Browns free-agency Q&A
Question: What do the individuals in charge of the Browns see in their current set of offensive players that makes them believe the 2012 season will be better than 2011?
Answer: There are potentially two answers. 1, the Browns must believe their plan for the draft will bring in a bevy of talent (wide receivers, a running back?) that will rejuvenate an offense that scored 13 points - yes, 13 points - a game last season, or 2, the Browns know something no one else around the NFL does. That being the players who struggled last season will undoubtedly be better in 2012. In the team's defense, a player's maturity and performance level at times takes a while to develop. Perhaps their thinking was the likes of Greg Little, Montario Hardesty, Evan Moore and Colt McCoy were a year away. On the other hand, Mike Holmgren and Co. could be vastly overrating their collection of young players. For their sake, it better not be the latter.
Q: Why hasn't the team used free agency to address the offense?
A: If you follow the Browns, you heard GM Tom Heckert say the team wouldn't go crazy when free agency began. Kudos to Heckert for telling the truth, but if you're a Browns fans, don't you wish he were lying? What is it about free agents the Browns don't seem to like? Maybe Heckert is waiting for bargain prices, but with a big hole at running back, why not target, for example, the Raiders' Michael Bush? They might. As for not targeting a veteran free-agent receiver, the Browns are making a mistake. The current cast is a collection of players either struggling to break through or just too young, or, perhaps the worst scenario for the Browns, not good enough for the NFL. The Browns struggled all season throwing the ball for a reason.
Q: What's next for the Browns?
A: There isn't much left out there among the free-agent pool, so the biggest event on the docket is obviously the NFL draft in April. The pressure is on for all who will be in the Browns' draft war room. Expect Colt McCoy to be the starter at QB, even though the Browns won't publicly say that, but there are questions at running back and receiver that need to be answered. Depth at linebacker is a concern, as well as on the offensive line. Still, fixing problems and filling roster gaps with a host of rookies isn't the answer to immediate success, but that's what the Browns could be facing in 2012. That also means another year of growing pains, something a fan base surely doesn't want to hear.
- Mark Podolski | @mpodo