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Browns Look Ahead: 2010

November 10, 2009

ESPN.com NFL Insider Adam Schefter is reporting the Browns will start Brady Quinn against the Ravens on Monday night. It appears the Browns are looking forward to 2010, which is wise, and if Quinn were benched back in September purely for salary cap reasons then you could argue the Browns started looking towards 2010 quite some time ago. Trading Braylon Edwards certainly supports that notion. Considering how craptastic the club has been this season it also looks like the right idea. Earlier this year I wrote my first articles for brownsmix.com, season preview articles. It turns out I was waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy overly optimistic. I remain undeterred. In fact, I am going to give you an way to early preview on 2010 by looking at where the Browns are, what they need to do the rest of the year, and what they need to do in the offseason. I'm going to write this from the point of view of what I think the Browns should do as of today. Not what I think they will do. Obviously, if Brett Ratliff starts the last 6 games and completes 83% of his passes for 1500 yards with 17 TDs and 1 INT I would change my tune. Anyway, here we go...

*Available free agent data from fftoolbox.com
*Available players rated by me on a 1-10 scale on how happy I would be to see them on the Browns based on the role I hypothesize for the player, 1 I am angry and think it is stupid, 5 I am neutral, 10 I am overjoyed. Rating in parenthesis following the player's name.
*Draft picks include juniors who could potentially declare for the draft

Quarterback

Where are they now? Pretty much nowhere. DA isn't viable for next year. He very well may end up out of the league. He's been that bad. At least he is rich.

What about the last 8 games? Try to figure out what you have with Brady Quinn. If you find something that works try to roll with it and see how you can parlay that into more success for BQ. If something isn't working, move on and try something different. Don't worry about winning too much. You're screwed anyway. Season is over. Make Brady throw deep. Put games on his shoulders. See what he's made of. This organization has screwed around with a well compensated (although not as well as he could have been) former first round pick QB for two-and-a-half seasons and no one really has any idea what kind of NFL QB he can be. Really it's a crapshoot. The Browns have 8 games to try and figure it out. That means do as much as you can with him. At the very least find out if he can be a viable backup next year.

And 2010? This really depends on Brady. If he appears to be doing really well in the last 8 games, you could say BQ is my QB in 2010 and bring in a veteran backup who won't challenge for the job. You could also draft a QB later in the draft as insurance if BQ's results are positive but ultimately inconclusive. If BQ looks like the journeyman type, you could draft a QB high and sit him behind BQ for a year or start that guy if he beats out Quinn in camp. If Quinn looks like career backup you could sign a vet to start. If Quinn is awful you could sign a vet and draft a guy somewhere. This is really open ended.

Possible Veteran QBs to sign to Start in 2010: Kyle Boller (3), Jason Campbell (4.5), David Carr (2), Kellen Clemens (3.5), Brodie Croyle (2.5), Daunte Culpepper (5), Tarvaris Jackson (5), Jon Kitna (2), Kyle Orton (6.5), Chad Pennington (7- If healthy; 1- If not healthy); Troy Smith (5, only because he won the Heisman at OSU, let's be honest)

Possible Veteran Backups if Quinn proves to be starter worthy: Charlie Batch (5), Kyle Boller (6), David Carr (6), Kellen Clemens (7), Brodie Croyle (5), Daunte Culpepper (5), Jon Kitna (4), Josh McCown (3), Chris Redman (3), Troy Smith (6), keeping DA (-62)

Possible High QB Draft Picks: Jake Locker (7.5), Jimmy Clausen (4), Sam Bradford (8), Colt McCoy (8), Tim Tebow (6- even though I hate him), Jevan Snead (6.5- In 1st round, 8- 2nd or later), Tony Pike (6.5)

Possible later QB Picks: Tim Hiller (6), Dan LeFevour (6), Zac Robinson (5), Daryll Clark (3), Ryan Perrilloux (1.5), Matt Grothe (7), Todd Reesing (2)

Running Back/Fullback

Where are they now? Well Lawrence Vickers is the fullback now and will be next year I'm sure, even though he can be a free agent. So that's that. Jamal Lewis is kinda like someone in the earlier stages of dementia. He has his good days and bad days. He says he is retiring after this year. Regardless of when he retires, he's going to end up in Canton. Jerome Harrison has shown flashes for some time now, and he had that one 100-yard performance which was nice. James Davis looked like a 6th round steal in preseason, but he never got it going in the regular season before getting knocked out for the year. Chris Jennings is a UFA the coaches seem to be high on, for whatever that is worth.

What about the last 8 games? Give Jamal the ball enough for a proper send off. If he is running well feel free to keep feeding it to him. Let Jerome Harrison work in the change of pace back role. He could be valuable there in the future as a 7 carries/3 catches per game type of guy. May as well let him get used to it. Give Chris Jennings enough playing time to try to get a read on him.

And 2010? Assuming Jamal retires, or is released, the position is Davis, and Jennings with Harrison a free agent heading into next year. Probably going to want to resign Harrison and bring in a veteran running back who can challenge for the starting job. Maybe a later round rookie as well. If James Davis didn't get knocked out for the year, he could have been positioning himself with the inside track to start for next year. Alas, Blake Costanzo happened. Draft a back in the later rounds and add an experienced guy in free agency. Bring in five backs and let them fight for three roster spots.

