The Cleveland Browns Outlook for 2009

Gavin Andrews@@gavin_andrewsCorrespondent IIJune 9, 2009

CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 2:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball as he is hit by D'Qwell Jackson #52 of the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter of their NFL game at Cleveland Browns Stadium November 2, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Before we get started, I want you to know that this is not a delusional article explaining why the Browns will make the playoffs. 

Between the Steelers and the Ravens, they won't have a prayer at the division, and between the Ravens, Titans, and Texans (yes, I said Texans), they will have a hard time with the wild card.

On the other hand, it's definitely not one trashing them, listing every reason they will finish last in the division, taking away all hope from fellow Cleveland fans. 

I believe they have a strong core and not only hope for the future, but hope for respectability this very season.

Here's why.

Eric Mangini and his staff have brought discipline to the Browns that was never there before.  When players respect their coaches, they play better.

Brady Quinn will bring consistency to the quarterback position, playing behind an improved offensive line.  He is a smart quarterback with great accuracy and few turnovers.  He is in a great position to get comfortable behind center, with three capable running backs and a Pro Bowl-caliber full back in his backfield. He is more of a conservative quarterback, but he has the ability to throw the deep ball to Braylon Edwards when needed.

Jamal Lewis, James Davis, and Jerome Harrison will have an easier time running this year.  I believe Lewis still has a couple years left in the tank, and he will have more breathers this year. James Davis will benefit from having a mentor in Lewis, and Harrison will be better utilized.

Believe it or not, I like the receiving core. Braylon Edwards has a "no nonsense" coach to keep him accountable, Brian Robiskie is very polished and reliable, and Mike Furrey might be one of the best slot receivers out there. 

The defensive line will have three very capable starters in Corey Williams, Shaun Rogers, and Kenyon Coleman. C.J. Mosley, Ashtyba Rubin, Robaire Smith, and Shaun Smith will rotate out with the starters.  We haven't seen this kind of depth in the defensive line in a while. 

The linebacker core excites me. D'Qwell Jackson and Kamerion Wimbley are stars, Eric Barton brings a highly respected leadership to the field, Alex Hall is a very exciting pass rusher. We haven't even seen David Veikune yet, and David Bowens is an efficient run stopper. 

The secondary could use improvement, but Rod Hood, Eric Wright, and Brandon McDonald are good enough corners to keep quarterbacks from lighting up the scoreboard. 

Brodney Pool is a good, versatile safety that will be a starter in the Browns' system for years. Abram Elam is a wild card here, but from what I've heard, he could have a good year. 

With an easier schedule, and the luxury of getting to play Cincinnati twice every year, I think the Browns could be in for a seven-win season. 

To build for the future, they should probably draft Eric Berry, Taylor Mays, or Brandon Spikes next year, but it's too early to tell when Cleveland will be drafting.

There is a very low floor for Cleveland, but fortunately there is a very high ceiling.  There is no telling what they'll do this year, but there is hope for years to come.


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