Originally Published: September 2, 2010
Jeff Hanisch/US Presswire JOHN CLAYTON QB RANKING (33): Jake Delhomme landed in Cleveland after a dreadful 2009 season in Carolina. At 35, he could be looking at his last shot as a starter.

Expert Picks (Consensus: 4th)

Intelligence Report

Five things you need to know about the Browns:

1. In good hands: For the first time in a long time, Cleveland has stability in the front office with plenty of experience. New president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert know how to put together winning organizations. Both have experienced success in important roles with the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles. The Browns are hoping that success rubs off in Cleveland. Do not expect the team to be an overnight success, but things appear to be headed in the right direction.

2. Delhomme has eased some concerns: Whether you are on the Jake Delhomme bandwagon or still skeptical, his solid preseason performance has quieted some concerns after a tumultuous 2009 season. Delhomme was benched and eventually released by the Carolina Panthers after throwing only eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions last season. Questions remain about whether he will continue his poor play in Cleveland. But so far Delhomme has had good command of the offense in limited playing time.

3. Running game is strong: One of the best ways the Browns can take pressure off Delhomme and the passing game is by pounding the football. Cleveland isn't deep in a lot of areas, but the team has plenty of running backs. Jerome Harrison, Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty all bring different strengths to Cleveland's offense, and the Browns plan to keep runners fresh while wearing down the defense. Even Josh Cribbs and Seneca Wallace will contribute to the running game via the Wildcat. This run-first formula was successful during Cleveland's four-game winning streak last season.

4. Don't expect much from McCoy: Unless there is a complete debacle at quarterback, Colt McCoy will not see playing time as Cleveland's starter this season. The third-round pick doesn't look ready for the NFL game and still has a lot to learn. McCoy is third on Cleveland's roster behind Delhomme and Wallace, both of whom have a better grasp of the offense at this stage. Cleveland fans always get excited about the backup quarterback. But the Browns want to groom McCoy the right way by letting him sit at least one year on the sideline.

5. Weeks 1 and 2 will be huge: The Browns are notoriously slow starters, but that has to change if they want to have a successful season. Cleveland has two winnable games early at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and home against the Kansas City Chiefs. It's a golden opportunity for the Browns to start the season 2-0 and develop momentum before they begin their tough division slate against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3. The Browns were 1-5 against the AFC North last season. On paper, they don't match up well against the division again this season. So winning outside the division will be important.

-- James Walker, ESPN.com

Scouts Inc.'s Fabulous Five


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