Pro Football Teams


Cleveland Browns:

Fans hope Browns Dog days are over

The Cleveland Browns have one of the atypical franchise stories in the National Football League. It isn’t everyday that a team named for their original coach but Hall of Famer Paul Brown was one that accomplished that. He was one of the innovators the way the game was played. In his 17 seasons as head coach he only experienced one losing season. That’s not incredibly atypical to have a coach name a franchise after himself but the city of Cleveland also had problems with the owner of the team Art Modell. At one point Modell was revered as one of the men to turn the NFL into the sports juggernaut by sitting on the board to start Monday Night Football. He was also chairing negotiations in the first collective bargaining agreement and one of the pioneers in revenue sharing. Despite all this the city of Cleveland has very little love for him for one reason… he took their beloved Browns away from them for three whole years. On November 6, 1995 Modell held a press conference to tell the world that after the ’95 season he would be moving the Browns to Baltimore. In the 1999 season the Browns returned back into the NFL as a expansion team that already had history. The team kept all of its history and it was better than what it was before. The whole city of Cleveland was very much excited that the team was back and it bought Browns tickets in record numbers, despite the fact that the teams was a dismal 2-14..

Last season wasn’t quite what everyone in Cleveland hoped for out of their Browns. The team who had two great quarterbacks fighting for the starting spot at the beginning of the season and ended it without a legitimate number one starter. Both Kelly Holcomb and 1 st pick of the Browns franchise, Tim Couch, couldn’t find a comfort level as the starting quarterback. They lost 8 of their last 10 games and also cut wide receiver Kevin Johnson and lost running back William Green to a suspension for violating the leagues substance abuse policy.

In the off-season the Browns had a great deal of needs that required a look at. They went out and brought in former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia to lead the way for the Browns and was named the undisputed number one quarterback shortly after he signed. The Browns made some significant upgrades to their defense by bringing in defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban and linebacker Warrick Holdman. The team also released notables like Tim Couch, Jamal White and Shaun O’Hara.

In the draft the Browns felt they had to get Miami stand out tight end Kellen Winslow II and traded up to the 6 th pick to get him. Winslow was one of the guys that had some Heisman hype around him before the season started. The Miami passing game wasn’t quite what everyone thought it would be and it hurt his Heisman chances. Winslow is one of those guys that creates a mismatch wherever he is on the field. He’s too fast for a linebacker or safety to cover and too big for a cornerback to match up with. He is a great blocker and even a better receiver. He is the total package when it comes to tight ends. With their second round pick the Browns selected Georgia safety Sean Jones to help out a defense that wasn’t that great in the 2003 season.

The Browns are hoping that the face of the team will change with the change of their signal caller. Garcia should improve a very average Browns quarterback position of a year ago. The team finished 23rd in total offense in the NFL last year. With a number one passing option like Winslow and a full season from running back William Green the team shouldn’t have as many problems moving the ball like they did last year. The offensive line is still a little suspect but should be ok.

On the defensive side of the ball the Browns need to stop the run a lot better then they did last year. The team did finish 14 th overall in total defense but only managed to finish 23 rd in rushing defense. The team gave up 500 of Jamal Lewis’ 2,066 rushing yards in two games including a single game league record 295 yards in their first meeting of the year. With the off-season moves the Browns made the defense should be stronger against the run then they were last year because it would be hard to get worse then they were in 2003.

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