As training camp approaches, we can finally see some light at the end of the off-season tunnel.
Could this be the year that the Browns finally win a home opener? We would be interested to hear your thoughts.
2009 is the 11th straight year that the Browns have been given a home opener to the regular season. We begin the campaign against the Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 13.
The abysmal record of the Browns at home openers is probably well known to everyone who frequents this website: 1-9 since 1999. Last year, the game seemed to be going fairly well until the Dallas Cowboys pulled away with some big offensive plays. In 2008, the Browns won just one regular season home game – the MNF victory over the Super Bowl Champions, New York Giants.
I will go out on a limb and predict that the Browns will win the home opener this season. The Vikings may be demoralized at the decision of Brett Favre to stay retired. Mangini is a smarter coach than Childress, in my opinion (in fact, some sports commentators in Minnesota have been critical of Childress’ play calling and clock management, reminiscent of some of the criticism of Romeo Crennel). Quinn will play as good as either Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels. Adrian Peterson’s bulking up over the off-season will make him harder to tackle but may also lose him a step. The Browns will have trouble poking holes in the best run defense in the League last season, however, Mangini will not be as stifled as Crennel was in terms of using all of our backs: Lewis, Harrison, Davis and Vickers. Minnesota’s first round draft pick, Percy Harvin, has the speed to cause major problems for our secondary, but I also think that the athleticism of a guy like Brodney Pool can match whatever Harvin can muster. Edwards and Robiskie can take advantage of the Vikings’ loss of one of their best tacklers – safety Darren Sharper. And Quinn should have more time to throw the football with a better offensive line this season (that O-line will be busy controlling Minnesota’s Jared Allen – one of the best defensive ends in the NFL with the ability to get double digit sacks this year). All the better for our offense if the Vikes’ defensive tackle(s) Kevin and/or Pat Williams is/are under suspension.
I say the Browns win the home opener against Minnesota. What do you think?