NFL Preseason 2010: Cleveland Browns Top Storylines
The Cleveland Browns finished last season 5-11, but road a four game winning streak to close the year.
They went through a series of off-season changes, by hiring Mike Holmgren as the President of Football Operations.
He then signed a variety of new players which include: cornerback Sheldon Brown, Inside linebackers Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong, and picked up Joe Haden with the seventh round pick in the draft.
The Browns also improved their offense. They changed the most important position in football by letting go Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson and signing Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace.
It will be a new look Cleveland Browns team, but one that should be more exciting to watch.
5. Wildcat Verizon 2.0
Josh Cribbs is the most explosive return man in the NFL, just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers. He can also run the wildcat and mix up opposing defenses.
With the addition of dual-threat quarterback Seneca Wallace, the Browns could use a little bit of the wildcat scheme.
The Miami Dolphins resurrected the wildcat formation with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, and the Browns can do the same thing with Cribbs.
He is an elusive runner that can break one at any given time. The Browns do not have many weapons on offense for their quarterback to work with. This formation at least keeps defenses guessing and gives them something else to worry about.
4. A Hard (esty) Fall
The Browns used one of their second round picks in the 2010 NFL draft to sign Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty.
Hardesty accumulated over 2,300 yards and 26 touchdowns as a Volunteer.
But he injured his right knee and has been injured three times already this off-season.
Jerome Harrison is the lead back for the Browns and finished the ended last season strong with over 500 yards in the last four games.
But the AFC North is a grueling, physical conference and Harrison is a small back. Hardesty is over 225 pounds and can put a wear and tear on opposing defenses.
Hardesty says he will be ready before the beginning of the regular season. It is Harrison's job to lose, but it will be an interesting battle to see who gets the nod.
3. Linebackers: Who will Start?
The Linebacker position for the Browns is uphill battle and there is no real definite starting job wrapped up.
The Browns had a busy off-season by acquiring Scott Fujita from the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints and then picked up Chris Gocong from the Eagles in a trade.
Gocong will get to do something he rarely got do do in the 4-3 scheme when he played for Philadelphia, rush the passer.
The Browns also have linebacker Matt Roth for a full season. He was picked up in the middle of the season from Miami and had four sacks in six games.
It looks as though Fujita will start at right inside linebacker, Gocong at left inside linebacker and Roth at left outside linebacker. The right side is a little harder to figure out. But, David Bowens should get the spot.
2. Much Improved Secondary
The Browns addressed a defensive secondary that ranked 29th in NFL in passing yards per game last season.
They acquired Sheldon Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles, who spent eight years in the NFC east. He is a strong, veteran cornerback that will greatly improve a struggling defense.
The Browns also picked up some essential needs through the draft. They picked up cornerback Joe Haden from Florida with the seventh pick and then grabbed Oregon safety T.J. Ward who is getting reps with the first-team defense.
The secondary should be able to compete against some of the strong receivers in the AFC North which include: Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens from Cincinnatti, Hines Ward from the Pittsburgh, and Anquan Boldwin from Baltimore.
1. Jake Delhomme: Ready For a Fresh Start
Jake Delhomme left the Carolina Panthers for a fresh start. Mike Holmgren believes in the veteran quarterback and the Browns should improve a passing game that ranked dead last in the NFL with 131 yards per game.
Delhomme has completed 18 for 23 pass attempts for 193 yards and he has a quarterback rating of 116.
Though older, Delhomme can still run an offensive scheme. If he can keep his turnovers down and just manage the game the Browns offense will improve.
He cannot do much worse. Their running game ranked eighth overall. they just need somewhat of a passing game to mix it up a bit.
The Browns will improve, but the AFC North is tough. Wins will come and Delhomme will show his worth, but they will still be last in the North.