May 25, 2011

Browns 2011: What to Expect

With no news in the NFL, aside for the lockout situation, which I find incredibly boring, we here at ClevelandsRocks have decided to make up our own pieces instead of our usual commentary on Browns news. In the next few days, I'll be going over a handful of under-the-radar players and what to expect from them in 2011. Today, Montario Hardesty.

Montario Hardesty, RB

Hardesty's 2010 campaign is well noted throughout Cleveland. After injury history in college, GM Tom Heckert traded up in the the draft to select the Tennessee Volunteer. After a promising few preseason games, Hardesty
went down in a heap against the Bears in the final preseason game with a torn ACL. With a new system in place in 2011 and an entire year to rehab, Hardesty is cautiously being considered a player who can help this Browns offense.

While he isn't on the same physical level as Peyton Hillis, Hardesty has a reputation as a physical runner. In the West Coast Offense, he can also provide a pass catching capability out of the backfield, much in the same way that Hillis does. Going into 2010, most people thought running back would be a strength of the Browns. However, after Hardesty goes down and Jerome Harrison underachieves and is ultimately traded, running back became one of the thinnest positions on the roster. Hardesty is being counted on to make sure this isn't the case in 2011. We all saw Hillis wear down by the end of the season carrying the load by himself. Hardesty should bring a much needed spell throughout 2011 for Hillis. Also, with a young quarterback in Colt McCoy, Hardesty's pass catching ability out of the backfield will give him one more safety valve, something he didn't have last season with Mike Bell coming out of the backfield.

An overly optimistic projection, barring injury in 2011:

400+ yards
3 touchdowns
15-20 receptions
125 recieving yards

Role: An invaluable role player and effective sub for stud running back Peyton Hillis. AKA the opposite of Mike Bell.

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