Much will depend on the health of Freeman, the lanky Kansas State alum who started nine games and won two of his last three to close out 2009. He completed 158-of-290 throws for 1,855 yards and 10 touchdowns in year No. 1, but also threw 18 interceptions and racked up an unseemly 59.8 QB rating. He will be buoyed with a few more options this season, including rookie wideouts Arrelious Benn (Illinois) and Mike Williams (Syracuse), who’ve warranted rave reviews during training camp. Among the holdovers are former Browns draft pick Kellen Winslow, who caught 82 passes for 1,106 yards for Cleveland on the way to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and had a Tampa Bay tight end record 77 catches and 884 yards last season. Wideout Maurice Stovall had a pair of catches for 45 yards in his lone career meeting with the Browns, but is a question mark due to an ankle issue. On the ground, running back Cadillac Williams is back after a team-high 823 yards and four TDs in 2009.
The defensive backfield for Cleveland features the most changes, including the arrival of rookie cornerback Haden from a successful collegiate stint with the Gators and the signing of cornerback Sheldon Brown, who had a career-best five interceptions last season with Philadelphia. Holdover corner Eric Wright had a career year last season as well with four interceptions. Up front, the Browns were molded to Mangini’s hard-edged, pressure-the-offense mentality, recording 40 sacks. Linebacker Scott Fujita was a spotlight offseason acquisition after winning a Super Bowl with the Saints last season. He had 58 tackles and one sack with New Orleans. Also on the linebacker corps are Chris Gocong (44 tackles, one sack) and Matt Roth (32 tackles). Up front, Cleveland features a personnel grab-bag with Shaun Rogers (36 tackles, 2 sacks), Kenyon Coleman (38 tackles, 1.5 sacks), and Robaire Smith (62 tackles, 1.5 sacks).