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Then and Now: Changes at Positions

The bye week is over, and the Browns are now set to play every week for the remainder of the season. Let's take a look at what I want to see from each position on the field that I did or didn't see in the first half of the season:

  • Quarterback: Keep Brady Quinn off of the field. Anderson has led the Browns' offense extremely well, and handing the team over to Quinn would be out of the question unless we are officially out of contention or Anderson starts throwing four picks a game.

  • Running Back: Involve Jerome Harrison in the offense more so than Jason Wright. I'm going back to my prediction prior to the season starting: Wright should be the guy who takes over if Jamal Lewis is injured or if the game is out of reach (we're winning), but Harrison should be the change-of-pace back. This would especially help on screen plays against some weak defenses that we'll be playing later in the season.

  • Wide Receiver: Keep Travis Wilson off the field, and everything else the way it is. Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius have been great, and neither of them have had trouble getting open. Why mess with something that isn't broken? The only improvement here might be to request a play or two for Joshua Cribbs in the receiving game on gadget plays.

  • Tight End: Like the receiver position, this should remain the same. It's not necessary to use Steve Heiden in an offense that is being built on down-the-field plays, which is what Kellen Winslow is perfectly capable of.

  • Offensive Line: Test the waters with LeCharles Bentley in a blowout win, either at center or at guard. If we discover that Bentley is perfectly fine, then we can either decide to start him over Seth McKinney at some point, or keep him around to have the best depth in football.

  • Defensive Line: Put Shaun Smith at nose tackle. He's seen limited action there, instead having to play defensive end with the injuries to Orpheus Roye. We need to find out if Smith has anything reasonable to offer at the defensive tackle position, because if he doesn't, then our No. 1 priority in free agency will be to find the available player. At some point, Simon Fraser or Louis Leonard should be waived to get a look at Chase Pittman or Melila Purcell.

  • Linebacker: I know it won't happen, but I'd like to see Chaun Thompson line up at inside linebacker a few times. The linebackers aren't getting pressure consistently, as the blitzes never seem to work. It's time to power rush with Antwaan Peek and Kamerion Wimbley on one side during special moments of a game to repeat some of the production we saw with that scheme in the preseason.

  • Cornerback: The physicality needs to be improved. Too many times we're forced to provide 10-yard cushions to opposing receivers; we need to mature into the unit that the Green Bay Packers have, where the defensive backs are right up to the line of scrimmage on every play. Also, Brandon McDonald should see playing time over Kenny Wright.
  • Safety: This is obviously the position we're most excited about. To change things up, Crennel stated he would test the switching of Sean Jones and Brodney Pool. In the background, we're dying to see if Gary Baxter really is ready for game action, or if we've only been getting our hopes up. Also, why not bring Justin Hamilton back in place of Mike Adams. I still don't understand why that move was made to begin the season.

  • Special Teams: Nothing drastic to improve here. The more often the offense only forced Phil Dawson to kick field goals from 40 yards or less, the better. Dave Zastudil needs to get his feet wet quickly back from injury, because field position can really help out some of our defensive struggles.

Later on, I'll have some news and nuggets about this week's game.