Obviously, much of the focus regarding the Browns offense has been centered on the quarterback position. It underwent a complete overhaul this off-season, as the team dumped both Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn for Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. Acquiring quarterback Colt McCoy in the draft certainly added an entirely new level of intrigue to the position as well.
The running back position was also addressed in the off-season, as the Browns acquired running back Peyton Hillis from the Denver Broncos in exchange for Quinn. Cleveland also traded back into the second round of the draft in order to select Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty. With Jerome Harrison, Chris Jennings, and James Davis already vying for time at the position, the Browns backfield has suddenly become very crowded. It is obvious that the Browns are looking to make this a big strength, which is a great idea in the AFC North.
However, one area of the offense was not addressed over the course of the off-season and it was arguably the position with the most glaring needs: wide receiver. With Mohamed Massaquoi presumably starting the season as the team’s #1 receiver, the strength of the position is of great concern. After Massaquoi, the Browns are looking at Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey, Josh Cribbs, and Syndric Steptoe. Let’s just throw Evan Moore in there for the fun of it as well, as he is a tight end that can also play wide receiver.
The Browns sort of addressed the position in the draft by selecting Carlton Mitchell out of South Florida, but it came in the sixth round. One wouldn’t expect Mitchell to make much of an impact right away, but with this receiving corps, he might at least get a chance.
Mohamed Massaquoi will only be entering his second season in the league, but he is going to have to have a huge season for the Browns to have any success on offense. I understand that the Browns are going to be a run-first, short-pass kind of team, but there needs to be at least one receiver that scares defenses. Last season, Massaquoi had 34 receptions for 624 yards, and 3 TDs. No other actual wide receiver even touched 150 yards receiving or more than 1 TD.
This is why Massaquoi needs to come up big in 2010. Simply put, there just isn’t anyone else at this point. He has shown glimpses of the player he can become (his 8 catches for 148 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 4th was his coming-out party), but he must be more consistent this season. Part of the blame is on the quarterback position, as it once again was in a constant state of flux in 2009, but there will now be a strong veteran presence in Delhomme.
Mike Holmgren has made the right move by saying Colt McCoy won’t be playing in 2010, though head coach Eric Mangini didn’t necessarily rule it out, but this at least sets the roles of these quarterbacks right away. Training camp can at least be spent on developing timing with the receivers rather than figuring out who is going to step out on the field when the season starts. This will help Massaquoi, but there is no doubt that this season is going to be an uphill battle for this young offense. The running game looks to be strong, but without Massaquoi producing – and the supporting cast bringing something to the table – it could be a tough season offensively.