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Joe Thomas anchors the left side. The Browns need one on the right.
The most obvious flaw with the Cleveland Browns offense, however isn’t Pat Shurmur’s terrible playbook. Nor is it the running back situation, the play of the wide-receivers, nor the debate surrounding Colt McCoy’s future.
The Browns need to fix the offensive line, and do it right away. It doesn’t matter whose throwing or catching the ball if the quarterback doesn’t have time to throw. Forget about Colt’s arm strength, just watch the games. Watch how many times McCoy or Wallace have been flushed out of the pocket.
Watch any of the team highlights on the season. The majority have been plays where our QBs make plays with their legs. McCoy's TD to Josh Cribbs against the Dolphins, Wallace’s big TD to Greg Little against the Cardinals. Seneca to Evan Moore this week in Baltimore.
Watch the New England Patriots. Want to know why Tom Brady is a great QB? He’s not incredibly elusive, nor does he have the strongest arm in the league. He has a great offensive line.
Brady can stand back in the pocket for five seconds and scan all his targets before making a decision. So often, Colt and Seneca have so little time to throw, they can’t help but telegraph their passes.
Since returning to the league in 1999, the Browns have had one 10-win season. Contrary to opinion at the time, the success of 2007 wasn’t due to Derek Anderson’s great QB play, Jamal Lewis’ resurgence, nor the development of Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow. It was due to the offensive line.
Watch Browns highlights from 2007, and you’ll see a QB who looks comfortable in the pocket with time to throw. Even in pressure situations against formidable opponents like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, Derek Anderson had time to throw.
It won’t be a popular move, but if the Browns are serious about competing, they need to draft an offensive lineman with their first-round pick in 2012, preferably a RT.
Based on the availability of quality players in the draft and the team’s ability to sign impact free agents, the Browns biggest offensive draft needs are a right tackle, wide receiver and potentially a fullback.
Quarterback and running back are not the problem. The guys up front and calling the shots aren’t laying the foundation for winning football in Cleveland. These needs must be addressed to get things turned around offensively.