Possible Free Agent Pick-Ups (Bold names mean I think we have no chance in getting the player): Mike Bell (8), Chris Brown (6), Ronnie Brown (9), Samkon Gado (5), Le'Ron McClain (4), Ryan Moats (7), Jerious Norwood (6), Willie Parker (3), Adrian Peterson- Chicago (3), Kolby Smith (5.5), Darren Sproles (7), Pierre Thomas (9), Leon Washington (5- with Harrison, 8- if Harrison leaves as a FA), LenDale White (7), DeShawn Wynn (5.5)

Possible Draft Picks, non-first round: Evan Royster (6), Joe McKnight (5.5), Montario Hardesty (5.5), Toby Gerhart (7), Ben Tate (7), Chris Brown (5), Keiland Williams (7), Charles Scott (7), LeGarrette Blount (6.5)

Wide Receivers

Where are they now? Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, and Chansi Stuckey make up a top three that has upside. Mike Furrey is a solid veteran. Josh Cribbs may not be much of a traditional wide receiver, but he is amazing with the ball in his hands. Syndric Steptoe is out for the year. Donte Stallworth is suspended.

What about the last 8 games? Try to develop Massaquoi, Robiskie, and Stuckey as much as possible. See if any of them can get a rhythm with Quinn. Start Massaquoi and Robiskie every game. Use Stuckey in the slot. Furrey is good, but he isn't a long term answer. Use him as a fourth wideout though. He can help Quinn succeed with his excellent hands and knack for getting the first down. Get Cribbs the ball whenever possible.

And 2010? Massaquoi, Robiskie, Cribbs, and Stuckey will all be back. There is room for another wideout. It's always good to have good wideouts. (For another seemingly obvious observation the Browns might not be aware of, it's always good for your playoff hopes to win football games.) This team could go with Massaquoi and Robiskie/Stuckey as 1 and 2 next year, or sign or draft a player to start and play Robiskie and Stuckey as 3 and 4 WRs. Furrey is probably gone.

Possible Free Agent Starting WRs: Steve Breaston (6), Chris Chambers (5.5), Mark Clayton (5), Braylon Edwards (kidding, he's never coming back), Vincent Jackson (8), Brandon Marshall (6.5- if insane, 9.5- if sane... so 6.5), Josh Reed (5.5)

Notable Possible WRs in the Draft: Dez Bryant (8.5), Arrelious Benn (9), Brandon LaFell (7), Eric Decker (7.5), Mike Williams (6), Damian Williams (7), Mardy Gilyard (4- 1st or 2nd round, 5- 3rd round, 8- 4th round or later), Jacoby Ford (4), Jordan Shipley (8)

Tight End

Where are they now? Right now the Browns have two really good, older number two tight ends in Steve Heiden and Robert Royal. They are better than number two tight ends actually, but not quite number ones. Let's call them 1.5 tight ends. Greg Estandia and Michael Gaines also take up space on the roster.

What about the last 8 games? Use Heiden and Royal to help develop other players. Heiden can make Quinn's life easier. He's a sure handed short to intermediate range receiver. Royal is a good blocker who can help the running game a lot and help with edge rushers. I proposed giving the bulk of the WR playing time to two rookies and Chansi Stuckey, so the veteran TEs will be necessary to give Quinn an environment where he can succeed. That is key in trying to figure out what kind of player the Browns have in BQ.

And 2010? Another TE is needed. It has to either be a solid veteran, or a rookie who will be ready to start by 2011- at the latest. You need another guy because, even though I think Heiden and Royal will still be valuable next year, these guys are no longer 20-somethings who can easily play every down and they don't have the talent to make up for their advanced years. Someone needs to be added to the mix.

Possible free agent quality tight ends: Anthony Becht (6), Alge Crumpler (4.5), Anthony Fasano (6.5), Randy McMichael (4.5), Tony Scheffler (7), Alex Smith (4), Matt Spaeth (7)

Possible TE draft picks outside of the first round: Garrett Graham (8), Ed Dickson (7.5), Dennis Pitta (5), Mick Hoomanawanui (5), Nate Byham (6)

Offensive Line

Where are they now? About 3/5ths of the way there. Joe Thomas is the best left tackle in football, and 24 years old. Eric Steinbach is an excellent guard with many good years ahead of him. Alex Mack seems to be settling in as the starting center for the next 10 years. This unit really is two solid-to-good players from being one of the league best offensive lines. The problem is the right side isn't very good right now.

What about the last 8 games? Keep Joe, Eric, and Alex healthy. Continue to get growth from Mack. Wish Thomas well in his annual January trip to Honolulu.

And 2010? Bring in a right guard and right tackle. The best way to do this might be to plug in a solid free agent at right guard and draft a right tackle in a higher (not first) round. If the Braylon trade turns into a 2nd rounder from the Jets the Browns should consider using one of the two second round picks on a right tackle. Cleveland is in an interesting position. They have two very young offensive linemen, one who is excellent (Thomas) and one who is solid with potential to get a lot better (Mack), along with a very good offensive lineman who probably still has at least 4 or 5 years left at a high level (Steinbach). Grab the right guy at right tackle and this unit could be very good for a very long time. Screw it up, and we're going to be stuck where we are now with a weak right side.

Potential offensive linemen in the draft: Anthony Davis- T (8.5), Sam Young- T (6), Jon Asamoah- G (7), Mike Johnson- G (8), Mike Iupati- G (6), Ciron Black- T (9), Vladimir Ducasse- G (6.5), Zane Beadles- G (5)

Check back later this week for my look ahead at the defense. Also, don't forget to read Keet Bailey's excellent looks at the 2010 draft.

Jack Bacevice

1 comment:

  1. If the Browns pick up a vet WR, then they should really look at Texans WR Kevin Walter.

    He is a solid No. 2 WR and would be able to come in a contribute on all downs just like Joe Jurevicius did in 2006 and 2007.

    ReplyDelete