Heading Into Camp: Browns Offensive Outlook

Charlie Frye steps up as a leader, but will Kellen Winslow help the Browns reach the end zone more consistently than in 2005? The Browns were anemic in the red zone, and that has to change for the team to improve in 2006...

The Browns' offensive outlook entering training camp:

The Browns had a 1,000-yard rusher in Reuben Droughns and a 1,000-yard receiver in Antonio Bryant in 2005, yet they were last in the league in points scored with 232 and scored only four rushing touchdowns, the fewest in franchise history.

Strengthening the offensive line, adding leadership to the receivers and defining the quarterback situation became the top priorities on offense as soon as the season ended. The team that opens the season in 2006 is guaranteed at least four new starters.

The Browns were aggressive at the start of free agency. They signed center LeCharles Bentley, tackle Kevin Shaffer and wide receiver Joe Jurevicius on the first day. All three are starters.

Trent Dilfer started the first 11 games at quarterback last season. He was injured playing the Vikings and did not play again, either as a starter or in relief. He needed knee surgery and put it off until after the Super Bowl.

The original plan was to have Frye and Dilfer compete for the starting job in training camp, but as the offseason wore on, management more and more became committed to Frye. Dilfer didn't want to be a part of it. He hinted at retirement, and all the Browns could get for him in a trade with the 49ers was Ken Dorsey and a 2006 seventh-round draft choice.

"There's so much excitement on this team right now -- we're just ready to play," Frye said at the conclusion of minicamp. "I think we accomplished a lot. We took it to another level. Hopefully we'll carry this into training camp."

Teammates Ryan Tucker and Dennis Northcutt said Frye is acting more like a leader than he did in the final five games of 2005. Frye added 15 pounds in the offseason program and increased his arm strength. His passes come off his hand in a tight spiral, making them easier to catch. Last year about 20 percent of his passes were flutter balls.

The biggest change to the offense is a healthy Kellen Winslow Jr. Winslow missed 14 games in 2004 with a broken fibula and ankle injuries and he missed all of 2005 recovering from a May 2005 motorcycle accident. Braylon Edwards is rehabbing from January knee surgery and likely won't be ready until Oct. 1. When he, Winslow and Jurevicius are on the field the Browns should be much more effective in the red zone than they were last year when they scored only 11 touchdowns in 39 opportunities, the lowest conversion rate in the league.

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