names Mohamed Massaquoi and Mike Furrey.  Yep, they are the Browns' wide receivers.

Fortunately though for the Browns, they do have Mike Holmgren.  A man that can bring a sense of power, and leadership to the Browns and ultimately make some key decisions in the future and present.  At the moment, the Jamal Lewis releasing seems to be one of them.

As for Jerome Harrison, the weight of the Browns is now on his shoulders.  What I would like to know is if that is a positive or a negative.  Either way, Jerome needs to live up to expectation, overcome criticism and just play good ball.  If he does that, he may become the next Jamal Lewis, and lead the Browns to another playoff spot in the not to distant future.