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When Josh McCown is key QB addition, Browns' offseason grade won't shine

6/19/2015
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Browns' crazy offseason earns less-than-stellar mark

ESPN Browns reporter Pat McManamon discusses an offseason of upheaval in Cleveland.

With offseason workouts and minicamps in the rearview mirror and training camps just a few weeks away, we assess the Cleveland Browns' offseason moves and assign a letter grade in the video above.

Best move: When a team has a glaring need and makes a move to fill it, the team deserves credit. The Browns were the NFL’s worst team at stopping the run last season. That was true even though the Browns believe in their players and believe in their system. To address the situation, the Browns added the nose tackle they’ve lacked: Danny Shelton of Washington. Shelton missed OTAs to finish his academic work at Washington, so he’ll need to jump into things during camp. If he can plug the middle like the Browns hope, a weakness could be erased.

Riskiest move: Signing a 36-year-old quarterback and adding a new coordinator and new receivers brings huge challenges to the offense. The Browns aren’t just starting over, they are starting over with the coach who leads the offense, the guy who calls the signals and the receivers who catch his passes. History has shown the challenges involved in this, and when the quarterback is Josh McCown, a guy who lost 10 of 11 starts in 2014, the challenge seems greater. The Browns built their defense on system and players. Their offense is built on hope.

Receiving (non)move: The Browns ignored the wide receiver spot in the draft last season when they knew Josh Gordon would be suspended. They ignored the receiver spot in the draft until the fourth round this season even though Gordon already had been suspended. The team added starting receivers via free agency in Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline and drafted a big, strong guy in Vince Mayle. But they still lack a big-play, speed guy. The receiving corps last season was a strength for 10 games, then could not sustain the production. Whether that group has improved enough to help a new quarterback will be closely watched.

Training camp outlook: The big question for the Browns as they head to training camp is the same one they’ve had as they’ve headed to training camp every season since 1999: What about the quarterback? The Browns have given the keys to McCown, and they’ve not hesitated to build him up. McCown is a tremendous individual and great to have on a team. He looked sharp in his throws and reads in minicamp. How he plays over the course of a 16-game season remains to be seen. The Browns headed to the offseason with McCown clearly ahead of Johnny Manziel -- and with continued uncertainty about the most important position on the team.