Despite having to continue to talk about question marks in the receiving corps, it is important to note that the Browns haven’t really stood pat with their offense as a whole. The Browns traded out of the Julio Jones slot in the draft and ended up drafting one of the biggest defensive linemen available in the entire draft. This followed a year where they made Joe Haden a first round Cleveland Brown. Despite eschewing offense for defense at the top of the draft for the last two years, the Browns have made some calculated bids to improve the team’s offense.
The biggest signing for the Browns this off-season was clearly Brandon Jackson. Jackson gives Peyton Hillis a true, capable partner to help carry the load for this team. It is no secret that Peyton Hillis got banged up last season. His violent running style contributes to that, but there is little doubt that he was also overused. Hillis had 331 touches last season between carries (270) and catches (61.) In Green Bay, Brandon Jackson had 233 between carries (190) and catches (43.)
If both of those guys stay healthy, they are going to make each other better, not to mention a second-year QB learning a new offense. The running game is a young quarterback’s best friend. Just ask Ben Roethlisberger, who got over 1700 yards of production out of Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley in his rookie season. It also should give opposing defensive coordinators one more player to think about each week rather than dialing in on Hillis. If the Browns get production from Montario Hardesty or my sleeper pick Armond Smith this season those are just bonuses. Those runners should really help the Browns set up the pass this season and make things easier for the wide receivers and tight ends. [Read more...]