A new head coach, coordinators and talent on field brings much change to Cleveland, but is it enough? First of all, I was shocked at the announcement that Rob Chudzinski of all people was named head coach. Great coordinator and also a great guy, but I don’t think there was one person that said: “Damn, I knew that one was coming.” This upcoming season will begin Chudzinski’s third stint in the Browns organization. He was the Browns Tight Ends coach for the 2004 season, and later returned to be the offensive coordinator from 2007-2008. The year 2007 was that magical year when anything Cleveland sports was (believe it or not) good, but not good enough to win it all. The Browns offense that season was electrifying. The connection between quarterback Derek Anderson and wide receiver Braylon Edwards was better than any phone that isn’t Verizon. (They aren’t even advertising for me, I just said that because it’s true). Behind Chudzinski’s stellar play calling, Anderson and Edwards hooked up for 16 touchdowns and 1289 passing yards. That’s money. Derek Anderson threw for nearly 4,000 yards that season. It wasn’t just passing, however. Running back Jamal pounded in nine touchdowns busting just a shade over 1300 yards at 1304. Offense – check.
The real test for coach Chudzinski will come on the more unfamiliar defensive side of the ball. Fortunately enough, this season he has help. The hiring of former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton should be enough to steady the consistently rocking since ’99 ship that is the Browns defense. Additions like linebacker Paul Kruger from the Ravens, and defensive end Desmond Bryant from the Raiders will join forces with the already active forces of corner back Joe Haden, and safety T.J Ward. Draft picks Barkevious My-First-Name-Is-Really-Awesome Mingo at defensive end and corner back Leon McFadden will also be incorporated into the mix. Every year we say the defense is going to be good, and every year the defense tends to fail us in some sort of fashion. Once again, crossing my fingers on the defense is going to be good this year part.
Our new owner Jimmy Haslam III, who only had to pump that right fist of his in the air for everyone to love him, has found himself in quite the legal troubles with his company Pilot Flying J. Despite the news it is causing, I believe that this issue will not effect much on the playing field. Jimmy Haslam will still own the Browns once the season starts, and hopefully for many years to come because he is still going to be a great owner.
You know, there’s really something truly special about those orange helmets flying around the field. As a die hard Cleveland fan for my whole life, I love all of the major sports teams in the 216, but there’s always been something that much more special about the Browns. Maybe it’s the fact that’s there’s only sixteen regular season games. This season, if I could ask for anything it would be for the Browns to be “watchable”.
Watchable – “The ability to sit down on your couch Sunday afternoon while watching a Browns game, and not wanting to shove your head through a wall by 1:30.”
The Browns may have had only two winning seasons since their reinstatement into the league way back in ’99, but I’ll always be rooting my for my Browns. Go and get ’em, boys.
By: Zach Shafron