The Cleveland Browns have impressed so far this preseason. Led by second-year quarterback Colt McCoy, the team is loaded with young talent, and a new coaching staff has injected a vibrancy into the squad not seen by Browns' fans in quite a while.
With two games already behind us, let's take a look at some of the most promising and exciting things about the Browns' upcoming season.
The Browns have as good of a combination of tight ends as any other team in the NFL with Evan Moore and Benjamin Watson. The two combined for 96 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, and Moore had three receptions for 40 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2.
Adding to the firepower that Watson and Moore provide is rookie Jordan Cameron out of USC and NFL veteran Alex Smith.
You can bet all all four will be getting targets from Colt McCoy during the regular season.
Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jackson haven't had enough carries to make a serious impact on the preseason games thus far, but the Browns have incredible depth at the position. While he has yet to make an apperance in the first two preseason games, Montario Hardesty will make his debut in Week 3 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Possibly adding to the depth is undrafted rookie free agent Armond Smith, who impressed everyone with his speed after his Week 2 scamper of 82 yards for a touchdown. Unfortunately, Smith also fumbled twice in Week 2, a bad habit that puts any running back in the the coaches' dog house. But Smith's quickness will give him the chance to make the squad and contribute this season.
Colt McCoy has turned into one of the young studs at the quarterback position. With his outstanding play so far this preseason (19-of-28 for 231 yards and four touchdowns in two games and only a few quarters of play), McCoy has shown the type of progression coaches hope for with their quarterbacks.
McCoy will be surrounded by weapons at the skilled positions. With two legitimate starting tight ends, a star running back, Peyton Hillis and two dynamic receivers in Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi, the Browns offense should be potent throughout the regular season.
Although the wide receiver spot was thought to be a point of weakness for the Browns, the wide outs have stepped up and made plays. Josh Cribbs, Greg Little, Brian Robiskie and Jordan Noorwood are just a few of the guys who have made timely catches this preseason.
When Mohamed Massaquoi returns from injury to his starting role, he will bolster a relatively unknown receiving corps (other then Cribbs, and to some, Little), and while no wide out has put up incredible numbers so far, they have done just enough to keep the safeties honest.
Pat Shurmur has come into Cleveland and breathed life into the franchise. He has turned the offense from a slow, methodical ground-based attack into an offense that is well-rounded and has the ability to make plays down field. The Browns are no longer pigeon-holed into running a hyper-conservative game plan, and Shurmur has opened things up for the whole team as well.
Shurmur brought in former Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears' head coach (and Detroit Lions' interim head coach) Dick Jauron to run the defense. Jauron hasn't had much time to change the team from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, but, little by little, things are coming together. Fans can expect the Browns' defense to have a much better grasp of the system after a few games.
All and all, the new coaching staff has been very impressive to start off the preseason.