This off-season the Browns started under their new regime with Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi and Rob Chudzinski under new owner Jimmy Haslam. The Browns had a large amount of cap space and all but their 2nd round pick in the draft. To say that the Browns had assets to make changes to their team is a understatement. The Browns made 2 quick moves by signing OLB Paul Kruger and DE Desmond Bryant. During the draft they made what seemed to be a small move, for very little draft considerations, to pick up Devone Bess. Yet there were moves that were made and not made that had a direct impact on Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins.
Signing Chris Owens Instead of __________
The Browns had, and have, an obvious need at the #2 cornerback position. Many CBs were available this off-season from star Darrell Revis, Keenan Lewis, Aquib Talib, Antoine Winfield, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and Brent Grimes. The Browns sought after Grimes but were not willing to up the years and/or money to get him to sign with them instead of the Dolphins. The other starting CBs were either too expensive or too old for the current regime. While the Browns still have over $20 million to spare they did not value these players to improve the secondary. Because of that Buster Skrine and Owens were eaten alive by #2 receiver Brian Hartline. Joe Haden did a great job at shutting down big free agent signing Mike Wallace to only 1 reception but the game was lost on a out and up double move by Hartline on Skrine. Signing a upgrade could of had a big impact on Week 1’s loss.
Drafting Barkevious Mingo Over Dee Millner or Chance Warmack
With the #6 overall pick the Browns had many options to improve either their CB need as noted above or to solidify their offensive line with the strength needed for a quality run game. Millner was the highest rated CB and could of provided a solid #2 his rookie year and long term a excellent pairing with Haden. Guard Chance Warmack was considered an elite once in a decade guard, though he was drafted after Johnathan Cooper. Warmack would of slide directly in at one of the starting guard positions replacing O’Neill Cousins. As we noted this morning, Cousins was the Sadness Award “Winner” from yesterday’s game. Warmack, or Cooper, would of provided strength on the line to help open up run lanes and not had the penalties and physical mistakes the Cousins’ presence punished the offense with. In defense of the new regime Cousins is the 3rd or 4th selection to place that position and probably wasn’t in their plans when drafting this high.
“Competition” for Starting QB Job
The Browns opened up their new regime by stating that the QB job would be a competition. The Browns signed Jason Campbell and later Brian Hoyer to provide that competition. Observers noted that it was clear that Weeden was expected to win the job and was treated as the favorite from the start. Joe Thomas even noted that, to paraphrase, “I have eyes, I can see who is the starter” while the competition was supposedly in progress. Weeden was treated like a established starter and not pushed in many ways. In as much Weeden didn’t even play in the 4th pre-season game after a terrible game 3. Had the Browns given a more open competition or played Weeden more in the pre-season perhaps he would of been more sharp or Campbell would be a veteran holding the place for a first round pick in 2014.