Thursday, December 27, 2007

Magnificent 7: Best Browns in 2007
1. Josh Cribbs- Leads the league in kickoff returns, but has become a complete game-changer since he worked on his punt returns. For all the credit the Browns' offense gets, we can't forget that they have good field position much of the time.

2. Joe Thomas - This will end up being one of the best drafts in Browns history. It has netted Thomas, who along with No. 3 (on this list), is the biggest reason the Browns offense has improved so much. As for the draft itself, it brought the Browns Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald. If you watched the Bengals game, you saw Wright close to receivers, with his back to them, playing the ball. McDonald will be one of the steals of the draft. But Thomas could realistically get the rookie of the year. He is that good.

3. Eric Steinbach- Perhaps the best free agent signing by any team this season. Steinbach has teamed with Thomas (and Ryan Tucker and Hank Fraley)to create one of the best lines in the game. Without that, all the other things would not have happened.

4. Braylon Edwards- This is easy, and I'm sure some will think I'm putting him too far down. But I'm a line guy, so sue me. Edwards has been what the Browns hoped they were getting when they drafted him No. 3 in 2005. More than that, he has become a model citizen off the field, doing and saying all the right things. He has 15 touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards receiving. It's one of the best receiving seasons in Browns history, and think of the ground that covers.

5. Kellen Winslow- Game's on the line and each time, Derek Anderson looks to Winslow, because he's a big-game man. I saw four years of Ozzie Newsome, and Winslow is better than him in everything but blocking, which is a big thing. But it's excusable because of how great Winslow is at everything else.

6. Jamal Lewis- He's not done. If the Browns do make the playoffs, his second-half surge will be the biggest reason why. He has more than 1,100 yards rushing this season, and is wearing down defenses. I don't want to see the Browns backfield in 2008 without No. 31 plowing through holes.

7. Derek Anderson- I'm not sold on him as a long-term solution. I would be if the team didn't have Brady Quinn in the wings. But Anderson has had a really good year, better than anyone had any right to expect. He will have kept Quinn on the sidelines all year, and could net the team a first and third round draft pick. He's thrown so many TD passes and has thrown for so many yards, it'd be easy to forgive his performance against Cincinnati as just a bad game. But fans won't forgive it, at least if the Browns miss the playoffs. If we keep perspective, we should be grateful for such a fun season. But football fans just don't have perspective, me included.



At 7:18 PM , Anonymous Erik said...

No one has more riding on Sunday night's Titans-Colts game than Derek Anderson.

If the Browns get into the playoffs, the fans and media will look at Anderson's entire '07 body of work when judging him. Anderson will go in the books as the QB who led the Browns out of the abyss.

If the Browns miss the playoffs, everyone will look at Anderson's rotten egg against Cincinnati when judging him, and he will go in the books as the QB who sabotaged the Browns' playoff chances.

It's not fair in a lot of ways, but that's the fork in the road Anderson is facing, and which path he takes is no longer in his control.


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