The goals and aspirations of new Browns head coach Pat Shurmur have become more evident than the sky being blue. In preparation for next year, Shurmur, along with General Manager Tom Heckert and executive Mike Holmgren have plenty of chores to do in the coming months. Here are a few of them, of which one can expect the Browns to do.
1. Draft Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, if he is available
In an offensive era, menacing targets are vital for quarterback's success. There are about 10 averages Joe's per Peyton Manning in the league, and in the Browns case, they need a lot of help on the outsides. They lack athleticism at that position, and Green could take things to the next level. Despite the need for a pass rusher, it would be a big mistake for the Browns not to upgrade on offense since Pat Shurmur is now running the team with his offensive orientation.
2. Deal Shaun Rogers if someone will take the bait
Not many teams in the league in today's world would be interested in a lineman that made up to 7.4 million dollars when he only recorded 17 tackles. He did play in 15 games, but barely; making several guest appearances at the line of scrimmage when the game was on the line. He may have lost significant value from his 2008 Pro Bowl season, but really does not fit into the Brown's future plans. Ahtyba Rubin has the nose tackle spot locked up for the foreseeable future. If the Browns are offered anything as low as a third round pick, that should get GM Tom Heckert to bite.
3. Lower the average age of the linebacker unit
Injured leader Scott Fujita is a keeper no matter what his age. However, with polished players such as Chris Gocong, 27, Eric Barton, 33, and David Bowens, 33, their name's speaks louder than their on field actions at this point in their careers. But they may be recycled for one more season. Speed and explosiveness are tools that have been fictional for the Browns at this spot. If those attributes are brought via the draft of free agency, it will help the pass rush and make their secondary better.
4. Their division will remain competitive, but expect the Browns to challenge the AFC North big dogs
Baring any injuries or catastrophic occurrences, the North division of the AFC will still be tough to win. Not even the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger could keep Pittsburgh from making their third Super Bowl in the past seven years. Not even Ed Reed's injury could slow down the Baltimore defense. Cleveland can afford to do no less. Injuries or not, all 53 members of their 2011 squad will need to be winners if the team itself is going to win.
5. Expect Peyton Hillis to stay effective, if not, more effective
Half back Peyton Hillis could actually flourish in the west coast system. For one, he will stay fresh; a luxury he did not have in 2010. His style of running takes a beating, but now some of that stress will be transmitted to the arm of quarterback Colt McCoy. He will still get most of the goal line opportunities since a W.C.O. is not the best scheme to run when space is limited.