Adkins: Tough Questions Pt. 2

Lane Adkins addresses even more questions in today's second installment of selections from the OBR's exclusive Ask the Insiders forum.

Below are a compiled list of questions from OBR insiders and answers from Lane Adkins in OBR's exclusive Ask the Insiders forum.

Please note all copy [sic]'d.


Tony Pashos

Games23: The last thing that i heard about pashos was that he was healthy and competing. Can he really not beat st clair? How come nobody is talking about heckerts bust here? St clair is worse at his position than Elam and Barton at theirs but nobody mentions this.

Also, id like to know the chances of lauvao playing RG with womack at RT.

LaneAdkins: I believe there has been plenty of discussion regarding the below average play of Elam and Barton. Right now, it is what it is in the case of each player. The team had numerous players in camp, none could unseat Elam, and the team knows this is an issue.

As for Barton, he was better on Sunday, than a week prior in Tampa. His time could be very limited once Jackson returns from injury.

Pashos missed a significant portion of camp and pre-season game activity due to his shoulder, illness, etc. Presently, he and St. Clair are embattled in a tough competition at RT, neither excites at the present.

Lauvao will practice this week, though potentially limited, which is likely to mean Womack again will start at RG. The possibility remains for Womack to slide out to RT upon the full return of Lauvao, but we may see a changing of the guard at RT by that time.


Slow inside linebackers

Pugz1: Despite the better defense we played once Rogers and Jackson were out last year, we continued to see the slower ILB's give up play after play to RB's and TE's.  This seems to have continued this year, although the defense seems light years better than at this point last year.

My question is how much difference will the speedier Jackson make over Barton?  Does he bring better ability to stop those RB's and TE's on the short routes over the middle where we always seem to give up the 3rd and 6 or 3rd and 8 yard conversions?

LaneAdkins: A healthy D'Qwell Jackson at this point in time is an upgrade over that of an Eric Barton, though I do not see him as the type of player that is a difference maker in the sense of being a 'stud' type ILB, but more of a consistent type presence playing well within a scheme.


Failure to execute

brownsouth: You talk about execution(or lack of) in both your articles and answers, but doesn't this reflect directly on the coaching staff? You've got a wagon load of highly paid "professional" coaches out there on the practice field who are supposed to teach timing and technique(ie: execution).  If it doesn't show up on game day, we've either got a bunch of players too stupid to learn or a bunch of teachers/coaches unable to teach.  I still see this entire catastrophe falling squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff. The  talent level in the first two games was pretty even but we still couldn't get it done. Thoughts?

LaneAdkins: Of course the coaching staff plays a role in the inability of the team to execute. Coaches are paid to coach, to teach technique and scheme to make an individual player a serviceable talent in the grand scheme.

On the other-hand, players are paid and trained for years to execute, some in the simplest of terms.

There is very little reason for players to consistently make mental errors. The same can be noted regarding turning the ball over, the teachings of holding onto the football don't change as a player climbs the ladder to the professional level.

The same should be noted about a QB throwing INT's.

The issues are wide-spread and neither a player or coach is immune to the problems this team faces.


Beauty before age

Chidawg: Per PFW we have the oldest team in the AFC.  If having so many veterans is getting us 0-2 vs mediocre (at best) competition, how long until the "veterans" who are not getting it done on the field are jettisoned to make room for new blood?

Obviously a turn around generates a reprieve for most if not all.  Still, it seems that being bad and old is much worse than being bad and young.

LaneAdkins: A changing of the old guard could begin to be incorporated if the team fails to display promise.

Doing such is a further risky proposition, as often locker room issues occurs when the spots of vets, playing well or not are jettisoned for simply an influx of youth.

If the Browns do not show the ability to be competitive and win, I anticipate we will see a slow insertion of playing time for the youth not generally believed to be completely ready for prime-time.


Possibility of a lockout

Chidawg: the possibility (probability?) that 2011 could (will?) become a lockout year?

If you are sure a lockout is coming, why make a total changeover in the coaching staff the year before that happens?

LaneAdkins: If the organization believes a lockout is going to be a reality, a complete turnover of the staff would not be a solid financial move.

If the organization does not care about the financial aspects of a lockout, then they could make changes.

It does not make much sense to overhaul the staff is the fear of a lockout is prevalent.


Delhomme's mental adjustments

OPENUP: Any chance we see a mentally 'adjusted'  QB the next time Jake takes the field? How does an organization deal with a QB that labors under the load that Jake does, i.e. see Barry's article? Is there anything observable when you talk with or watch him practice that leads you to believe he's over the hill metally?

LaneAdkins: I sense the pressure has already begun within the organization and rightfully so.

This is a team which the team president expects to be competitive, not the offensive embarrassment that has been the first two weeks of the season.

The injury to Jake Delhomme buys Mangini and Daboll some time, but not an significant escape clause.

Wait till late Sunday afternoon, I believe the cries of Mangini and Daboll's heads will be as loud as ever imaginable. I see little hope this team will be able to fend off a Baltimore defense that will apply pressure to the Browns offense as they are walking off the team bus.

Very few teams can dial-up their defense in the manner which the Ravens often do. If anyone thought the defensive pressure applied by the Buccaneers and Chiefs in the second half of each game was tough, wait until the Browns have the ball and Seneca Wallace has to depend on getting the ball into the hands of Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey, etc, etc, etc.

Regarding Delhomme, you never know how a player is going to react until under fire. In camp he played well overall, but did have some troubling moments of inconsistency.

