Cleveland Browns: 2011 New Years Resolutions
As the 2010 calender year comes to a close, the Cleveland Browns, as like many teams, need some work in the offseason both via free agency and in the draft.
The one thing that is great about a new year is that it brings a fresh start and new opportunities for many, along with several new years resolutions too.
Here are several Browns resolutions that this Browns writer would like to see happen in the new year.
Mike Holmgren Stays In the Front Office and Away From The Sidelines
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Will he coach is the biggest question around Cleveland right now and the rumors are flying around saying he could step back onto the sidelines in 2011.
I say no thanks to this because he needs to focus on his duties as the team president and if he became the head coach then either the front office will suffer in some capacity or his coaching will.
Can't have it both ways and I would rather see him run the team from his executive office please.
The Browns Get Colt McCoy a Star Wide Receiver
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Whether the Browns can get a star receiver in free agency, in the draft or via a trade, I don't care.
Just get McCoy someone on the outside who is fast and physical and can both get open out of defender coverage and block to help a strong running attack too.
A.J. Green is the obvious candidate in the first round if he is available, but I do like Alabama's Julio Jones who is in the mold of Anquan Boldin as a big and physical player who can use his size and strength to overpower defenders down the field.
As far as free agents are concerned, I also like Arizona's Early Doucet who is another Boldin clone, but I'm not sure if he is ready to be a No. 1 receiver just yet.
Regardless, get this team some receivers please.
Get The Running Game a True Third Down Running Back
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Not to use a New England Patriots player as an example, but running back Danny Woodhead is really the best example in the NFL right now.
Not the biggest back in the league, and he could very well be the smallest, but having a solid third down back who can run and catch the ball is ideal in order to keep Peyton Hillis and (hopefully) Montario Hardesty healthy in 2011.
The Browns need to find their version of Woodhead either in the later rounds of the draft or free agency and if I could swing a deal, I would try to get Garrett Wolfe from the Chicago Bears or draft West Virginia's Noel Devine in the later rounds.
More Depth Needed at Cornerback
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First off, Joe Haden is a stud and very fun to watch on defense.
Second, Sheldon Brown is solid as a veteran presence on the team but he may be regressing as a starter as he gets older and he might be better as a third corner in defensive formations in 2011.
That means either the Browns re-sign Eric Wright and start him opposite of Haden (this is where Browns fans all say YIKES!) or get another quality starter for next season.
I say if and only if A.J. Green is gone in the first and if Julio Jones is not predicted to go in the top 15 picks, then the Browns try and get one of the two top corners in the upcoming draft class.
You might think there is no way the Browns would spend two first round picks in two straight years on a corner, but do not forget that this is a pass happy league and general manager Tom Heckert loves having lockdown corners on his defense.
Look at the Philadelphia Eagles when Heckert was there and he acquired both Ellis Hobbs and Asante Samuel to lock down the edges.
With Haden in place, do not doubt that the Browns could pick either LSU's Patrick Peterson or Nebraska's Prince Amukamara.
I say if not a receiver in the first, then go cornerback and let's lock down opposing receivers in 2011 and beyond.
Change The Defense To a 4-3 Scheme Already
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Nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin has been fantastic in the middle of the Browns' 3-4 scheme this year, but the Browns do not have the type of linebackers to successfully run a strong 3-4 scheme.
I'm jumping off the 3-4 wagon and leading the charge in bringing back the 4-3.
Both Holmgren and Heckert like the 4-3 better and that means that change could happen sooner than you expect.
If the Browns go back then look for both Rubin and Shaun Rogers, who by the way cannot go anywhere since the contract is way too big so why not use him in a scheme he prefers, in the middle and that could mean young defensive end Jayme Mitchell could become a starter too.
Mitchell came from the Minnesota Vikings and their 4-3 scheme.
Obviously none of this will happen unless defensive coordinator Rob Ryan moves on to a head coaching role in 2011 and I'm thinking that will be the case too.
Lawrence Vickers Finally Gets Recognized As a Pro Bowler
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Vickers may not have much in stats, but his blocks and the stats of the running backs he has blocked for speak for themselves.
In his four years as a starter, Vickers has blocked for running backs who has accumulated a total of 5,865 yards and 32 rushing touchdowns.
That's an average of 1,466 yards per year and eight rushing touchdowns per year.
Re-Sign These Free Agents
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The following Browns players are free agents in 2011 and I think these guys need to be re-signed because they are all part of the team's foundation moving forward.
Safety Abe Elam - he is becoming a playmaker on defense.
FB Lawrence Vickers - one of the best lead blockers in the NFL.
RG Floyd "Porkchop" Womack - his versatility to play either guard or tackle make him valuable for depth on the offensive line.
LB Chris Gocong - really came on as a starter in his first year with the Browns and he will only get better.
DE Jayme Mitchell - the Browns send the Vikings a draft pick for Mitchell and they better keep him a bit longer.
CB Eric Wright - his spotty play was highly questionable, but his struggles will lower his price and he is good to have for depth purposes in the secondary since he has a ton of experience too.
How About You?
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Browns fans, what would you like to add to these resolutions for the new year or what are your complaints about mine?
Sound off in the comments below and have a safe and happy new year!
And check out my Cleveland Browns 2010 awards by clicking here to read it.