Browns coach Pat Shurmur will go without an offensive coordinator in his first year as head coach. Image courtesy of Chuck Crow of the Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com.
In keeping with the theme of change this offseason, the Browns have released six veteran players. The six players released yesterday were TE Robert Royal, NT Shaun Rogers, RT John St. Clair, DE Kenyon Coleman, LB David Bowens and LB Eric Barton. None of them are under 30 years old, so this will open up more room for younger players. Coleman, Barton, and Bowens came with Mangini from New York. Shaun Rogers is the biggest name on this list, but he has underachieved the last two seasons after his best year in 2008. The losses of Rogers and Kenyon Coleman reduce depth on the defensive line, but open up spots for defensive linemen that fit a 4-3 scheme better. Robert Royal is best known for his amazing lack of hands, but he was a reliable veteran presence. Bowens had some outstanding moments last season (his two interception game in New Orleans), but the 33-year old would likely not have been able to earn playing time this season. For the most part, the release of these veterans is not unexpected and they will not be missed very much. As a fan, I thank them for their efforts and I wish them the best, but it's time for the Browns to move on.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay projects the Browns to take Marcel Dareus, DT from Alabama. The entire draft is Insider Only, but ESPN AFC North blogger James Walker broke down the relevant picks for us. The release of some veteran linemen definitely opens the door for a young, dominant defensive lineman. We will likely see more predictions like this one as long as A.J. Green, WR from Georgia, is expected to go to the Bengals to appease Carson Palmer. As Walker points out, both Cleveland and Cincinatti need dynamic pass rushers at the defensive end spots.
As expected, head coach Pat Shurmur has declared that he will run the offense this year. Shurmur spoke at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards show. For those that remember Eric Mangini's controversial treatment of Shaun Rogers when Mangini arrived in Cleveland, there are no such issues with coach Shurmur. He met with Josh Cribbs at the event, and he believes the two are on the same page. Hopefully the fact that our coach introduces himself to players will allow our team to be successful this season.
This doesn't involve the Browns, but Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle was quoted as saying "there were times where we hope [Michael Vick] gets hurt." Buehrle is a well-known animal rights activist, so obviously his morality is above questioning while Michael Vick is a well-known felon. Buehrle said that "something bad needs to happen to these guys." Being imprisoned for 19 months is not enough of a punishment according to Buehrle, so vigilante justice from the NFL's linebackers is probably a more fitting punishment that will make Buehrle feel better. I won't pretend to be impartial on this subject, because Vick was caught, sentenced, imprisoned, and (hopefully) rehabilitated. He has paid his debt to society, as decided by a judge and jury. Dogfighting is a horrific crime that should be stopped entirely, and Michael Vick is now doing his part to help put an end to it. He has raised awareness of the issue and he has been speaking in schools about the horrors of dogfighting. Education and awareness are the best preventative measures that will keep this form of cruelty from occurring. Hopefully these actions will help change the culture that sees dogfighting as acceptable, and will move that culture in a more positive direction.
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