Posted Mar. 14 at 07:14 AM
Some additional thoughts on the Browns:
I don’t think Donte Stallworth will make a big impact. He got beat out by Jabar Gaffney last year, and Stallworth has caught only 1 pass in the red zone in each of the last two years. I just don’t think he’s very good in those kind of situations. Inside the 10 last year, Stallworth caught only 1 of 5 pass attempts, and that was with Tom Brady at quarterback.
I’m nervous about Jamal Lewis. He had the big year last season, but I’ve got a feeling things could head south for him. He was playing for a contract last year; now he’s signed a new deal with $10 million guaranteed. And he’s an older guy (29 on opening day) who’s had a lot of ankle problems – as well as blowing out both knees. He’s not a super back; he scored on only 7 of his league-high 16 carries inside the 2-yard line last season, which is a below-average conversion rate. Running behind that good offensive line, he should be solid, but I’m just a little leery of him. I’m just getting started on taking an in-depth look at each team, so it’s too early to say where he’ll land on my board – probably between 8th and 16th among running backs.
Kellen Winslow has caught plenty of passes (171) the last two years but not many touchdowns. In 2006, he caught only 3 of the team’s 15 TD passes. Last year, he caught only 5 of 29. Hmm.
Phil Dawson is an underrated kicker. No. 3 all-time in field goal accuracy, and he’s hit 7 of 9 attempts from 50-plus yards in his career. He’s good, and with a solid cast in place around him, I believe Dawson will be a top-10 kicker this year.
Dawson also, by the way, came up with the two most memorable kicks of the 2007 season. He had the in-and-out 51-yard field goal (bouncing off the stanchion) to get the Browns to overtime at Baltimore. And he hit a 49-yard field goal against the Bills last year in a blizzard – a ton of snow on the ground (and in the air) and 32-mph winds. I was shocked they even had him attempt it.
The blizzard kick might be the most impressive I’ve ever seen. Off hand, I can think of only three other contenders. (If I’m missing one, let me know – maybe we’ll stick them up as a poll question this weekend).
Adam Vinatieri: 35-yarder out of snow drift against the Raiders in 2001, to help the Patriots on their way to their first Super Bowl. It was 14 yards shorter than Dawson’s and there was no wind to deal with, but the stakes were a lot higher.
Tom Dempsey: 62-yarder (by today’s stat standards) with half of a kicking foot to beat the Lions at the gun.
Lawrence Tynes: 47-yarder at Green Bay in minus-24 degrees including wind chill. Tynes’ kick was a lot more important – it sent the Giants to the Super Bowl – but he didn’t have to face the same kind of wind and snow, and he also missed two shorter game winners at the end of regulation.
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