I can see this year's Lombardi Trophy coming to Cleveland just as Braylon Edwards sees a beautifully thrown ball floating towards his hands. My vision is Braylon's vision. I see a mirage.
After all, the 2009 Cleveland Browns are undefeated and Braylon Edwards has not dropped one pass. By the looks of things, the Browns had the perfect draft by grabbing a center, some wide receivers, a hybrid linebacker and half a dozen or so Jets. I believe in Eric Mangini the same as I once believed in Romeo Crennel, Butch Davis, and even Chris Palmer. I believe because...
Yes, that is why. But this year there is more to the mirage because the Cleveland Browns apparently plan to play actual Cleveland Browns football like it was once played when the team was dominant. That means power football with real lineman and stuff.
This is my Offensive off-season mirage.
Offensive Line: For most of the new Browns existence, the AFC Central/North has been a schoolyard full of bullies and the Browns have been eager to give away their lunch money. But no more. With a legitimate star left tackle, a good left guard and a center loaded with potential, plus a rebuilt right side, the Browns should be able to hold their own in any brawl. More importantly, they should be able to control the line of scrimmage against their rivals. Drafting offensive linemen in the first round pays off in the modern NFL.
Running back: Remember, this is the mirage. Jamal Lewis is as good as his offensive line and this year he will be really good. Jerome Harrison will finally emerge as that James Brooks type of runner we all expect and then James Davis will become his power sidekick – forming a formidable trio of options. And remember, they will be running behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
Tight End: What's his name is gone. And instead the Browns have a couple of players who actually play the position of tight end, which on most football teams is not a glamorous position worth popping wheelies over. Every time Steve Heiden played he seemed to be productive and Robert Royal arrives with a solid reputation. Plus there is the Phil Savage experiment, Martin Rucker waiting to show he can play. I saw him catch a pass last year so I figure he is on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Wide Receiver: Braylon's hands must work. See above. Other than that the team drafted a couple of possible stars and signed some experience. If Braylon plays well, they all will. If not, well, this is the mirage and so if Braylon plays like a superstar then Brian Robiskie will turn into Webster Slaughter, and the Browns offense will be able to do many things well. And maybe David Patten will find a niche here like he did when he was a Patriot.
Quarterback: Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson? That is a question worthy of William Shakespeare or maybe Bill shakes beer. When I see the mirage, I believe either one is capable of winning five straight Super Bowls, starting this year. Maybe they can take turns. Why not keep them together, even if they start to hate each other. There is no benefit in getting rid of the backup. Keep him around. Maybe he's Steve Young. Or even Joe Gilliam. With Quinn, the game could be cerebral like Joe Montana and maybe Tom Brady. With Anderson, the team's power game plays perfectly for him to throw it down field like Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman. Either way, I cheer for touchdowns.