Adkins: The Tough Questions

OBR's football analyst Lane Adkins answers the latest questions from Browns fans in the exclusive Ask the Insider's 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.


Mangini or the highway

canvanfan: I know that, after the big win, Mangini is looking much better. Lane has also pointed out that the FO is impressed with the fight and competitiveness of the team under this coach. There are a lot of things I like about Mangini, but, I still have a big concern. It seems that Mangini cannot tolerate a lot of different personality types. If you don't fit a certain mould that he has in mind, YOU'RE GONE, or you don't play. Bill Belichick co-existed with Randy Moss, and got a lot out of him. I guarantee that Mangini could not stand Randy Moss. My concern is that there are a lot of talented players, both in college now, and in the pros that will never be an option for this team. Do you think that the front office shares this concern, or am I overblowing it??

Adkins' Answer: I am of the impression the organization is concerned with the overall quality and depth of the player roster and want to continue adding the stepping stone on the foundation which is growing.

Bill Belichick was not a coach that wanted to take on and deal with the big personalities of the game earlier in his career. Parcells was the same way, it took a little time for these men to gain a comfort in their programs, as well as acknowledging that talent wins and a HC must find a way to deal with this type of player.

If Mangini is truly growing as a HC, he also will learn to deal with this type of talent and potential issue. In the case of this Browns team, though they need top-tier talent, they don't need an unmanageable distraction.

I believe this is something in the back of the decision makers minds, but not the major issue or battle to fight at this time -- but its getting closer.


Bye week and Mangini

Lumpy: There's grumbling among the fanbase about Mangini and a lot of people didn't think he'd make it this far.

Some are still thinking they'll pull the trigger on him during the bye week.

I am not in that group.

What are your insights as to how Holmgren & Co. are viewing the head coach at this point?

I've read all your post on the subject and in contrast to the FO, what are you own concise as you can state them?

IMO, there are some definate areas of weakness to be addressed...especially game time decisions.

Also, there are some obvious areas of strength in relation to game plannning (solid game plans going in), getting rid of garbage attitude players, and the team playing to the final whistle.

With the injuries and other concerns, this coaching staff has done fairly well.

Adkins' Answer: While some will state Mangini is on shaky ground, I do not feel or hear this being the case at this time.

The top of the food chain talks with the HC often and there is definitely an appreciation between the two men.

Holmgren is letting Mangini do his thing and offers suggestions and expertise, which I hear has been a welcomed aspect for Mangini.

I also believe as the talent improves within this roster, the game-day process will improve, as it will be less likely that moves made or not made will be as impactful.


Locker room

Szuch77: Thanks for all of the information. I was wondering if you could provide me with any insight into the current locker room attitude towards Mangini? Not what players who have left said, but what current players or current staff members say off the record. Is it the same as all of the hosts on WKNR state or does Mangini have some supporters? Also, what is the relationship between Mangini and Heckert like?

Adkins' Answer: The locker room is a much more unified group this season and in some cases rightfully so.

The head coach has been more receptive, the team has been competitive and progress, despite the W and L column is evident.

The progress isn't where they would like it to be, but the players (overall) realize this isn't a lost cause and stranger things have happened in this game.

Heckert and Mangini are fine, the transformation of Mangini being the HC, with the loss of absolute power has been a pretty seamless progression for the organization.


Grading out Heckert so far?

tochigi: I do know this, the FO guys do like the fact the team has been competitive and fights.

I like the idea that we have a solid FO. Whenever there is a personnel move, the knee jerk reaction to blame Mangini has to be replaced with, "wait a minute, its Heckert, not Mangini calling these shots".

Can you comment on the following:

1. Am I correct in assuming that it is Heckert who is the prime mover. He sees what he sees, plus hears from the coaches as he evaluates. Sees a player who is a better fit and brings him in? (as opposed to HC saying I won't use this guy, get me someone else?)

2. How do you grade out Heckert so far in talent evaluation and acquiring personnel?

Adkins' Answer: 1. Mangini remains an influence on the type of player is brought in and it should be that way if this front office believes in a true team atmosphere in driving for success.

2. So far, Heckert has done a solid job. The early returns on 2010 draft selections have shown promise. The free agent players inked have provided some quality and depth -- not stars, but solid nonetheless.

The disappointing FA deals for Delhomme and Pashos, lost basically due to injuries have hurt the progress of the offense, but both have been injury cases in the past and the trend continues in Cleveland for both players.

Realistically, a draft class cannot be truly evaluated this quickly. Into year-two and definitely in year-three, a greater definition of said players can be drawn.


QB questions

hamster: Do you hear any of the dynamics of what's going on with our QBs?

1.  Wallace spoke out this week on one needing to be the starter.  Is he getting a little anxious over the attention Colt is getting?  You hear how close Colt and Jake is and now the coaches and fans are giving Colt a lot of attention.  Are all three close?

