Now that the Super Bowl and 2010 season is over I will be analyzing the Browns piece by piece and position by position over the next few weeks in preparation for the draft in April. I am also working on a Browns 2010 season recap and awards article, so keep an eye open for that. If anyone has an opinion they’d like to share please feel free to hit me up via email email@example.com, the Die-Hard Night Facebook page (link in the left side bar) on twitter @diehardnight. I’m looking for some serious feedback and opinions on the Browns. So please, don’t be shy!
The NFL season has been over for all of four days and already the Browns are beginning to cut the fat so to speak. In an attempt to get younger and more talented the Browns terminated the contracts of the following six players: defensive linemen Shaun Rogers and Kenyon Coleman, linebackers David Bowens and Eric Barton, tight end Robert Royal, and right tackle John St. Clair. The move doesn’t really come as much of a surprise. All six players are over the age of 30, three have extensive ties to former head coach Eric Mangini, and along with the hiring of Dick Jauron confirms the Browns will be shifting from a 3-4 base defense back to the more traditional 4-3.
The most disappointing part of this move has to be Shaun Rogers. He was brought here by Phil Savage to be the centerpiece of the defensive line under Romeo Crennel. Unfortunately, the only thing Rogers was ever the center of during his time in Cleveland was attention… and not the good kind. In Detroit Rogers was a beast and dominating presence on the defensive line. In Cleveland Rogers was fat, out of shape, and lazy. Yes, he was named a Pro-Bowl reserve in 2008, but other than that he was either hurt, benched, or completely ineffective.
The sad part is that Shaun Rogers occasionally showed glimpses of what he could be but a lack of motivation kept him from reaching the full impact of his potential. When he tried and actually wanted to be on the field Rogers couldn’t be stopped. Whether it was his inability to get along with Eric Mangini or a bad attitude in general, his on field contributions never lived up to the six-year $42 million dollar deal handed to him by Savage. Of course one could place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Savage for this debacle. It’s not like Rogers had a reputation for being a team player in Detroit. Why else would they have given him away for Leigh Bodden and a third round draft pick? In related news, I wonder why Phil Savage’s tenure with the Browns didn’t go too well?
Whatever your opinion is or was about Shaun Rogers we can all agree that he had to go. The talent just didn’t live up to the hassle. The only shame is that the Browns couldn’t get anything in return for him. Once it appeared the 2010 season was going to be a lost cause they should have tested the market. Why didn’t they call the Jets once Pro-Bowl nose tackle Kris Jenkins tore his ACL? Even if a trade would have only netted them one or two late round draft picks it would have been better than giving him an outright release after the season for nothing. It’s not like Mangini was playing him and when he did play he was nonexistent. I think the Browns dropped the ball there. Regardless, the Browns can move forward and bring in players that actually want to be here.
As for the other players the Browns didn’t lose much except for age and experience. None of the defensive players were what you could consider to be impact players. The Browns are shifting to a 4-3 defense with four down linemen and three linebackers and that is not a scheme these players are used to playing. Robert Royal had hands of stone. Why he was on this team in 2010 is still a head scratcher. John St. Clair… ya, I think a Browns quarterback just got sacked again. Glad to see him finally go.
Are these moves that dramatically improve the Browns overnight? Not exactly. It gets them younger and signifies a drastic shift in philosophy. No more castoffs and high character guys. The Browns look like they are headed in a direction that will focus more on youth, speed, and talent. Quite frankly, it’s a move that had to happen.
Now Let’s just hope there’s football next year…