Bucking the youthful trend, veteran quarterback Jake Delhomme makes his Browns debut against a team he saw frequently during his stint in Carolina. Delhomme is 9-2 as starter against the Bucs and has completed 181-of-297 passes for 2,228 passing yards versus Tampa. The former Super Bowl participant is 108 passing yards shy of 20,000 for his career. In the backfield, running back Jerome Harrison averaged 111.1 yards per game in seven starts and can continue a stretch that saw him finish with three straight triple-digit games in 2009 and five touchdowns. On the outside, wide receiver/kick returner Joshua Cribbs posted 2,510 combined yards last season – fifth-best in NFL history – and became the first player to reach 1,000 return yards in his first five seasons. Fellow big-play wideout Mohamed Massaquoi averaged 18.4 yards per catch as rookie, hauling in 34 passes for 624 yards. Lastly, another veteran, ex- Patriots tight end Ben Watson, makes his Cleveland debut.
Morris and Co. have quite a task in resurrecting the Bucs defense to its Super Bowl level of not so long ago. Tampa Bay was a minus-5 in turnover ratio last season and allowed an average of 365.6 total yards per game. The Bucs surrendered 30 or more points five times in their 13 losses, but, on a positive note, not one time after a 38-7 loss to New Orleans on Nov. 22. The aforementioned McCoy makes his NFL regular season debut on the front line, where he’s expected to solidify a run-stopping unit that was 32nd in the league in 2009. End Stylez G. White was the team leader with 6.5 sacks, while linebackers Barrett Ruud and Geno Hayes return after recording career-bests of 143 and 98 tackles, respectively. Ruud has led the team in tackles for three straight seasons. In the backfield, ageless cornerback Ronde Barber is one of just two players in league history with 25 or more sacks and 30 or more interceptions. He started all 16 games for the 10th straight season in 2009 and has scored 13 career touchdowns. The Bucs will be without corner Aqib Talib, who is serving a one-game suspension for a violation of the NFL personal conduct policy.