This article is part of our Team Previews series.
By Dustin Anaas
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
When Mike Holmgren was hired in December of 2009 as the team's President, it became fairly evident that changes were coming in Cleveland. Following consecutive 5-11 seasons, Holmgren gave coach Eric Mangini the boot following the 2010 season, thus starting yet another new era in Cleveland. He hired former Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as his new head coach and all things considered, there are reasons for the Browns' faithful to be hopeful.
Last season, the Browns overhauled their quarterbacking corps by bringing in Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace to help groom third-round draft pick Colt McCoy with the idea that McCoy would be able to take a season to learn from the sidelines. After injuries and inconsistent play at the position, McCoy was given the starting nod in Week 5 and showed signs of potential, specifically in Weeks 7 and 9, when he picked up back-to-back wins over the Saints and Patriots.
Still, the team relied on a heavy dose of the running game, behind the surprising Peyton Hillis. He showed a combination of downhill running with the ability to catch passes out of the backfield and finished the season with over 1,600 yards from scrimmage and 13 total TDs. The Browns never got consistent play from any of their wideouts, which meant that tight end Ben Watson wound up being the team's leading receiver almost by default. The Browns finished the season with the fourth-lowest total YPG in