BEREA, Ohio -- A look at some of the key changes on the Browns.
Dennis Kucinich wins the presidential election. A 99-cent burger scores a taste-test beatdown on a $39 T-bone. Bottled Nimishillen Creek water outsells Perrier.
None of that will happen. But how about this: The Browns go from 14-34 the past three years to something fans can swallow.
For the Browns to reach .500 in 2007, big changes must unfold on offense, starting with the training camp that opens today with the first full-squad workout.
New faces are all over the place. Here’s a look at some of the key changes and whether different is likely to be better.
Jamal Lewis (1,132 rushing yards, 3.6 per carry, nine TDs in 2006) replaces Reuben Droughns (758, 3.4, four) as the No. 1 back. Jerome Harrison shows up after a rookie year as the invisible man (1.8 rushing/receiving touches per game).
Yes. Lewis, who will turn 28 next month, is young and seems energized after ankle surgery to correct problems that hurt his burst and cutting ability. Lewis has rushed for 7,801 yards in six seasons. Browns Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly retired at 31 with 7,274 yards. That says something.
Joe Jurevicius, who seems a foot taller than Dennis Northcutt, replaces the latter as the No. 2 wideout behind Braylon Edwards.
Yes. Jurevicius is more suited to be a No. 3 receiver, but whatever was left of Northcutt’s magic was gone in 2006. In the Browns’ four wins, he totaled three catches for 16 yards. Jurevicius caught six balls for 75 yards in a December upset of the Chiefs.
It won’t be a change if Charlie Frye (13 starts in 2006) is back on the job. But there’s a good chance that Frye could be replaced by Derek Anderson. If Brady Quinn signs soon and the team likes the look of the offseason line, the rookie could be the man.
Designated No. 1 quarterbacks the past five years have been Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer and Frye. Anyone’s sixth sense says they can’t keep doing this.
Yes. Frye and Anderson will benefit from their starts last year. It’ll be a stunner if they don’t have much better blocking. Lewis also should take heat off them in a way Droughns couldn’t.
Don’t assume Anderson has barged ahead of Frye. In Frye’s last two quarters before getting hurt, he was 11-of-13 for 122 yards against the Chiefs. He seemed finally to get the hang of Jurevicius, throwing him four balls for 53 yards.
Anderson is tall with a big arm. He shouldn’t be dismissed just because he was a No. 213 pick. He won’t be by a coach, Romeo Crennel, who had a front-row seat while former No. 199 overall pick Tom Brady was growing up.
Quinn must handle tons of pressure to make a difference early. This includes peripheral heat, such as fans honked off over what it cost to get the kid’s autograph at a mall. In some ways, Quinn will have as much on his plate as Couch.
Left guard Joe Andruzzi, who was wearing out and now is battling cancer, gives way to $49.5 million free agent Eric Steinbach. At right guard, one of five candidates will replace departed Cosey Coleman. There’s a chance No. 3 pick Joe Thomas won’t start early — it’s equal to the chance the Browns will re-sign Ross Verba.
Yes. Steinbach is a throwback to the lost era during which the Browns always had elite guard play. Thomas ends worries that last year’s left tackle, Kevin Shaffer, was overpaid. At the least, these two should effect meaty improvement. New line coach Steve Marshall is an unknown factor. He needs to have been a good hire, capable of developing Isaac Sowells, Seth McKinney and Kelly Butler, and managing Hank Fraley, Ryan Tucker and Shaffer.
Marshall, 51, was out of coaching in 2006 after spending four rocky years with the Texans. A former college guard at Louisville, he did college coaching time at Marshall, Louisville, Murray State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, UCLA, Texas A&M, North Carolina and Colorado.
This traveling man needs to settle down a chronic source of instability.
Rob Chudzinski, tight ends coach with a 14-2 San Diego team, replaces Jeff Davidson, who replaced Mo Carthon.
Yes, but ... Davidson didn’t have a chance after replacing ineffective Mo Carthon, whose approval ratings were barely above Hurricane Katrina’s. Losing Davidson cost Crennel an ally and confidant. Carolina apparently thinks Davidson knows what he’s doing, having hired him as coordinator.
Chudzinski seems bright, confident and innovative. It remains to be seen whether his attack-style system will work as it did when he coordinated talent most opponents couldn’t touch at the University of Miami.
Chudzinski coached Kellen Winslow Jr. in college. That’ll help if Winslow is healthy and Chudzinski convinces other players he won’t play favorites.
Chudzinski needs to generate momentum early, starting with the preseason opener two weeks from Saturday.
Canton (Ohio) Repository
Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or email@example.com.