I didn't mind some of their draft picks actually. I will even go so far as to charitably call their decision to grab biscuit-peddlin' QB Jake Delhome merely "curious". But don't worry, they still can't get out of their own way. From Joe Reedy's divisional series on the Browns:
Position battle to watch:
Feature running back, Jerome Harrison vs. second-round pick Montario Hardesty: Despite smashing two franchise records, posting the third-highest rushing game in NFL history and totaling 561 yards in his last three games of 2009, the slightly built Harrison probably begins camp as the No. 2 back behind the impressive, if injury-prone, University of Tennessee rusher.
I just had to laugh when I read this. I figured the Browns penciled in Harrison immediately after his outstanding season ending string of performances (which, as we shall see, should have surprised no one). Nope. From Football Outsiders:
Browns unsigned restricted free agent Jerome Harrison only skipped a few OTAs this offseason, but he may have lost his spot on the depth chart in the process.
Rookie running back Montario Hardesty ran with the first team offense at Browns practices when the media were allowed to watch Thursday. Harrison, who rushed for 561 yards in the final three games last season, is seeking a new contract.
I don't know the details all that well, maybe Jerome is asking for way too much. But at this point his production on the field should be undeniable. Well to everyone except Cleveland I guess. From Football Outsiders last year:
How can an anonymous halfback run for 286 yards and three touchdowns? The idea just doesn't apply to other single-game records in sports. No spot starter strikes out 18 guys in a game. Reserve shooting guards don't go off for 83 points.
The answer is that Jerome Harrison simply shouldn't be an anonymous halfback. The fact that he was one until Sunday owes much more to the myopia that envelops football organizations than the weaknesses in his game.
And a little more:
The easy knock on a player like Harrison is that he's too small (5-foot-9, 205 pounds) to carry the full-time workload for an NFL team, and that teams need a back like Lewis to carry the heavy load while Harrison serves as a change of pace. That logic doesn't hold up to the light of day; fellow 5-foot-9 backs include Warrick Dunn (180 pounds), Frank Gore (215), Priest Holmes (213), Steve Slaton (197), and yes, even Emmitt Smith (210).
It's not strictly a running back thing, either -- both the league's top quarterback (Drew Brees) and most active wideout (Wes Welker) are far smaller than the prototypical player at their position. Bad organizations, like the Browns, find what's wrong with their players and use that as a reason to avoid giving them an opportunity.
I suggest reading the whole piece here.
Maybe the Browns will cease being terrible under Holmgren, but moves like this make the Bengals fan in me a) pleased to know for now at least we still have a doormat in the division and b) perplexed that a franchise in our own division can be run worse than one owned by Mike Brown.
Anyway, if the Browns don't want to give Harrison a contract, I'll take some Benson insurance in the event we cannot agree to terms with him after this year.