The Sunday Five: Browns Getting Ready for the NFL Combine

"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. In today's edition, we talk about the scouting combine this week, the impact that will have on free agency, Terry Pluto talking about the Browns in Shotgun, and more.

Bullet_mediumThe scouting combine kicks off this week, starting with press conferences for the first day or so before the measurables are finally taken. Unlike the past two years, where we paid close attention to the speed of guys like Joe Haden, Eric Berry, and Patrick Peterson, I don't think a good or bad result will have an impact on what the Browns do for two reasons. First, at quarterback, wide receiver, and running back, there aren't two guys who are neck-and-neck for being taken No. 4 overall from the same position. Second, we saw just how little of an impact a "disappointing" day for Haden had on the Browns' decision to still draft him.

Bullet_mediumAs Scott Petrak of the Chronicle Telegram points out, this is the time where we should start learning some information on which free agents the Browns intend to bring back (beyond Jackson):

The Browns haven’t made any final decisions regarding their free agents, but have begun discussions and should know more following the scouting combine next week in Indianapolis, where they will meet with agents. Running back Peyton Hillis, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Dimitri Patterson, safety Mike Adams and tight end Alex Smith head the list.
In addition to any progress made on the team's free agents, our affiliates at SB Nation should have some nuggets on which players teams take a particular interest in.

Bullet_mediumIn Terry Pluto's weekly column, he talked about how little Shotgun is used in Pat Shurmur's offense and the impact that has on whether the Browns try to make a play for Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. From Pro Football Focus, Pluto cites that the Browns operated from Shotgun 47.7% of the time on pass plays, which ranks them 27th in the NFL. College football offenses are much different than the NFL, of course, which makes you wonder how Robert Griffin III's experience at Baylor (~90 percent of pass plays from Shotgun) translates to what Shurmur has in mind for his version of the West Coast Offense. Pluto notes that Shurmur didn't use the Shotgun very much with the Rams either. This is a case where ultimately, if the Browns draft RGIII, it should be Shurmur who adjusts the offense more for his quarterback, rather than vice versa.

Bullet_mediumAfter reading "Hey, Tony!" in the Plain Dealer's Sunday paper every week for years, it seemed a bit strange to read "Hey, Mary Kay!" instead. I don't think we have found out yet what Tony Grossi's new title is since he reassignment. Based on his Twitter feed, maybe he's even on a temporary leave of absence with sciatica nerve issues. Back to Cabot, though, you can be amused by one reader who thinks the departure of Lawrence Vickers set off a chain reaction of the Browns' issues last season:

Don't you believe that The Season From Heck began when the Browns let go of Lawrence Vickers? By doing that they ended up wasting a pick on Owen Marecic, who was less than stellar. The running game faltered and Marecic only caught five passes. For crying out loud, one of the reasons we let Vickers go was because he did not fit in the WCO where we needed a catching fullback. What a mess!

Bullet_mediumAll of the spots in our Community Mock Draft have been reserved. Remember, if you signed up and did not e-mail, send me a message with your username and e-mail address at pokorny@pfcritics.com. We will try to get this thing started in the next day or two (I will contact people individually via e-mail), so be on the lookout if you know your draft pick is coming up! I will request one more thing: if you did not participate but would be willing to be an "alternate" for any team that doesn't respond in time, let me know.

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