Fast Lane: The offensive make-over

An NFL executive has surprising things to say about the Browns off-season changes

Coming off a 7–9 season, the Browns believed their pass offense was in need of an influx of talent and coaching. A common theme within the Browns organization was that the passing game needed to improve.

The starting QB is long-gone, and the potential heir-apparent has been recently released from a facility specializing in substance related rehabilitation. Throw in changes at the offensive coordinator, QB coach and at starting quarterback itself, the Browns have certainly covered the bases in adding ‘new’ to the equation heading toward the 2015 football season.

For most teams, such radical change lends to the theory that a start-over is underway and time will be needed to put the numerous pieces of the proverbial puzzle together. In Cleveland, the belief and hope is that this will be addition by subtraction.

A member of an AFC organization and long-time friend of theOBR adds his valuable expertise and opinion on the state of the Browns offense and QB position.

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“There comes a point that an organization must identify and secure their QB and provide that player the opportunity to achieve through all the ups and downs,” the executive said.

In adding veteran QB Josh McCown, the expectation is the veteran presence will solidify the QB room, adding valuable experience and a calming influence to what has been a most unstable environment under center in Cleveland.

By no means do the Browns envision McCown as their savior. McCown is viewed by the organization as a player that has been around the game, knows how to prepare and displayed the ability to play at a high level when the pieces part around him are in place.

“If you’re Cleveland, does it make sense to trade multiple first round picks and more to move up for (Marcus) Mariota (ORE), or do you give (Johnny) Manziel a chance to prove his worth?” the executive said. “It’s big decision, McCown is your place-holder, buying you time to get to the ultimate decision. Personally, I don’t deal for Mariota unless I can get away splitting up the two firsts, one this year, plus a third and a one next year.

I also wouldn’t be too quick to discount Manziel, he is a talented young man. Some of the things he does will drive you crazy, but he displayed a uniqueness about him in the way he handles himself on the field. And, he is accurate, which is the one aspect that cannot be taught.”

The Browns believe they are closer than the 7–9 record of a season ago might indicate. Adding veteran WRs Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline in free agency should stabilize the receiving corps after losing WR Josh Gordon to a substance-related suspension and Miles Austin in free agency to Philadelphia.

“Adding the two receivers (Bowe, Hartline) and a tight-end (Rob Housler) that fits ideally in what they will look to do, you could say the Browns have improved from a season ago,” the executive said. “My opinion is the Browns will look to obtain a WR in the draft with over the top ability and possibly an offensive lineman to ensure they don’t struggle again as they did a season ago when Alex Mack went down.”

In Cleveland and outside the Browns organization, the belief is the Browns must gain a ‘special’ WR and an offensive lineman to protect their interests.

Then… realize the Browns also want/need a pass rusher and a nose tackle.

(Next: We discuss the Browns defensive needs)

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