With the release of the “Shaun Rogers Six” the Cleveland Browns made two emphatic statements that should excite Browns fans everywhere.
The first and most recognizable statement the Browns made with the release of Rogers, Coleman, Bowens, Barton St. Clair and Robert Royal was that the organization is committed to getting younger. This is imperative on the defensive side of the ball where the plan is to move from a 3-4 defense back to the 4-3 that was a mainstay here on the shores of Lake Erie back in the 80’s.
With the development of Athyba Rubin, the success of Joe Haden and T.J. Ward, and the draft around the corner, there is no better time to start fresh. Plus, the lack of experience can easily be made up for in speed, motivation and hunger. These are cornerstones for any team that has thoughts of growing a unit from the ground up. But, although the draft offers some great possibilities for replacing these key players, it isn’t the only option.
The second statement the Browns made by releasing these guys was that this organization is going to be a key player in free agency this year. With money to attack key positions like CB, DE and LB Tom Heckert has a great opportunity to bring in guys who can help us compete immediately. As we all know, most NFL players during some time in their career played in a 4-3 defense, so finding suitable players or players needed to make this transition won’t be too difficult. The team just needs to sell themselves and their vision to prospective free agents.
By getting younger through the draft and signing key free agents, Dick Jauron won’t have to worry about anything but coaching the players and teaching them his system. His best bet would be to spend a great deal of time building chemistry and a unique “Dog” style identity. It would even be helpful if he and the players spent time in the film room watching the old Browns, capturing the essence of the Dixon / Minnifield persona.
Once the 2011 season rolls around, the defense could easily be the Browns strong point. We all hope the West Coast offense takes off, but it is far more likely that 11 young guys running around hitting people and believing in each as a defensive unit would be the rock this group was built upon.
We now just have to watch it unfold. With a lockout looming and deadlines for deals around the corner, we don’t know what this offseason holds. But, if these moves mean anything, the Browns will have some key new faces and many of them will be young ones. Woof! Woof!