The Browns have some of the following goals at the top of their list when training camp rolls around...
Identify a starting running back: Jerome Harrison rushed for 561 yards in the final three games of 2009. What the Browns must determine is whether that was a fluke or whether Harrison is the compact reincarnation of Jim Brown after 3 1/2 years of obscurity. Until he carried the ball 106 times in the last three games, he carried it a total of 165 times in 44 games.
Ultimately Harrison probably will earn the starting job, but he was a restricted free agent and ended up signing his one-year tender. If the Browns were truly enamored with him they might have tried signing him to a longer deal.
Harrison weighs 205 pounds, so there has to be concern about whether he can take a pounding for a full season. Training camp will not reveal the answer, but it will give coach Eric Mangini and his staff the chance to compare Harrison to rookie Montario Hardesty. Hardesty got the bulk of work in minicamp and looked sure of himself. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, which is important in the Browns' offense. Harrison can catch it, too; he tied for the team lead with 34 catches last year.
Settle on two safeties: No position on the defensive side of the ball is more unsettled than safety. Four different players started at free safety last season -- Brodney Pool, Mike Adams, Hank Poteat and Mike Furrey. Pool, Poteat and Furrey are no longer with the Browns.
General manager Tom Heckert Jr. used two of the Browns' eight draft picks on safeties -- one on second-round pick T.J. Ward and one on fifth-round pick Larry Asante. One of the rookies should end up starting. Mangini said he would be comfortable with both rookies starting, but that seems unlikely because first-round pick Joe Haden is a projected starter at right cornerback.
The mystery player at safety is Abe Elam. Elam was the key player acquired from the Jets on draft day 2009 when the Browns sent the fifth pick of the draft to Mangini's former team, which the Jets used on Mark Sanchez. Elam did not play particularly well last season. He was taken off the field in nickel situations. He will take a firmer grip on one of the safety jobs if he improves. Veteran Mike Adams has the inside track on the other spot until Ward or Asante beats him out.
Fix the offensive line: Specifically, the Browns have to settle on a right guard and a right tackle. The other 60 percent of the line is firm, but it was evident in minicamp Mangini will be using August to decide which combination to the right of center Alex Mack works best.
Last season the right side of the line was a weakness. The Browns did not try to re-sign Rex Hadnot, who started six games in the second half of the season. Interestingly, the run offense worked well with Hadnot at right guard and Womack at right tackle.
--The Browns are opening practice to the public on only 13 dates this summer, six of which are two-a-days with one practice in the morning and one in the evening. Four mid-week practices are closed to the public.
-- This will be the 16th summer the Browns are training at their team headquarters in suburban Berea. The facility opened in 1992. The Browns trained there for four years. After a three-year hiatus the Browns' franchise was restored in 1999 and they have held camp there ever since.
The only place in which they trained longer was Hiram College, where they trained from 1952-74.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The last four games we finished real strong. Obviously the goals for the coaches and the players are to build off the way we finished." -- Browns guard Eric Steinbach
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
The Browns, aching for some veteran leadership among their young receivers ever since Joe Jurevicius was forced to retire two years ago because of a staph infection in his knee, filled the void by signing 37-year-old Bobby Engram.
Engram is a 14-year veteran. He played for Mike Holmgren from 2001-2008 in Seattle.
Engram caught 94 passes for 1,147 yards and six touchdowns in 2007, his most productive season. Engram played for Kansas City last year and caught five passes while playing in five games.
The Browns' receiving corps was very young before Engram was added to the team. Projected starters Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie are in their second season. Chansi Stuckey has 49 career receptions in two seasons. Josh Cribbs has played five years, but exactly where he fits as a wide receiver remains a riddle. Carlton Mitchell is a rookie.
Engram has caught 650 passes for 7,751 yards and 35 touchdowns during his career. He was a second-round draft pick by the Bears (Penn State) in 1996. He played five seasons in Chicago and caught 246 passes for the Bears.