Jeff B: Pre-Season Thoughts

Jeff Biletnikoff of reacts to the Browns pre-season so far...

Preseason Browns Thoughts

I'd have to go back to 1999 or even into the 80's to remember a time when I was surrounded by so many Browns fans watching a preseason game at a bar.

From what I can tell, they were mostly anticipating Brady Quinn's entrance into the game judging by the inordinate amount of them that stayed into the 3rd quarter and the groans I heard when Derek Anderson ran out on the field for the first series of the 2nd half.

As I looked at the game, it seems like the same old Browns in some areas with reasons to hope in others.

Reasons To Hope

Jamal Lewis looks like the featured back they've been looking for since the return.  I'm not going to put him in the LT or Larry Johnson class but he is definitely an upgrade from what they've had in the past.

Speaking of upgrades, the offensive line did something we've rarely seen since the return----create running lanes and form an actual-*gasp*-pocket.

The Browns QB's definitely had time to throw, and while Jamal Lewis wasn't exactly threatening his own single game record, we still saw the Browns gain somewhat on the ground.

I liked the play of the linebackers and defensive backs.  It seems like there's a lot of energy and speed back there now and it could be a strength of the Browns.

Same Old Browns

If poor offensive line play has been the open wound for Browns fans since the return, then porous run defense has been the salt.  Since most of the defensive line came into the league when Moses was wandering the desert, it looks like I'll be drafting fantasy running backs that play the Browns defense a lot.  I saw no signs last night that the Browns will be even adequate against the run.

Outside of Kamerion Wimbley, do you remember anyone really consistently applying pressure to the Broncos QB's?  Me either. 

Not Sour Grapes

The bottom line for me has always been the bottom line.  Are the Browns good enough, based on what I saw, to have a playoff season?

No way.

Are they moving in an upwardly mobile direction for the first time in a long time?

An emphatic YES.

The Browns have never had this much young talent assembled since they returned. 

When you think about it, it's not a stretch to think you might have 5-6 future pro bowlers on the team.  Just look at the potential among Kamerion Wimbley, Kellen WinslowBraylon Edwards, Joe Thomas, Eric Wright, Leigh Bodden, Sean Jones, D'Qwell Jackson, Leon Williams, Eric Steinbach, Brodney Pool, possibly LeCharles Bentley if he can make it back and yes, maybe even Brady Quinn.

The point is the Browns are building something.  It probably won't all come together this season but I see Cleveland finally starting to turn the corner.

We can only hope, right? 

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