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2011 Cleveland Browns Team Preview/Prediction

2011 Cleveland Browns Team Preview | NFL Predictions

As is the case with most teams that finish with just five wins, the Cleveland Browns are ready for some major changes including the end of the Eric Mangini era.

2011 Cleveland Browns Team Preview/Predictions
2010 Record: 5-11
ATS Record: 5-11

Mangini fell to 10-22 in two seasons with Cleveland last season. When the 2010 season ended, a downcast Mangini was consoled by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, because both men knew that Mangini would not be taking his talents back to Cleveland. Mangini’s demeanor was that of a beaten man, something numerous Browns head coaches can relate to.

Now Pat Shurmur will try to handle the heat in the northeastern part of Ohio.

Despite the 5-11 record there seems to be a lot of optimism in Cleveland, because it appears as though General Manager Mike Holmgren has this team moving in a good direction. Former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy seems capable of moving the offense, despite his relative lack of imposing physical stature.

Cleveland also boasts one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, highlighted by left tackle Joe Thomas and upcoming center Alex Mack. Not to take away anything that running back Peyton Hillis accomplished last year, but it’s easy to see why he emerged as a force to be reckoned with running behind that great offensive line.

On the defensive side of the football, Joe Haden had a very solid rookie campaign at cornerback. Moreover, Josh Cribbs remains the most dangerous speed threat that this team has, so the tools are there for Shurmur as he takes over the Browns.

Most of the questions in Cleveland come from the defensive side of the pigskin. With the firing of Mangini, the Browns also lost Rob Ryan, one of the brightest coordinators in the NFL, who got a lot of production out of a unit that doesn’t have the most talent on it.

Not surprisingly, the Browns released the very talented but also very troubled defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, leaving almost every single position on the front seven open for the taking. The Browns went out and hired Dick Jauron as their defensive coordinator. Jauron uses a 4-3 defense. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

The Browns tried to answer some of their defensive deficiencies when they used their first two picks on defensive linemen, Phil Taylor from Baylor University and Jabaal Sheard out of Pittsburgh. Cleveland also has a very good pass rushing prospect in Bernard Brown, but he doesn’t seem to be a fit for the 4-3, so it should be very interesting to see what the Browns do with Brown.

In terms of offense, the biggest need is a playmaking wide receiver. Mohamed Massaquoi turned out be a solid target for McCoy in 2010. The same is true for Chansi Stuckey, who was part of the Braylon Edwards trade with the Jets that brought him to Cleveland.

Stuckey is more suited for a slot receiver role. Yes, Cleveland did get a possession receiver, Greg Little, in the second round of the 2011 draft, but rookie receivers are hard to trust and usually take a lot of time to develop, unless former Shurmur, a former offensive coordinator, has something special up his sleeve.

Despite things progressing in a good direction, it’s hard to see the Browns taking anything but baby steps forward this season.

2011 Browns Futures

Super Bowl Odds: +12550
Conference Odds: +6050
AFC North Odds: +805
2011-2012 NFL Regular Season Wins: Under 6.5

2011 Browns Predictions: 

Place they’ll finish in AFC North: 3rd
Place they’ll finish in AFC Conference: 10th

Over/Under Wins Prediction: UNDER

With NFL football just a short time away, Cappers Picks Football handicappers have been hard at work putting out the team by team NFL previews for those of us who can’t wait.

Bet on the 2011 SuperBowl winner, plus Conference and Divisional winners.

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About Dave Golokhov AKA Vegas Dave

Dave Golokhov has written for Playboy.com, BETUS Sportsbook, Sportsfanmagazine.com, FOX, Askmen.com, Sports-central, and the FOXSports.com Funhouse.