2009 Cleveland Browns Season Preview
2009 Cleveland Browns preview from MadduxSports.com. With the football season around the corner grab the internets best football picks handicapper Maddux Sports and turn a profit while betting against the nfl point spread each and every week.
2009 Cleveland Browns Predictions
By Adam Barone
The Browns seemed to be on the uptick for about as long as it takes to say “Derek Anderson,” and have now gone right back to being the Browns. Former Bill Belichick disciple Romeo Crennel is no longer the head coach. Instead, Cleveland is going with another former Belichick disciple, Eric Mangini. The roster has been overhauled, but is probably less exciting than it was under Crennel. They finished 2008 at 4-12 though, so it’s going to be tough to go anywhere but up.
There’ll be an interesting competition at quarterback between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson in training camp. Anderson throws the deep ball better than Quinn, while Quinn is much more accurate on short and intermediate routes. Anderson had a breakout season two years ago with 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns while the team spent a high first round pick on Quinn and feel pressure to show that that was the right move.
Jamal Lewis will be the featured back for at least another season. He barely topped 1,000 yards last season after going over 1,300 in ’07, but showed he could still carry the load. He’ll turn 30 before the season starts, so, in football-land, he might as well just quit. Former backup Jason Wright left as a free agent, so the other carries will go to either Jerome Harrison or rookie James Davis out of Clemson.
Stud tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was traded to Tampa Bay, which changes the face of the passing game significantly. Winslow had 82 and 89 receptions for 1,981 yards the past two seasons. He’s replaced by Robert Royal, who caught just 33 passes for Buffalo last season. Receiver Donte Stallworth faces suspension and possible jail time stemming from an offseason DUI manslaughter charge, and can’t be counted on. Joe Jurevicius is also gone. Free agents David Patten and Mike Furrey were signed, and two second round picks were used on Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi. Leading receiver Braylon Edwards will be looking for a bounce-back season after leading the league in drops, and return specialist Joshua Cribbs may also get a chance as a receiver.
Rookie Alex Mack will join free agents John St. Clair, a tackle, and Floyd Womack, a guard, on the new offensive line. They’ll team up with Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach, along with backups Hank Fraley, Rex Hadnot, and Ryan Tucker to make one of the deeper O-line rotations in the league.
The Browns were 28th against the run in 2008, so they traded for former Jet Kenyon Coleman. Coleman will join Corey Williams and monstrous nose tackle Shaun Rogers on the defensive front and, the Browns hope, help to shore up the run defense. Rogers is the type of player needed to make a 3-4 defense successful—he takes up a ton of space and multiple blockers.
Star linebacker Andra Davis left through free agency, but former Jet linebacker Eric Barton followed Mangini to Cleveland. Barton made 119 tackles last season with New York. He’ll likely be joined inside by D’Quell Jackson, who led the team in tackles the past two seasons. Both outside spots are cause for concern, but Kamerion Wimbley may benefit on the right side from the addition of Coleman. The left outside spot will be decided in camp.
The starting cornerbacks, Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald, are young, but still have potential. They combined for eight interceptions last season. Safety Sean Jones was let go and will be replaced by another former Jet, Abram Elam, who will play alongside Brodney Pool. Improvement will be needed, as the Browns ranked 14th overall against the pass in 2008.
Cribbs could be the best returner in the league, while Phil Dawson is one of the best kickers. Special teams may be the Browns’ greatest strength.
There’s less talent on the roster and the Browns are still in a tough division. Things may be different in Cleveland this season, but it’s doubtful that they’ll be better.