2006 Browns Preview: Offense

Quarterback: Charlie Frye enters the season as the clear cut starter after veteran Trent Dilfer left town to San Francisco via trade. The Browns havenít exactly been a model for consistency as far as quarterbacks go. In the past five seasons, Cleveland has had four different QBs start a season (Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer). The organization is hoping this one sticks around for a long time. With Dilfer departed and no veteran backup, the Browns are hoping Frye develops and has the same kind of success that all the other MAC quarterbacks have enjoyed recently. Frye has spent the off-season not only building his body for a full 16-game NFL season, but preparing himself mentally to be the leader of the offense. Though he doesnít have the strongest arm in the world, Charlie possesses quick feet and seems to have a real desire and determination to win and help the team.

Running Back: Reuben Droughns gave the Browns and their fans something they hadnít seen in twenty years, a 1,000-yard rusher. The Browns had been starving for such a back since Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack both accomplished the feat way back in 1985. Droughns delighted the Cleveland fans with his lunch pale, blue-collar mentality and running style. Signed to a new three-year contract in the off-season, Droughns is the starter and will once again be running behind fullback Terrelle Smith. Some believed Rueben tired towards the end of the 2005 season so the Browns used one of their draft picks to give them some depth at the running back position. Jerome Harrison, drafted out of Washington State, rushed for over 1,900 yards last season and is very much a scat back. Harrison is extremely quick and will serve as a change of pace to the bruiser that is Droughns. Last but not least, William Green and Lee Suggs are still on the roster and hope to contribute in some capacity.

Offensive Line: One of the biggest improvements Phil Savage and the Browns made in the off-season was bolstering the O-line. Browns fans have seen patchwork offensive lines and sub-par performances by that position ever since the Browns came back into the league in 1999. The organization is finally making steps to strengthen the line. They added Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman last season and have brought in two more hard-nosed players in LeCharles Bentley and Kevin Schaffer. Bentley (Ignatius boy!) is a homegrown talent and two-time Pro-Bowler who many consider one of the best centers in the NFL. Ryan Tucker returns to round out a solid offensive line. Part of winning football games is winning the battle in the trenches and the Browns are building a line with tough-minded, strong, and fierce competitors. Every starter on the line holds at least five years of NFL experience. If this position has a weakness, it would be with their depth. With the exception of nine-year veteran center/guard Bob Hallen, the Browns are rather inexperienced when it comes to their reserves.

Wide Receiver/Tight End: Another fellow Clevelander will make his return to play for his hometown team. Joe Jurevicius, signed from Seattle in the off-season, will open the season as the Brownsí number one wideout in front of Dennis Northcutt. With Braylon Edwards not expected to return from his ACL injury until around Week 6, itíll be up to Jurevicius and company to pick up the slack. After Northcutt, numerous receivers will compete during camp for the third receiver spot. Those include Frisman Jackson, Joshua Cribbs, Brandon Rideau, and third-round pick Travis Wilson. Kellen Winslow II, almost completely healed from his motorcycle accident, should be able to shoulder some of the load until Edwards returns. Opposite K2 will be tight end Steve Heiden, who had one of his best years as a pro last season for the Browns. Question marks remain for the receiving corps. Will a healthy Winslow stay that way and be the same player we saw at Miami? How will Edwards bounce back from his knee injury once he returns? However, nobody doubts this groupís talent and Browns fans canít wait to see Winslow and Edwards healthy and on the field together.

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