In today's column, Plain Dealer writer Terry Pluto recaps why it appears clear that running the football will be the focal point of the Browns' offense this season. After indicating that the Browns have only finished above 20th in the league in rushing once since returning to the league in 1999, Pluto wrote the following:
"Let's consider what the Browns under Eric Mangini and George Kokinis have done. When you trade Kellen Winslow partly because of contract and physical problems, and partly because he's a tight end who can't block, what does that say? When you make center Alex Mack your first-round choice, what does that say? When you sign a tight end who can block in Robert Royal, and when you sign two starting veteran offensive linemen in John St. Clair and Floyd Womack, what is the message? You got it -- the new regime didn't like the blocking last year and wants to run the ball."
Following that, Pluto cites how Mangini gradually improved the Jets' running game. In Mangini's first season, the Jets ranked 20th; they ranked 19th in his second season before finally improving to 9th in his final season. Part of the reason for that? Center Nick Mangold, according to the Sporting News Today, is the league's best center.
On the defensive side, Pluto discusses a similar reason he is intrigued by the potential for the Browns' run defense this season.
In other news, the Browns added a kicker to the roster yesterday (so that Phil Dawson isn't overworked in camp).
The OBR outlines a new drill the Browns will be implementing this year to work on tackling.