The NFL betting odds aren’t going to entice many players to get action on the Cleveland Browns Super Bowl odds this year, but for them that’s not what the season will be about. It seems like the situation is the same every year, but the Browns again are heading into a season with a new head coach and a new quarterback in search of an identity.
The Browns have had an interesting offseason on the waiver wire. They traded away Kellen Winslow Jr., arguably their most consistent offensive weapon, and didn’t exactly replace him. But most of the team’s focus has been on defense as some of Eric Mangini’s former New York Jets, such as Hank Poteat, David Bowens, Abram Elam and Eric Barton were carried over, while Rod Hood and Corey Ivy were added.
A lot of sports betting handicappers were surprised that the Browns didn’t make wholesale changes to their offense given how unreliable it was last year, but those fans had to look below the headlines to see the Browns changes. Small tweaks, like the addition of slot receiver Mike Furry and draft picks Brian Robiskie and Mohammed Massaquoi should add somewhat of a supporting cast, even if it’s not a group of A list celebrities.
The biggest difference will have to be at the quarterback position as the Browns are quietly hoping that Brady Quinn can be their guy. He has the accuracy and has the knowledge in the film room, but can he carry a roster with mediocre parts? Derek Anderson proved that he cannot do that last year so he’ll take on more of a backup role. More than wins and losses, the Browns will hope to see some growth out of Quinn. Heading into the season with 30-year-old running back Jamal Lewis as the starter, who has 2399 carries on his tires, is not a recipe for success.
The Browns defense should be the strength of this weak team, as Mangini has proven capable to coach up defenses. More so, he’s been able to accomplish that feat with anonymous parts. A lot of football wagering fans might not know a whole lot about the Browns parts such as D’Qwell Jackson, Kamerion Wimbley or Brodney Pool but with the right coach, those guys can all be above average players – particularly Wimbley, who has Pro Bowl potential as an outside linebacker.
Mangini has brought in a lot of capable veterans not only for depth, but to push the young players to perform better. This group will be serviceable and if some young players develop, could be above average.
I’m betting management in Cleveland is used to being patient. They’ll have to be again this year as they search for answers. Is Mangini a reliable leader as a head coach? Is Quinn a starting quarterback in the NFL? Can Braylon Edwards hold on to the
football? Is the Browns defense on the way up? This season will be a feeling out process, which will likely put them near the top of the draft board in 2010, but this season won’t be about wins. It will be about development.
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