PFW Browns correspondent Tony Grossi, the Browns' beat writer for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, recently answered five questions about the club entering the season opener vs. Cleveland.
1. How has Colt McCoy improved the most from Year One to Year Two?
Grossi: As a rookie last year he was told he wouldn't play, so it was hard for him to get the reps and prepare as if he would play. Then he got thrown in and it was a crash course. This year, he's been preparing to be the starter since last season ended. He became a leader in the offseason by organizing workouts during the lockout. He visited Brett Favre to get a refresher on the West Coast offense. He worked hard to learn the offense and he's totally in charge as the season starts.
2. What are your initial impressions of how Pat Shurmur has handled the transition from coordinator to head coach?
Grossi: I've been impressed with how calm he was as the lockout placed obstacles that no first-time head coach ever had to deal with. He and his staff installed a new offense and defense in basically two weeks. In the preseason games, he was aggressive as a play-caller, particularly in the red zone. A very impressive beginning for him.
3. Who's the Browns defender most likely to have a breakout season?
Grossi: They have candidates on the line, rookie Phil Taylor; at linebacker, D'Qwell Jackson; and in the secondary, cornerback Joe Haden. I've got a feeling that Haden will break out and be recognized as a Pro Bowl cornerback against some stiff competition in the AFC.
4. Similarly, who's a Cleveland offensive player ready to have a career-best campaign?
Grossi: No doubt you have to put Colt McCoy at the top of this list. Now in an offensive system that suits him perfectly, he will break out as one of the really good young quarterbacks. Also, you have to mention tight end Evan Moore. He was outstanding in preseason and should put up some Dallas Clark-type numbers.
5. What's the Browns' biggest weakness entering the season?
Grossi: The easy answer is roster depth. A few selective injuries could devastate them. Their pass rush is unproven. Their receivers are unheralded and have to prove themselves.
Tony Grossi's work can be found in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer (Cleveland.com/browns). He can be followed on Twitter.com@TonyGrossi.