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New Article on Three Teams Climbing Out of the Basement


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Movin' on Up: Three NFL Teams Looking to Move Out of the Basement


When a team starts consistently losing year after year, things get pretty rough—especially if it‘s the team you root for.


Your patience as a fan is tested, and negativity surrounds every waking moment while you’re left wondering "what could have been" in previous drafts. Sometimes the head coach is on the hot seat; often times young players aren’t developing; or occasionally the team is mired in a quarterback controversy.


Most of us have been there, few of us haven’t, and some of us are currently there as we speak.


If you’re still an avid fan of either of the teams about to be mentioned, then you fall into the “diehard fan” category. You’ve stood by your team this long, haven‘t you? Just stand by them a little bit longer, because greener pastures are on the horizon.



After reading the whole thing, what do you guys think? Honest criticism accepted...



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Good article well written..


Its going to be a rough crawl up those stairs with ratbirds divebombing and bengals stalking the way not to mention the steroidal squeelers blocking the top of the stairway...;)



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On offense, Cleveland now features a legitimate starting quarterback. Jake Delhomme isn’t expected to be the savior, but he’s going to bridge the gap nicely for rookie Colt McCoy.


With another consistent veteran in backup Seneca Wallace, the Browns quarterback situation has gone through a total transformation.


For the past few seasons, the Browns have quietly built a potentially dominant offensive line. With Joe Thomas anchoring the LT spot, Delhomme will have the peace of mind that his blindside is being protected at all times.


Second-year center Alex Mack looks to improve upon his impressive 2009 season, while rookie Shawn Lauvao appears to have the ability to start immediately at right guard. At the end of last season, the offensive line was opening holes big enough to drive a semi-truck through.


Finishing eighth last year in rushing apparently wasn’t good enough as the running back position received an upgrade with the trade for Peyton Hillis, and second-round draft selection of Montario Hardesty.


Even though he might lose a few carries, 2009’s three-game superstar Jerome Harrison still looks to be the feature back in Cleveland’s crowded backfield.


With FB Lawrence Vickers’ ability to block like a madman, Cleveland’s running game has the chance to flourish this year.


Second-year WR’s Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie are still learning the ropes. Bobby Engram was signed for leadership and sixth-round pick Carlton Mitchell has plenty of upside with his blazing fast speed.


Although, until the young guns prove they can be relied upon, this will continue to be a weakness for the Browns.


Cleveland Browns: Defense



Much like Detroit’s defensive line overhaul, Cleveland did something similar with their defensive backs.


The Browns took a proactive approach to dealing with their secondary woes by trading with Philadelphia to acquire longtime Eagles CB Sheldon Brown. Then, they drafted CB Joe Haden and S T.J. Ward in the first and second rounds respectively.


All these new players to go along with holdovers Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald, and Abram Elam could form a very imposing defensive backfield, very soon.


At linebacker, Scott Fujita was signed fresh off a Super Bowl victory, while Chris Gocong was also reeled in with the trade for Sheldon Brown. Kamerion Wimbley was shipped to Oakland and buried treasure was found on the waiver wire last year with Matt Roth.


Arriving to the Browns at midseason, Roth’s tenacity at OLB helped make a dramatic improvement in both the run defense and pass rushing departments. Now with almost a full year under his belt in Rob Ryan‘s defense, expect Roth to flirt with double-digit sacks.


With second-year linebackers Kaluka Maiava and Marcus Benard getting significant playing time in training camp, there’s also something to be hopeful for in the coming years.


Along the defensive line, Cleveland no doubt welcomes the eventual return of NT Shaun Rogers who is still a force to be reckoned with. Last year’s surprise player Ahtyba Rubin also looks to continue his improvement at nose tackle.


Pretty soon, the Browns will need to instill some youth at DE, but for right now the D-Line can get the job done.


Cleveland Browns: Player That Needs to Step Up



Entering his fourth season, cornerback Eric Wright has always impressed with his coverage abilities, but that didn’t stop Cleveland from acquiring some competition.


Word has it that against three-receiver sets, Wright has been moving inside to nickleback to play against slot receivers. This can also aid in keeping things simple for rookie Joe Haden—especially early on.


If Wright can successfully make this subtle transition, things can get a lot better for Cleveland’s poor third-down defense.


Cleveland Browns: 2010 Outlook


Starting last season 1-11, then finishing with a four-game winning streak is a likely sign that Mangini’s team-concept mentality was beginning to take shape.


With a slew of draft picks ready to contribute right away and getting a lot of roster work done in the offseason by adding experienced leadership at QB, LB, CB, and TE, Cleveland has done more than enough to make a three-game improvement from last season.


I know it’s been a while, Pittsburgh…but welcome to the bottom once again.


2010 record: 8-8

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