Given the off-season emphasis and the recent history of success in Kyle Shanahan's schemes, I'm ready for my first bold prediction of 2014: The Browns will finish among the league's top third in rushing yards and attempts. They were bottom five in each category a year ago.
From drafting a mobile quarterback to adding three running backs to upgrading the offensive line to changing the blocking schemes, there seems a strong commitment to running the ball.
They acquired top free agent Ben Tate, traded up to snare Towson's Terrence West in the third round and signed Alabama State's Isaiah Crowell as an undrafted free agent. They also have Dion Lewis returning from a broken leg suffered last preseason and Baker, who was the team's most effective runner at the end of 2013.
Beyond buoying the backfield, they used a second-round pick to draft a nasty guard in Joel Bitonio, and added another blocking tight end in Jim Dray.
Shanahan's Redskins threw it 57.4% of the time in 2013 after posting a 46.0% mark in 2012. The main reason for the shift to a pass-heavy offense was that the Redskins trailed most of the year. Robert Griffin III's inability to run while recovering from ACL surgery was also a factor. The Browns are likely to go run-heavy, especially if Josh Gordon is suspended as expected. Unfortunately, the score may dictate that the team has to throw the ball more than they want to.