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NFL PREVIEW: CLEVELAND BROWNS

June 20, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Cleveland Browns Preview by Kelci Baker, EIHSS Sports

Last year: 4-12, 4th in AFC North, missed playoffs

After going 4-12 in 2008 and 5-11 in 2009, Browns President Mike Holmgren had a lot of worries going into the 2010 season. Under head coach Eric Mangini, the team went 5-11 and 4-12 in Pat Shurmur's first year last season. Instead of finding something to immediately fix the problems, Holmgren is banking on free agency and building through the draft alongside general manager Tom Heckert. Out of 53 total players on the roster last year, 13 of them were Heckert draft choices and another, safety T.J. Ward, finished the season on injured reserve. What the Browns expect is about eight of this year's draft picks to make the final roster. With a 0-6 record against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North, making the playoffs this coming season would be an amazing achievement.

Brad Childress uses a West Coast style offense for the Browns. It's his first year as offensive coordinator after being offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. Coach Shurmur was under him as quarterbacks coach. Because both of them learned their game from Any Reid with the Eagles, there should be no changes in offensive philosophy. A sign that they won't be pass crazy this coming season is with the third overall pick in the draft, running back Trent Richardson. Having to replace Colt McCoy is soon to be 29-year-old rookie quarterback Brandon Wheeden. The Browns believe he'll be more accurate and has a stronger arm than McCoy and will make the receivers better. There's no way to know for certain until the season gets underway if that's true. Improving the right side offensive line was a priority for the team during offseason. How quickly 37th overall pick Mitchell Schwartz learns the system at right tackle will factor in to how successful the Browns are as a unit.

Under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, the Browns used their 4-3 style to finish second in pass defense, and allowed only 307 points, the fifth fewest in the NFL last year.  Leading the team with 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles was second-year end Jabaal Sheard. If he keeps up that same momentum, he should exceed those numbers in the coming year. Confidence lies greatly in cornerback Joe Haden. The Browns assign him the opponent's best receivers each week. Cleveland is solid up the middle  with Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor at tackle.  D'Qwell Jackson anchors the middle linebacker position.  After missing the last six games the season because of a foot injury, T.J. Ward is back as a healthy strong safety. This team has to prepare for a heavy quarterback schedule. They'll be facing Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. The defense will be tested when they get to these games. They were 30th against the run last year, and now they need more consistency from Taylor. The team has faced other problems such as linebacker Scott Fujita, 33, not only finished each of the last two years on injured reserve, he also was suspended three games after what is being called, the Bounty-gate investigation.

The Browns special teams were sloppy at best under coordinator Chris Tabor. Two field goals were blocked, and they gave up a TD on a fake field goal and a kick return. Steady in their spots are kicker Phil Dawson, punter Reggie Hodges and return specialist Joshua Cribbs. Replacing Ryan Pontbriand at midseason was long snapper Christian Yount who brought with him some stability.

Shurmur has an offensive coordinator he's familiar with which helped him settle in and will further help him as he starts his second year as head coach. He'll continue to call plays and aid in the game plan.

 

DRAFT RECAP

RB Trent Richardson of Alabama was the best out of the 11 picks the Browns received in the 2012 draft. They hope that he can lead Mike Holmgren's Browns to the Super Bowl the same way former Alabama back Shaun Alexander did for Holmgren's Seattle Seahawks.

 

RB Trent Richardson. Alabama

First round. 3rd pick overall.

 

QB Brandon Weeden. Oklahoma State

First round. 22nd pick overall.

There was a chance he'd still be available in the second round but Cincinnati didn't want to take the chance

 

T Mitchell Schwartz. California

Second round. 37th pick overall.

He's expected to start on the right side

 

NT John Hughes. Cincinnati

Third round. 87th pick overall.

This pick gives the Browns depth

 

WR Travis Benjamin. Miami (Fla.)

Fourth round. 100th pick overall.

Bejamin will be returning punts, kicks

 

LB James-Michael Johnson. Nevada

Fourth round. 120th pick overall.

