If an NFL season consisted of 12-weeks, the Browns would be in the playoffs, Derek Anderson could be an All-Pro and the fan-base of the team would be partying like it was……. oh forget it!
Now, if the season came to end today, this is what I would do and what I see transpiring with the Browns:
- The Browns would beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. With very limited offense, the Browns were on the verge of the upset a couple weeks ago and this offense now knows what to expect from the Steelers.
- Outside of the Indianapolis Colts, I believe the Browns would give the New England Patriots their toughest game, in the conference.
- Tender quarterback Derek Anderson with a #1 and #3 marker and let teams make their move. Needing help in many areas, this team should benefit from the move, but only if these selections are high in the draft. Secondly, I would make every significant effort to re-sign the quarterback, but not for Tony Romo or Marc Bulger money. Also, franchising Anderson is out of the question - the price-tag is far too high.
- Plan for Anderson and Brady Quinn to have one hell of a battle for the starting spot next season.
- I would have a couple sleepless nights debating what to do with running back Jamal Lewis. In the end, I would let him go as a 20-million dollar deal does not work for me. Not when Mr. Michael Turner will be available from San Diego, and quite possibly Chester Taylor in Minnesota. Let's not forget that the Browns already have the intriguing Jerome Harrison on the roster.
- Defensive ends, defensive tackles and inside linebackers would be on my radar. I would be counting down the hours before I could attack some of the best in the game. Getting a pass rush and stopping the run are the priority.
- There would not be another season of doubt at the wide receiver position. Two legitimate receivers would be added, then this offense would be even more difficult to defense.
- Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is going to be mentioned in head coaching circles as a candidate, even though he is relatively inexperienced. His youth and confidence, along with a highly productive offense on his resume, are hard for eager and desperate team owners to overlook. Find a way to secure his services, as he may be the heir-apparent to Crennel (instead of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham).
- Plan for LeCharles Bentley to come back with a vengeance in 2008 camp, and add defensive back Gary Baxter into the equation. Just knowing what I know, we certainly have not heard the last of these two solid players... and hopefully terrific success stories in the near future.