OBR's 2011 Season Predictions, Pt. 3

Part Three: Which overblown offseason/preseason story will eventually prove meaningless?

Lane: The lack of offseason acquisitions in free agency is likely to be the one issue that will fade away. This Browns team has promising youth within the roster and a viable leader in Colt McCoy. As the screams for adding a wide receiver have been heard loud and clear, rookie Greg Little has the athletic ability and attitude to achieve at such a level.

By the end of the season, expect to see McCoy spread the ball around sufficiently and the West Coast offense will bring an element of excitement to Cleveland.

Fred: The front office's lack of acquiring a veteran or perceived No. 1 wide receiver will be vindicated. In the West Coast offense, Colt McCoy will throw the ball around to several wide receivers and tight ends, with as many as four different receivers catching more than 50 passes. Greg Little will improve and by the end of the season be looked upon as the Browns' future No. 1 receiver.

DK: Although local media will cringe at the thought, every single article regarding Colt McCoy's arm strength will eventually be deemed meaningless.  In Pat Shurmur's new offense, McCoy's alleged weakness will likely never manifest itself – at least as far as five-yard out routes are concerned.  As for those howling Lake Erie winds in December, this newest version of offense will probably not feature many mythical 50-yard go routes.

And in case anyone forgot, the Browns are still a power running offense, led by Peyton Hillis.  In most respects, the 2011 offense will still resemble parts of the one that left in 2010.

But then again, page views are precious – so don't look for this "story" to actually go away.

Don: Without Eric Steinbach for the season and Tony Pashos hobbled, the concerns for the Browns offensive line grew exponentially as the season opener neared. Rookie Jason Pinkston starting at left guard? Inexperienced Shawn Lauvao starting at right guard? Who is Artis Hicks? Hey, John Greco is from Youngstown!

The Browns offensive line still has Joe Thomas at left tackle and Alex Mack at center. Both players are now Pro Bowlers and for good reason. Those two will anchor the offensive line, buoyed by the veteran play of guys like Hicks and Greco.

Right now, concerns of McCoy learning the intricacies of the turf at Cleveland Browns Stadium is high. Yet as the season progresses, McCoy and the offense will make positive strides and the No. 12 jersey will be relatively grass-stain free. As a result, this preseason story about the volatility of the Browns offensive line will prove meaningless.

Editor's note: Read the previous two installments of The OBR's 2011 season predictions:

Part One: Best Case Scenario for the 2011 Browns

Part Two: But Really... Worst Case Scenario for the 2011 Browns

Coming up:

Part Four: December Mood: What Will Be the Level of Optimism After the Horrible Season-Ending Stretch in December

Part Five: How Will the Season Unfold? Browns Record Will Be...


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