He'll be used as backup for D'Qwell Jackson

 

OL Ryan Miller. Colorado

Fifth round. 160th pick overall.

He has the ability to play both RG or RT

 

LB Emmanuel Acho. Texas

Sixth round. 204th pick overall.

Had a team high 131 tackles

 

DL Billy Winn. Boise State

Sixth round. 205th pick overall.

More than likely, he'll play tackle

 

CB Trevin Wade. Arizona

Seventh round. 245th pick overall.

He can play the nickel

 

TE Brad Smelley. Alabama

Seventh round. 247th pick overall.

He caught 34 passes last season

 

Cleveland's 2012 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1, Sept. 9: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Week 2, Sept. 16: Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 3, Sept. 23: Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 4, Sept. 27: Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens, 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network 

Week 5, Oct. 7: Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Week 6, Oct. 14: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 7, Oct. 21: Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 8, Oct. 28: San Diego Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 9, Nov. 4: Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 10, Nov. 11: BYE

Week 11, Nov. 18: Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Week 12, Nov. 25: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 13, Dec. 2: Cleveland Browns vs. Oakland Raiders, 4:15 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 14, Dec. 9: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 15, Dec. 16: Washington Redskins vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET, CBS 

Week 16, Dec. 23: Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Week 17, Dec. 30: Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

 

Active

#

Name

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Age

Exp.

College

59

Acho, Emmanuel

LB

6-2

238

21

R

Texas

78

Alford, Dominic

OL

6-3

320

24

R

Minnesota

63

Anderson, Jake

OL

6-5

305

23

R

Akron

37

Bademosi, Johnson

DB

6-0

200

21

R

Stanford

58

Benard, Marcus

DL

6-2

256

26

3

Jackson State

80

Benjamin, Travis

WR

5-10

175

 

R

Miami (Fla.)

24

Brown, Sheldon

DB

5-10

200

33

10

South Carolina

84

Cameron, Jordan

TE

6-5

245

23

R

USC

61

Cleveland, Matt

OL

6-3

295

22

R

Idaho

88

Cooper, Josh

WR

5-10

190

23

R

Oklahoma State

75

Cousins, Oniel

OL

6-4

315

27

4

Texas-El Paso

16

Cribbs, Joshua

WR

6-1

215

29

7

Kent State

64

Daniels, Stanley

OL

6-4

320

27

2

Washington

38

Davis, Emanuel

DB

5-10

195

23

R

East Carolina

4

Dawson, Phil

K

5-11

200

37

13

Texas

 

Dickson, JoJo

LB

6-1

245

22

1

Idaho

31

Dockery, James

DB

6-1

185

23

R

Oregon State

94

English, Auston

DL

6-3

250

25

1

Oklahoma

40

Fort, L.J.