He played well prior to the lame-duck INT he lobbed and the injury. From this point going forward in week-one, he did not play well and his supporting cast struggled as well. Generally, a player mentally scared rarely completes an about face and regains all his confidence and composure.

For the Browns, they need Delhomme to be the exception to the rule, but there is very little that supports this to be the case.

In a couple weeks, we will likely see Delhomme back under center and the balance of the Browns season could be dependent on his success, or failures as I do not see Wallace as being viable.


Delhomme's actual injury

nattibrownie: What is his injury? Lane stated he may miss the next two games, any more info on this?

LaneAdkins: Ankle injury which creates additional pain in the upper foot region.

Delhomme is still in a boot (Sunday during game), is receiving treatment and will be looked at again on Wednesday to determine whether the injury is recovering at a rate where play is possible.


Lack of offensive identity

mes78: I couldn't agree more with your assessment that our offense lacks an identity.  Likewise, as the game continues, the playcalling seems to lose flow, and is unable to adjust the the opponents' halftime changes.

With that said, we all know that Holgrem, Heckert, and Haskell are believers in the WCO.  I know it has been said that all NFL offenses run similar plays, concepts, etc..., but all the WCO have similar characteristics - quick, rhythmatic flow, mobile qb's, rollouts, screens, short-horizontal passing concepts, pass to set up the run, etc...  The WCO seems to be the antidote to what this offense currently lacks (besides talent) - and identity, flow and direction.

How long before H, H, and H assert there views about the WCO on Mangini and Daboll?

LaneAdkins: The offense has gained some WCO flair in its overall offensive scheme. The issue remains the inability of the offense to execute and gain a consistency in many aspects making up a solid, fundamental offensive unit.

Being said, as long as the current HC and OC are on-board, it is unlikely this Browns team will be a true WCO type. And, with 14 games remaining, that may be the extent of the present offensive scheme.


Wary of wide outs

kawoodwa: How much of Robo and Mo's issues at getting separation is a product of the offense or their inability?

Reason I ask - i've had to endure the Bears games past 2 weeks. In just one season, after adding Mike Martz, i've noticed a huge improvement in guys like J Knox, Aromoshudu (sp), Forte and even Hester play. Most feel this has been a direct result of an experienced, proven OC.

LaneAdkins: The perception of what an experienced OC has done and can do with talent follows the trail of the specific OC. Knowing an OC has the ability to utilize and gain the productivity out of a talent pool is a great building tool, as a defense will respect the theory of what the capability is.

In Cleveland, the WR talent is questionable and the OC has not demonstrated the ability to get production or efficiency out of the specific skill positions, making him and the unit an easy target to expose as weakness.

This is where Jake Delhomme becomes such an important piece to the puzzle. His experience helps fill the void on the field. While he may be at the end of his career, he remains capable of seeing opportunities on the field and has displayed the ability to find receivers, make line calls that could be contrary to the original play call from the sideline.

This issue is the OC has not committed to any specific scheme and becomes erratic on game-day due to not having a belief to hang his hat on.

If Delhomme has anything left, he can make a difference on game-day, but this in itself is very questionable.


Poor scouting on Massaquoi, Robiskie?

TXHabaneroDawg: Robiske was the "most Pro-ready WR" in the 2009 draft according to many experts. No one said he was a #1 speed burner (he's clearly not and never was), but he is a precise route runner with excellent hands that should be able to get open on out routes, in the seam or on dig routes - a classic possession receiver.  I don't get it - why don't the Browns use him like this?

Massaquoi seems to "play faster" in the game, is arguably a less precise a route runner and hands not quite as good as Robo, but good enough to be a #2 WR. Straight up or on a play action fake, he has the speed to get open on crossing and deeper routes, does he not? At least he has hit far more big plays than Robo thus far.

My points are this: Both Robo and Massa have skills, maybe not Elite WR Pro Bowl levels, but skills good enough to play in the NFL. Robo was ranked the #6 WR in the 2009 draft and Massa around #18. Both are ~6-2" - 205 and run in the neighborhood of a 4.50. Both were ranked way higher than Brian Hartline, another Buckeye who came out early that year. Yet Hartline, to use him as an example, seems to be able to get open and makes plays for the Dolphins, far more so than Robiske for the Browns. Hartline's nowhere near an All-Pro, but he makes plays.

I personally see this as a serious failure of this staff to utilize these two players given their skill sets. Opinions?

LaneAdkins: I would agree that the Browns offensive scheme and OC specifically have failed to utilize the talents of specific players, with the WR position being of a major disappointment.

In off-season and into training camp practice sessions, we did see the WR's gaining opportunities to become viable options. A major difference at this time in comparison to seasons back was the ability of the QB to actually find the WR in stride to gain positive yardage.

This is an aspect that the offense struggles with when Delhomme is not under center, as he can be accurate and provide this opportunity. What Delhomme also provides is a veteran presence that will look through the progressions and seek out an open receiver, which really goes away from the pre-snap play call from the OC at times.

The play-calling specifically has to become one which gains a consistency and continuity, which can relieve the press coverage these young receivers face -- and which is a significant issue for these WR's, as they struggle to beat the press and gain separation at times.

Also, I don't view Massaquoi as a number-one WR, nor do I view Robiskie as a number-two type WR. If anything, each should be pegged a slot lower in the pecking order, with a true number-one type taking focus and pressure off the two second-year players.

To this point neither WR has displayed the ability to be a consistent presence within the offensive scheme -- and the scheme, its lack of vision and continuity is a major problem.

I wouldn't write either off at this time, but change is needed in the philosophy of this offense and the man under center directing the game-time activities.

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