After several dismal years, Cleveland Browns fans are getting tired of hopeful offseasons turning disastrous.
Success for the Browns can be measured in several different ways in 2010-2011. Here are the top five things fans will be looking for when Cleveland takes the field this year.
The Browns finished off last season with four consecutive wins with the running game a huge part of that success.
James Davis went down with an injury early in the season, but Jerome Harrison took over the role as the featured back.
Harrison rushed for a total of 570 yards over the last three games of the year, including a 286 yard performance against Kansas City.
Add Monterio Hardesty to the mix, and Browns fans should expect the running game to be effective every week.
The only way your job is safe as an NFL coach is if you win games consistently. Unfortunately for Eric Mangini, winning was not something the Browns did very often until the final quarter of the season.
Talks of Mangini getting fired were rampant after last season ended, but new president Mike Holmgren was quick to endorse Mangini once he took over.
If the Browns become a team that can win consistently in 2010-2011, talks of Mangini being on the hot seat will cease, and Cleveland will have time to focus on other pressing matters.
Last year, the Browns defense was up and down. At times, Coach Ryan looked lost roaming the sidelines.
But the defense made great strides over the last few games of last season, and many people expect them to continue to improve. Offseason acquisitions like Joe Haden, Sheldon Brown, and Scott Fujita can only help when it comes to shutting down opposing offenses.
Lets face it, Jake Delhomme was not brought in to be the savior of the franchise. Delhomme was simply brought in to be a mentor to a young Colt McCoy and to manage the football game.
Even though Jake is coming off a terrible season, the Browns seem confident that he can be the same guy who took the Panthers to the Superbowl a few years ago.
The Browns expect Delhomme to be a leader in the locker room and make smart decisions on the field. If Jake can manage to do both of those things, he will have a successful tenure in a Browns uniform.
After a rough few years with the Indians, and LeBron tearing the city apart with his "Decision," Cleveland simply needs hope.
The Browns do not have to make the playoffs in 2010-2011 in order for this season to be considered a success. Cleveland has to put a good product on the field every week to give the city a team they can be proud of. If the Browns can remain competitive and in the playoff hunt into the second half of the season, it will give the organization and the city a much needed boost.
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