LB

6-0

230

22

R

Northern Iowa

99

Fujita, Scott

LB

6-5

250

33

10

California

53

Gerhart, Garth

OL

6-1

305

23

R

Arizona State

39

Gipson, Tashaun

DB

5-11

205

21

R

Wyoming

51

Gocong, Chris

LB

6-2

263

28

6

Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

77

Greco, John

OL

6-4

315

27

4

Toledo

49

Green, William

DL

6-3

250

22

R

Florida

87

Gronkowski, Dan

TE

6-5

255

27

3

Maryland

23

Haden, Joe

DB

5-11

190

23

2

Florida

27

Hagg, Eric

DB

6-1

205

22

R

Nebraska

20

Hardesty, Montario

RB

6-0

225

25

2

Tennessee

2

Hodges, Reggie

P

6-0

220

30

5

Ball State

93

Hughes, John

DT

6-3

306

24

R

Cincinnati

29

Jackson, Brandon

RB

5-10

216

26

5

Nebraska

52

Jackson, D'Qwell

LB

6-0

240

28

6

Maryland

54

Jacobs, Benjamin

LB

6-4

243

24

R

Fresno State

50

Johnson, James-Michael

LB

6-1

241

22

R

Nevada

5

Lanning, Spencer

P

5-11

200

24

1

South Carolina

66

Lauvao, Shawn

OL

6-3

315

24

2

Arizona State

9

Lewis, Thaddeus

QB

6-2

200

24

1

Duke

15

Little, Greg

WR

6-2

220

23

R

North Carolina

55

Mack, Alex

OL

6-4

311

26

3

California

56

Maiava, Kaluka

LB

6-0

229

25

3

USC

48

Marecic, Owen

FB

6-0

245

23

R

Stanford

11

Massaquoi, Mohamed

WR

6-2

207

25

3

Georgia

12

McCoy, Colt

QB

6-1

215

25

2

Texas

60

Miller, Ryan

OL

6-8

295

22

R

Colorado

18

Mitchell, Carlton

WR

6-3

215

24

2

South Florida

89

Moore, Evan

TE

6-6

250

27

3

Stanford

10

Norwood, Jordan

WR

5-11

180

25

1

Penn State

25

Ogbonnaya, Chris

RB

6-0

225

26

2

Texas

95

Parker, Juqua

DE

6-2

250

34

11

Oklahoma State

21

Patterson, Dimitri

DB

5-10

200

29

5

Tuskegee

69

Paxson, Scott

DL

6-4

290

29

2

Penn State

62

Pinkston, Jason

OL

6-4

305

24

R

Pittsburgh

34

Reed, Antwuan

DB

5-10

190

22

R

Pittsburgh

83

Reed, Bert

WR

5-10

180

24

R

Florida State

47

Robertson, Craig

LB

6-1

229

24

R

North Texas

71

Rubin, Ahtyba

DL

6-2

330

25

4

Iowa State

92

Rucker, Frostee

DE

6-3

280

28

6

USC

85

Saffold, Jermaine

WR

6-0

200

23

R

Missouri State

70

Sanford, Brian

DL

6-2

280

24

2

Temple

91

Schaefering, Brian

DL

6-4

295

28

2

Lindenwood

72

Schwartz, Mitchell

OL

6-5

317

23

R

California

74

Shaw, Jarrod

OL

6-3

316

24

R

Tennessee

97

Sheard, Jabaal

DL

6-2

255

23

R

Pittsburgh

68

Shugarts, Jeff

OL

6-6

305

22

R

Ohio State

36

Sims, David

DB

5-9

204

25

R

Iowa State

22

Skrine, Buster

DB

5-9

185

23

R

Tennessee-Chattanooga

47

Smelley, Brad

FB

6-2

233

 

R

Alabama

81

Smith, Alex

TE

6-4

258

30

7

Stanford

90

Spears, Quinton

LB

6-4

234

24

R

Prarie View A&M

17

Spencer, Owen

WR

6-3

185

24

R

North Carolina State

96

Stephens, Emmanuel

DL

6-3

255

25

1

Mississippi

98

Taylor, Phillip

DL

6-3

335

24

R

Baylor

40

Thomas, Adonis

RB

5-9

185

23

R

Toledo

73

Thomas, Joe

OL

6-6

312

27

5

Wisconsin

67

Tripp, Kiante

DT

6-6

276

24

R

Georgia

41

Ventrone, Ray

DB

5-10

200

29

6

Villanova

26

Wade, Trevin

CB

5-11

192

22

R

Arizona

6

Wallace, Seneca

QB

5-11

205

31

9

Iowa State

43

Ward, T. J.

DB

5-10

200

25

2

Oregon

82

Watson, Benjamin

TE

6-3

255

31

8

Georgia

44

Williams, Eddie

FB

6-1

242

24

2

Idaho

13

Windsor, Rod

WR

6-2

205

27

1

Western New Mexico

79

Winn, Billy

DL

6-3

296

23

R

Boise State

7

Wolfert, Jeff

K

6-2

185

26

1

Missouri

28

Young, Usama

DB

6-0

200

27

5

Kent State

57

Yount, Christian

LS

6-3

256

23

R

UCLA

 

Unsigned Draft Pick

#

Name

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Age

Exp.

College

33

Richardson, Trent

RB

5-10

224

21

R

Alabama

3

Weeden, Brandon

QB

6-3

221

28

R

Oklahoma State

 

 


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