I thought today we would eschew the typical gameday winners and losers piece, and just move to a season long winners and losers. Beware of low hanging fruit. Let’s try to be a little insightful or creative with these.
WINNER: Mitchell Schwartz. The second round RT played every snap of every game his rookie season I believe, and was effective doing it. There was a learning curve to the job of course, but Schwartz was up to the challenge and performed well as the season progressed. I challenge anyone not on the Schwartz bandwagon to recall the parade of fail the Browns have had at RT the last ten years.
WINNER: Defensive Line Depth. The one thing that Rubin and Taylor’s injuries did was allow the team to see what they had in rookies John Hughes and Billy Winn. While they may not be on Rubin’s or Taylor’s level, they are certainly NFL players capable of filling in and giving good reps during games.
LOSER: The secondary. It started with Haden’s suspension. Add in injuries and sub-par performances and I think the Browns have a major problem on their hands. Sheldon Brown will not be back. The Browns were counting on Patterson to step in and take that CB spot opposite Haden eventually. He’s gone. Usama Young is not the answer at FS. Eric Haag probably isn’t either. Buster Skrine had some good moments, but some awful ones too. What seemed like a position of strength in camp turned out to be a position of need heading into the off-season.
WINNER: Chris Tabor, Special Teams Coach. Brad Seely is a heck of a ST coach. Tabor has the Browns’ units firing on all cylinders again. The Browns averaged 5 yards more per kick return than their opponents and 4 yards more per punt. That isn’t to say improvements can’t be made. Hodges’ punting took a step back this season, and the Browns need to something about penalties on kick returns. That’s your homework assignment coach.
OK, your turn. Give us something good…