In 2007, the Cleveland Browns took the NFL by storm and compiled a 10-6 record. In typical Cleveland fan fashion for luck, the Browns failed to make the playoffs. It was a true testament of how strong the AFC North division was and still is. The brown-and-orange team of this year is pretty intriguing, but could they put up the same or better results to the 2007 team?
Despite new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam under serious federal investigation, there is still a ton to be excited about as the Browns are just over two and a half months till training camp opens. There are some eerie similarities between the two teams, here is a position-to-position comparison on offense.
At quarterback for now, the Browns enter 2013 with second year man, Brandon Weeden as the signal caller. Five years ago, it was the rocket armed, Derek Anderson holding the reins. Anderson was a tall quarterback with a powerful arm that threw for over 3,700 yards and 29 touchdowns. In Pat Shurmur‘s inept offense, Weeden threw for over 3,300 yards and 14 touchdowns. With some a very similar physique, throwing style, and pocket presence, this is a make or break year for Weeden and we should all expect dramatic improvement.
In 2007, Cleveland brought aboard a veteran running back named Jamal Lewis to be their cow bell. After being let go by the enemy Baltimore Ravens, Lewis amassed over 1,300 yards rushing and scored nine rushing touchdowns. With his bruising style of running and elusive cuts, sophomore Trent Richardson could easily put up the same type of numbers that Lewis did if he can stay healthy. In 15 games last season, Richardson just missed the 1,000 yard mark and scored 12 total touchdowns.With his 51 receptions, TRich also has much better hands out of the backfield than Lewis.
The receivers and tight ends of 2007 were Kellen Winslow, Jr., Braylon Edwards, Joe Jurevicius, Steve Heiden, Tim Carter, Josh Cribbs, and Darnell Dinkins. For 2013, Cleveland takes the field with Josh Gordon, Greg Little, Davone Bess, David Nelson, Jordan Cameron, Kellen Davis, and Travis Benjamin. Together, Winslow, Edwards, and Jurevicious caught 212 passes and scored 24 touchdowns. Can Gordon, Bess or Little, and Cameron match or beat that? In Norv Turner’s high-flying vertical attack, that’s a very good possibility. Bess is the Jurevicius of this year and Cameron is just ready to break out if utilized correctly.
With a beast of an offensive line in 2013, the Browns have a much better line than that of 2007. Remember, Joe Thomas’ rookie year was 2007, he has only gotten better since. The 2007 Browns also did not have Pro Bowl center Alex Mack or a promising young right tackle named Mitchell Schwartz. The 2013 o-line is quite possibly the best in the NFL.
Last but not least, in 2007 under offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, the Browns held the number eight ranking in points scored in the NFL. This is the same Chudzinski that took a horrendous Carolina Panthers offense and also turned them in to a top ten ranking. This is also the same “Chud” that is now ecstatic to coach his hometown Browns.
From a personnel stand point, both players and coaches, the 2013 Cleveland offense could be just as good as the 2007, tied for first place of the North division Browns. The days of handing off the ball to a veteran tight end playing fullback who has never taken a handoff in his career, are over. Browns fans need to keep their head held up high and realize there is a lot to be excited about.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber. You can follow him on Twitter @ryanpruiz24 and on Facebook.