These are exciting times to be a Browns fan. Not since the Kosar era has there been such a buzz about our beloved Browns team. Expectations are high as visions of Super Bowl rings dance in our heads. With that I have prepared a list players who I think will bust out this year as well as those who will just plain bust this year. Thankfully there's more of the former than the latter. The players on this list are ones who I think will greatly surpass (or disappoint) what they did in previous years. I also listed the rookies who I think will have a big impact this season. Ok, let's go...
Break Out Players:
- William Green – With some question marks still surrounding the offensive line, it's hard to project any kind of numbers that Green will put up this year. However, he will vastly improve the struggling running game to at least respectable status (again based on the state of the line). I'm visualizing at least 1000 yards, 10 TDs, and a handful of crucial first down receptions. I am hoping, though, for more than that out of the first round pick.
- Tim Couch – With Green's relative success and a revamped line, Couch should be able to pull up a lawn chair at the line of scrimmage for every play. Ok, I'm exaggerating. He's in the second year with the same offensive scheme and is already setting the tone in the practices. He has better receiving (see below) than last year and the improved running game should help tremendously. Again, however, Couch's success ultimately depends on his line but I think he'll put up more yards and TDs while decreasing the important interception ratio than the previous season. Barring injuries, I think Couch could very well be playing in
come next February. Hawaii Morgan, Andre Davis – Do Butch and Pete know how to draft or what? Morgan is bigger, stronger, faster (insert Six Million Dollar Man theme music here) thanks to his offseason work. I think he will have a great start to the season because opposing teams will be primarily concerned with Kevin Johnson. Once defenses adjust, I think Morgan will still make plays and become the other half of a fearsome receiving duo potentially racking up 1000 yards each. Quincy will have a great year in the slot this season and will fair very well on punt returns. He has the speed to stretch zones and totally burn man coverages. Though he won't rack up a whole lot of yards as the third wide out, the plays he makes will make people say, "Wow, who is that guy?" I'm looking for him to be the Browns' version of Az-Zahir Hakim. Davis
- Aaron Shea – Not sure if this qualifies as a "Break Out" prediction because I think this guy is awesome. He was just starting to show his ability when he got hurt for the remainder of last season. This H-Back/Tight End has sure hands and is tough enough to knock over outside linebackers.
Dudley– It really hurts me to put him on this list. But I think he will be afraid of getting hurt again the first part of the season. That could affect his footwork in blocking and running routs.
- Tre Johnson – Mean, nasty, injury plagued? Johnson's been hurt most of the past two seasons. I mentioned question marks on the offensive line and Johnson is a major contributor to that. He seems ok now, but what will happen when pads are put on? I'm not expecting much out of him.
Break Out Players:
- Courtney Brown – His play this year could make everyone believe that he is one of the best defensive ends. This guy will not only put up double digit sacks but will also totally shut down the run (he's been doing that already). I think the Bears' game last year showed us the havoc that he can bring to opposing offenses.
- Gerard Warren – "Whoa, mamma." That's what I say every time I think about what this guy can do on the field. He has the size and speed to make an offensive line look like a wet paper bag. I wouldn't be surprised to see him to get a surprising number of sacks and tackles for loss this season. Also, I really like his aggressive attitude which befits the defense's style. He stepped up big time during the last six games last season as a rookie and I expect nothing short of that kind of performance all season long and perhaps make it to the Pro Bowl.
- Lewis Sanders – Here's my dark horse of the bunch. I think that, by season's end, Sanders is starting at corner. Sanders is tall and fast enough to be an excellent cover cornerback. I can't put a finger on the number of picks he'll snag, but Sanders will shut down opposing receivers. By season's end Sanders and Anthony Henry will start to be compared to the Minnifield/Dixon duo of the 80s.
- Corey Fuller – For a while this offseason I was wondering if he would even be on the roster come September. However, he survived the expansion draft and restructured his contract to remain with the team. I see Fuller as a starter at the onset of the season. However, I think that he'll start losing time to Lewis Sanders on the way to losing his starting job altogether. With Daylon McCutcheon manning the nickel back spot, Fuller will be a man without a position. The coaching staff might experiment with him at safety opposite Robert Griffith, but I don't see that lasting long.
- Jamir Miller – His contract squabbles do not put him in favor with Butch Davis. Furthermore, during quarterback school,
pointedly made it clear that the Browns are prepared to start this season without the Pro-Bowl linebacker if need be. If Miller is smart, he will go into camp and not force the contract issue. However, if he follows his agent's idiotic suggestions and holds out for an extended amount of time, Miller will not come up to playing speed in time for the start of the season. This will not only cause his production to slide but also put him out of favor with the coaching staff and fans. Davis