Will Josh McDaniels stop Burrising himself long enough to put a team together?

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NOTE: Burrising is defined here as shooting yourself in the foot (or leg).

Young Josh has had an interesting if not productive off season. The first thing he did was tick off his young all pro QB Jay Cutler so badly that the owner had separate them like a couple of 4 year olds fighting over a toy. Then, McDaniels irritated the only other offensive weapon—the Ocho-Cinco like star WR Brandon Marshall by not even talking to his agent about a new contract. Nice move.

Ex Bear QB Kyle Orton is the starter and is sufficient for the Pat style O that McD wants to run. But McDaniels will find that his offense doesn’t work quite as well without 1 super star QB with a rocket arm, 2 super star WR, and some solid RBs. The backup is Chris Simms who seems to be 100% from his physical problems is a serviceable NFL QB.

The WR situation is up in the air. His only WR with star potential is Marshall. The first time the underpaid WR was touched on the practice field, he limped off claiming his leg/hip was hurt. I’m sure that Marshall would be all better with a new contract. Eddie Royal is the other receiver. He has good not great speed. He will be the underneath receiver but does not run patterns as precisely as he needs to. Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Stokley have experience but are journeymen at best. Chad Jackson has the physical tools but has yet to figure out how to get the most out of them. The TEs will be a help to Orton. Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler will play together a lot. Graham is known as a blocker but is underrated as a receiving threat. Scheffler is primarily a receiver.

The starting running game in 08 was anyone that was healthy. In 09, McD hopes to find a combination that works from Correll Buckhalter, Peyton Hillis, LaMont Jordan, rookie Knowshon Moreno. Buckhalter is very versatile and can play RB or FB. Hillis is a FB that can also proved he p0lay some RB and catch the ball. The smart money is Moreno. He has a ton of talent but has to learn to pick up the blitz.

The line is the only aspect of the O that even resembles the Pats. LT Ryan Clady was outstanding and RT Ryan Harris isn’t far below that level. The light seemed to come on for C Casey Wiegmann in 08. He needs to keep focused on fundamentals. The guards Ben Hamilton and Chris Kuper are fine. The depth is not anywhere close to good enough if injuries force a starter out of the lineup.

The D was horrible last year. This season looks to be even worse. The dumbest thing you can do with a bad 4-3 D is to try to force them into a 3-4 but that is exactly what McD plans to do. If it’s good enough for the Pats…you get the idea. The team doesn’t have enough talent for a 4-3 or 3-4.

I would try to explain how Josh thinks that he can take the group he has and turn them into a 3-4 but I have no idea. Just to name a few problems the team does not have a 3-4 type NT. Ronald Fields is projected to start at NT only because he is the heaviest. He has not started a game in his 2 years in the league. That would put the most productive DT Marcus Thomas on the bench. Thomas is a 1 gap style player that does not translate at all to the NT in the 3-4. The teams sole front 7 pro bowler is former DE Elvis Dumervil. He is projected to go to the bench because he is not big enough to play DE in the 3-4 but has no experience at dropping into coverage like an OB.

The D backfield has talent but old. It had a bad 08 in part due to the lack of pressure on QBs. Former pro bowl CB Champ Bailey has to stay healthy. He does get some help from FA S Brian Dawkins. Dawkins should shore up what had been a chaotic mess at S. S Renaldo Hill should be better this year with a consistent running mate. CB Andre Goodman got a nice contract but has yet to prove he is worth it.

OVERALL: This is a bad team that got worse due to the stupidity of both the owner and the rookie head coach. The book makers in Vegas have set the win line at 7.5. Take the under and make some money. As a Browns fan, I will enjoy watching them suffering through a bad season.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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