These are my predictions for the 2011 Cleveland Browns and beyond. Writing this down as proof.
Colt McCoy will be an elite quarterback in the NFL.
These kinds of plays are the reason. Third down, under pressure, Colt always makes a play. He may not always get the 1st, but he at least gives the team a chance. Even more importantly, he doesn’t make a throw if there is no throw to make. No other Cleveland Brown quarterback has done this on a consistent basis in the new browns era.
While third down is the proving ground of NFL quarterbacks, the fourth quarter is where elite quarterbacks show what they are worth. In only his fourth game, Colt led the Browns down the field against the Jets to tie the game and send it into overtime. He even made the pass to win the game in overtime, Chansi Stucki just fumbled the ball.
Finally, he is just a natural born leader. It’s the first time in the history of the expansion era Browns have a QB who has had that command over the team like a Rothlesberger or a Flacco. The way players talk about him, the way the coaches talk about him, and most importantly his actions, are unlike any QB we’ve had in the past 12 years. Not since Kosar have we had that kind of player leading the team.
Colt isn’t just our long-term starter, he will be a star in the NFL.
Colt McCoy will struggle in 2011.
I’m not backtracking here, but just because he will be great, doesn’t mean he will be this season. As great as his play in the steelers/pats/saints/jets games were, he was pretty bad in the last two games of the seasons (1 TD, 6 INTs). He’s learning a new(ish, ran it at Texas) system, has a new HC, and it’s his first season as a full blown starter. He’s going to have 3-4 pretty fucking terrible games, but he’ll also have 3-4 amazing games.
The 2011 Cleveland Browns have a 50/50 chance to make the NFL Playoffs and will be the surprise team of the year.
Why 50/50? Because everything comes down to one game: Week 13 versus the Ravens in Cleveland.
Here’s the first 11 games of our schedule (Predicted Wins in bold, predicted Losses in Italics)
Ouch. We’ll probably beat the cardinals. That puts us at 8-4. Now, it will require 10 wins to make the NFL Playoffs. If we go 2-2 against the Ravens/Steelers we’re in. Normally that’s a tough call. This is why week 13 is so important.
Last season I predicted that if we were 4-5 by week 9 we would have a 50/50 chance to make the playoffs, but if we were 3-6 we were out. We were 3-6, because of fumble in overtime by chansi stucki in field goal range (Thus the life of a Cleveland Sports fan). After that we were fucking terrible. The week after the Jets game we lost with a +4 turnover differential. In football stats, if you are -4 in turnover differential, it is statistically impossible for you to win. The Jags still won. (Thus is the life of a Cleveland Sports fan). So much in the NFL is about momentum. The reason we almost (read: should have) beat the Jets was that we beat the Patriots and the Saints the prior two weeks. The reason we lost to the Jags in a statistically impossible scenario, was because we lost to the Jets.
Therefore, if we beat the Ravens in week 13, we will win one out of the next three games between the Browns and the Ravens/Steelers.
So why 50/50? Because we shouldn’t beat the ravens, but we’re at home, we’ll have momentum going into the game (like the Jets game) and well, because any given sunday…
Also because there’s a good chance that we’ll be better than 7-4 going into week 13 anyways. God our schedule is easy.
The 2011 Cleveland Browns will be ranked in the top 10 in Pass Defense.
This really isn’t a big shocker. Haden was nominated for Rookie of the Year and Ward is a great SS. Just from the improvement from those two players (and having them play a full year) we’ll jump from 18 to 10. If we sign a good FS? Look out.
The Browns won’t be completely fucking terrible against the run.
Rubin, Taylor, Fujita, Jackson, Ward. Two huge motherfuckers in the middle, one of the best tackling linebackers in the league (Jackson, who is now healthy, lead the league in tackles in 2008 as an OLB. He will be playing MLB in 2011), a superbowl winning defensive leader (Fujita, 2009 Saints), and arguably the best young SS in the league (who will actually get to play SS in 2011, he played mostly FS in 2010).
Our Defense will win us games through turnovers.
We were 8th in the league in interceptions last year. Joe Haden was tied for 5th in the league in interceptions, while only starting 6 games at CB (started first 10 as nickel back).
Greg Little will be nominated for Rookie of the Year
Will he be deserving? Maybe. He’ll mostly get there because of his situation. He knows the WCO, and is the prototypical WCO receiver. Big, runs routes well, physical, willing to run across the middle, and can break tackles. He’ll be the #1 in Cleveland in no-time. As much as I love Mo Mass he’s not that great after the catch, he isn’t nearly as physical, and he doesn’t know the WCO.
The Browns will have four pro-bowlers in 2011.
Haden, Thomas, Jackson, Cribbs. All deserving.
Heckert is the fucking man.
2010: Ward, Haden, Colt
2011: The Atlanta trade, Taylor, Sheard, Little, Cameron + great prospects (Skrine is a FAST motherfucker, he can run a 4.2!)
Saving this for now. I’ll update right before the season starts.