Cleveland Browns: 8 Changes the Browns Need to Make Going into Next Season
This season is pretty much in the books for the Browns, at least playoff-wise, and it's time to look towards the offseason and into the 2012 season.
The Browns need to make changes in order to blend among the ranks of the rest of the AFC North; those changes will be explored within the next few slides.
Stop the White-out
For some reason, Pat Shurmur and the Browns have decided that the Browns are to wear all white throughout the season.
The white jerseys and white pants seem defeating and are not all that aesthetically pleasing, especially paired with the orange.
Bring back the brown uni's; we are the Browns not the Whites.
They just give an aura of fall and football.
Bring in a GOOD Offensive Coordinator
Browns fans are already calling for Pat Shurmur to be fired.
Whoa, whoa, whoa folks, it's WAY too early for that.
You have to remember that Shurmur is a rookie Head Coach and is assuming the duties of the Offensive Coordinator as well.
Quite honestly, it's way too much. Shurmur may turn out to be a decent Head Coach, but there is no way he can be effective pulling both jobs.
The Browns have already stated that they will hire an offensive coordinator who will relieve Shurmur of his duties.
Rob Chudzinski, Brian Daboll, Pat Shurmur; these are the coordinators the Browns have used in the past few seasons and quite honestly, none of them have done anything remarkable.
Chudzinski seemed to work well with Anderson...for a season. Daboll simply didn't have the tools, although McCoy seemed to work well in his system. Shurmur seemingly is unable to call a productive play in which the Browns gain yards.
Luckily, I'm not Mike Holmgren and I don't have to decide who the Browns offensive coordinator will be, but I'd like to believe it will be someone who is an offensive parallel to Browns DC Dick Jauron.
Jauron has done a marvelous job with the Browns defense. At one point in the season, the Browns were in the top five in defense, and continue to be in the top five in pass defense.
Jauron has had head coaching experience and clearly knows how to run a defense.
Likewise, Jon Gruden has had head coaching experience and clearly knows how to run an offense. He would never take the job in Cleveland, but one can only dream.
Someone like Gruden would definitely suffice for the Browns.
Surround Greg Little with Solid Receivers
I'm convinced that Greg Little is going to be a playmaker for the Browns—that big play guy that we need.
However, outside of Little, the Browns have "little" (yes, I went there) in the way of playmakers or slot receivers.
Mohamed Massaquoi should be riding the bench. Brian Robiskie was rightfully cut. Carlton Mitchell hasn't played nearly enough. Jordan Norwood...do I really need to say anything?
Cribbs is the only playmaker on the team, and he needs to be implemented in the offense more.
Little and Cribbs leave the Browns with two decent wide receivers.
Last time I checked, it's pretty easy to cover pass plays when there are only two legitimate receivers on your offense.
The Browns need to either go out and draft a receiver, or sign solid slot guys that can help this team.
I would say go get an Alshon Jeffery or a Justin Blackmon, but we'll see if the Browns will be in position to get one of those guys come April.
In an ideal situation, which does not exist—especially in Cleveland—the Browns can get a guy like Anthony Gonzalez, and another smaller name guy like Mike Sims-Walker.
Little, Cribbs, Gonzalez and Sims-Walker looks a heck of a lot better than Little, Cribbs, Massaquoi, and Mitchell.
They need receivers, and they need them now.
Draft Trent Richardson
Trade up, trade down, I don't really care; draft Trent Richardson.
The guy is an absolute monster, running through the SEC like nobody's business. His former partner in crime, Mark Ingram, has produced decently before injury in New Orleans and Richardson is a much more NFL-ready back.
The Browns have to have him on the top of their draft board.
I believe he would look awfully nice in Brown and Orange.
Chris Ogbonnaya has played admirably and definitely deserves a spot on an NFL team for the next season, but the Browns cannot deal with having a guy like Ogbonnaya at the running back position.
Hillis won't be back next season and Montario Hardesty has done everything to prove he is nothing more than an injury-prone, potential-filled back.
The Browns West-Coast Offense cannot compete if they have absolutely zero running game.
Richardson provides a spark that the Browns need in the backfield, and can scare teams enough to where they actually prepare to face the Browns run offense, and take some time out of the pass defense preparation.
Richardson could be Colt McCoy's new best friend.
Fill the Holes in the Offensive Line
Joe Thomas and Alex Mack are incredibly strong.
Tony Pashos is decent but too old.
Shawn Lauvao is young and Jason Pinkston is younger.
The Browns need to move Pinkston to his native tackle position now that he has experience, and get rid of Pashos at RT. Forget about Artis Hicks and O'Neill Cousins; they are both garbage.
Eric Steinbach will hopefully be back next season and can take the reigns on his left guard position.
The right guard position is a question mark. Lauvao could move from left guard to right guard now that he's experienced.
John Greco can leapfrog Lauvao and take hold of the right guard spot.
Either way, the Browns need to handle this. Sure they can draft someone, but they have bigger needs to draft than to waste a first- or second-round pick on a lineman.
I see the line looking like this: Joe Thomas LT, Eric Steinbach LG, Alex Mack C, John Greco RG, and Jason Pinkston RT.
Whatever the Browns do, they cannot keep the status quo. Colt McCoy is getting thrown around like a rag doll back there, and the offensive line isn't doing much to help the run game.
Implement Evan Moore
Evan Moore is a player.
Sure, Ben Watson is a great tight end, which has limited Evan Moore's production, but Moore has been M.I.A from the Browns offense throughout the entire season.
He has incredible size, great hands and is a smart kid that can handle the pressures of the playbook with ease.
Moore needs to play; that's the bottom line. He's too good to sit on the sideline.
He could be a massive weapon in this West Coast Offensive system, and whoever the Browns decide to make the offensive coordinator needs to realize that right away.
Fire Mark Whipple
All of the great quarterback coaches out there and the Browns pick Mark Whipple?
Come on now.
Colt McCoy needs to develop. He has played decently this season for what has been given to him, but he seems to be taking no large steps forward.
Whipple was a BAD coordinator at the University of Miami, and with all the options in the world, the Browns pick him up to be the quarterback coach. Sure, he was a decent coach with the Steelers, but I don't think you can credit the Steelers' success to Mark Whipple.
Bernie Kosar has wanted a job with the Browns for a while; it might be time to give him a shot working on McCoy.
Kosar might be a stretch, but if Shurmur can do work as the offensive coordinator and head coach, maybe he can be the head coach and QB coach.
McCoy needs to develop. He's the guy, he just doesn't have all the tools yet.
Whipple isn't going to move him along. The Browns need to find someone who will.
Keep the D Stout
The defense is keeping the Browns in games this season.
Jauron needs to continue to do his thing and the players, schemes and preparation need to stay the same.
Joe Haden is a top five NFL corner, D'Qwell Jackson is a stud at MLB, Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard and Emmanuel Stephens are getting it done on the line, while Boss Ward is the hard-hitting safety we thought he would be.
Unbelievably, the Browns defense is set.
Of course changes will come, but try to keep it as close to the same as possible.
If the Browns had an offense, you could be looking at a 6-3 football team right in the thick of things, rather than a 3-6 football team looking into next season.