Cleveland Browns Predictions: 3 Ways the Offense Will Be Improved in 2011

Brian BelkoContributor IIIAugust 30, 2011

Cleveland Browns Predictions: 3 Ways the Offense Will Be Improved in 2011

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    The Cleveland Browns should have a much-improved offense during the 2011 NFL season. Here are three predictions about where that offensive improvement will show up the most.

    Last season, the Browns had numerous injuries at the quarterback position which led to them having three different starters throughout the season. The Browns also lacked experience and playmakers at the wide receiver position.

    The team did get a good season from starting running back Peyton Hillis, but he was slowed by general bumps and bruises later in the year as he was the only reliable running back on the team.

    Many of these issues have been addressed by the Browns' front office, and that should lead to improved production on the offensive side of the ball.

No. 3: Josh Cribbs Will Finally Emerge as a True Wide Receiver

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    For the past several seasons, the Cleveland Browns have had one of the most dynamic kick returners in the entire NFL in Josh Cribbs. Cribbs' ability to give the Browns great field position was invaluable to the team.

    However, the coaches of the Browns think Cribbs has enough talent to make a difference as a wide receiver. Previous Cleveland coaches have attempted to utilize Cribbs in a Wildcat-type offensive set with varying amounts of success. It was effective at times, but was also easy for other teams to see coming.

    The 2011 season may finally be the year that Cribbs breaks out as a playmaker at the wide receiver position. He has all of the physical tools to excel at the position, and he finally has a quarterback who can be relied upon to make accurate throws.

    With the new kickoff return rules in the NFL in place, it is very important for both the Browns, and for Cribbs to finally prove himself at the wide receiver position.

No. 2: Peyton Hillis Will Improve on His 2010 Season

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    When the Cleveland Browns traded former first-round draft pick Brady Quinn to Denver in 2010, Peyton Hillis seemed like an extra player thrown into the deal. Not many people in Cleveland knew very much about the former Arkansas running back.

    That all changed after Hillis charged, bashed and hurdled his way to 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, Hillis suffered a major drop in production later in the season. That was mostly due to the fact that the Browns were forced to overuse Hillis because of a lack of a quality backup running back.

    With Montario Hardesty fully recovered from knee surgery and former Green Bay Packers running back Brandon Jackson now on the roster, Hillis should make it through the 2011 season without all the wear and tear he endured last year. That should only help Hillis improve upon his numbers from last season.

    Despite the fact that Hillis will likely see less carries in 2011, he should once again be the dominant running back that Cleveland fans fell in love with in 2010.

No. 1: Colt McCoy Will Cement Himself as Cleveland's QB for Years to Come

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    The Cleveland Browns are notorious for having a new starting quarterback seemingly every season. In fact, the Browns have had 16 different starting quarterbacks since their return to the NFL in 1999.

    However, the Browns may have finally found their guy in the young Colt McCoy. McCoy was selected in the third round in the 2010 NFL Draft, and was thrust into a starting role when Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace went down with injuries last season. He showed a lot of grit and poise in the games he started in 2010, and was given the starting role for 2011 because of the talent he showcased.

    McCoy is exactly the type of leader that the young Cleveland Browns need at the quarterback position. During the NFL lockout, McCoy organized camps for his offensive players so they could start to familiarize themselves with the new West Coast offense they would be employing in 2011.

    With the improvement of his wide receivers from a year ago, Colt McCoy is poised to have a breakout season in 2011. In the upcoming season, McCoy will do whatever it takes to win and put up the stats necessary to become the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback for years to come.