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Browns Take Sunday Off, Here Are Some Thoughts

December 13, 2009

With the Browns spending Sunday at home relaxing and relishing their huge upset of the Steelers, I figured this is as good a time as any for me to throw out some Browns thoughts.

  • Josh Cribbs continues to show that the Browns need to take care of this guy and give him a new contract. In addition to doing a phenomenal job on returns and running the football in the Browns 13-6 upset, Cribbs said all the right things about how important this game is both prior to the game and immediately afterward. Did you catch his interview on the field right after the game? Could this guy show more love for the fans? Is he also on the payroll in the P.R. department? Give the guy a raise already.
  • The Browns may not be able to get Ndamukong Suh, as I advocated they do last week. Suh could go number one and almost certainly won't fall past Tampa Bay. The Bucs are now ahead of the Browns in draft order by virtue of winning against Pittsburgh. That's fine though. There is a lot of talent in this draft. Plenty of good players are at the top who can come in and contribute right away (Eric Berry, C.J. Spiller, Rolando McClain, Joe Haden). The Browns can trade down as well and still get good quality outside of the top-10 and add a pick similar to last season. I think Suh is the best player available in this draft, but defensive line is not one of the Browns biggest needs. The thing is the Browns have lots of needs so if Suh or perhaps Berry are not available, the Browns may be better served by identifying a later first round pick who could turn into a real player (Taylor Mays, Navorro Bowman, Brandon Spikes, Jahvid Best, Jermaine Gresham, and Jonathan Dwyer are just some of my potential-late-first-round favorites) and adding an extra second round pick. A little advice for Cleveland though. If you add a second round pick by trading down, try to grab a guy who you may actually allow to dress in his rookie year. This may seem like common sense, but I point to David Veikune.
  • Brady Quinn may not be the answer for the next 10 years, but I think he has shown enough that the Browns should feel comfortable going into 2010 with Brady as the starter. He has shown flashes and won a big game against a rival. Brady also takes care of the football. He is playing with a weak supporting cast. He is still young and inexperienced and could grow. While all of that is true, the biggest thing to me is how difficult it is to project quarterbacks properly and the ridiculous sum of money a high quarterback draft choice commands. You are very likely to take a bust at quarterback in the first round and stil pay the guy a ton of money to suck (See: Russell, JaMarcus; Leinart, Matt; Smith, Alex; Boller, Kyle; Grossman, Rex; you get the idea). The investment doesn't make sense right now with so many holes on this roster.
  • Chris Jennings has played reasonably well thus far and the coaches seem to really like him. This is good for the Browns to find a UFA who can at least give some contribution, but it is not so good for James Davis. Through the preseason and really up until his season ending should injury, Davis looked like he could have been a major steal in the 6th round. Now his future in Cleveland is up in the air. I'd like to see him make the roster next year and get some sort of chance. If the Browns do draft a running back with a high pick, which is a real possibility, Davis may be squeezed out. Especially if the Browns retain Jerome Harrison. Jerome has had an up-and-down year but he has made some very good contributions.
  • Thursday's game was the second straight good performance against the run, holding the opposition to less than 100 yards on the ground. Pittsburgh is a solid running team and the weather dictated pounding the football on the ground. The Browns were successful in large part because of good days from reserves Corey Williams and Ahtyba Rubin. Both were pressed into the starting lineup due to injury. The defensive line has talent and depth. That's why even though the Browns should take Suh if they get an opportunity because he is the best player available, no tears need be shed if the Browns can't get him because this is a solid and deep group on the defensive line.
  • Hopefully, this victory can propel the Browns to a solid finish. Strong finishes can only help the offseason momentum. All of the above can carry into next year. Sure, maybe a December finish means nothing to a team come next September, but it certainly can't hurt.
  • The other hope is that no games are blacked out. If fans are going downtown that's good for the economy and, ask any fan who suffered through the miserable weather on Thursday, it's really satisfying to be in the stands when the Browns win.
Jack Bacevice

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