2.  Mangini wants to win so I get he will play the one who best puts him in that position but how does he see Colt at this stage?  Is Mangini anxious to get Jake or Wallace back?

3. With the emergence of Colt is MH behind him playing now to evaluate for next year?  IF so is he going to reassure Mangini they may lose a game or two more?

Adkins' Answer: 1. Wallace is of the belief he played well and was improving, as was the offense at the time of his ankle injury. Delhomme and McCoy are close, Wallace isn't an outcast, but does not share the same relationship.

2. Mangini is geared for this team to win games now as it develops, rather than lose now and hope the development process truly leads to wins at a later time. Mangini was actually looking forward to a healthy Delhomme under center this season and I believe he does have thoughts about where this team would be and where they can go with either veteran for the immediate, rather than the rookie.

3. Holmgren has left this up to Mangini, as it should be as long as he is on the sideline. I have heard nothing regarding Holmgren's bottom-line on Mangini and the team.



Cavsfan70: With the win today, does this put Colt as the starter for the rest of the year?

Adkins' Answer: I don't know if a win today with McCoy under center changes the planned for his development, but he doesn't appear to be overwhelmed.

He's gaining experience, the playing time is invaluable. If the team can scheme to his strengths, remain competitive and show promise, it would be best to see if he is the guy or do they need to look in another direction.


Win now or develop?

DawgBacker26: A) What type of message would the coaching staff be sending to the remainder of the locker room if they chose to stick with McCoy over Wallace?

B) Is there a sense that this team can win now? With a 2-5 record, some are under the impression the season is lost, & rightfully so. But, as an athlete/coach, I have always had an optimistic attitude that my teams could win, regardless of the circumstances. Coming off a big win, a margin of loss of a mere 8 ppl(2, 3, 7, 10, & 18), heading into the bye week to prepare & get healthy, what is the general feeling throughout the Browns building?

C) If the majority feels this team can win now, where would you put the percentages in regards to the QBs, that people @ headquarters feel is the best man to make that happen?

D) Do you feel that this team can win now while still developing McCoy, if it so chooses to do that?

Adkins' Answer: The locker room has taken to McCoy, but there issue of him being a raw rookie is within discussion.

Yes, the team believes they are good enough to compete and win, they realize how close they have been despite the record. The staff and FO believe it's within their grasp.

There was intrigue when Delhomme was healthy and Wallace was getting reps. With McCoy under center, the staff actually may have dug in deeper and played to the strengths of this current roster.

I believe they can be competitive if the run game can succeed, because the passing game will not be as strong initially. I don't see this team as a true playoff caliber unit and would like to see more of McCoy for the now and later developmental questions.


Browns' wide receivers

mtsames: How do you evaluate The QB position thourghly when you have WR's that can't get open or are to slow? Also is the development of this group to be blamed on the WR coach and OC or is the talent not sufficient?

Adkins' Answer: A QB prospect is evaluated on his physical skill-set, mental awareness and aptitude. The theory is to breakdown a prospect in various situations, utilizing film of his play, his decision making process as well as board time for the teaching and development process.

The actual play of the receiver position provides little actually in the grand scheme. The ability or inability of the receiver position plays a very small factor in the overall evaluation process.

Granted, the receiver position of this Browns team has been less than desirable, but does not prohibit the ability of determining whether the prospect is a true candidate or just another guy.


How did we just start getting creative?

hamster: Where did all the trickery come from?  Mangini and Daboll have been about as conservative as it gets.  Do you think Gil or MH had a little in getting this team to do something other than be predictable?

Btw; do you hear anything on how Heckert and Mangini are getting along?

Adkins' Answer: It really is a double-edge sword for Mangini and Daboll. They have played it conservative due to the belief they cannot afford to overcome negative results (turnovers, etc).

Mangini gets criticized and rightfully so for the on-field product. But, he is not all or what we see. When he gets to a comfort level or solidly believe something can work, he will go after it.

If he retains his job and this team does become a contender, we will see more of the looserbside of his personality. Let's not forget, he was a Belichick under-study and to this day carries many of his characteristics.

I'm not surprised in the slightest on what was viewed Sunday in New Orleans, and likely to see additional surprise element, when the opportunity presents itself.

Now that teams will have tape of the excellently executed trickery, this type of play will become difficult to play out on a opponent, unless simply caught napping.


Is Dez the one who got away?

brownwarrior: The top defense for picking Joe Haden at #7 was, "Who else?" But with Haden having a quiet rookie season as a nickel corner and Bryant becoming a playmaker on offense and punt returns for Dallas... is the answer Dez Bryant? He certainly would be getting a lot more looks than in Dallas, with Witten, Austin, and Williams. Chuckie, perhaps the Browns coach next season, said he's one of those guys you can tell is just better than everybody else as soon as he steps on the field.

Adkins' Answer: Certainly a very good talent and projects as such.

This Browns organization was very in-tune to help an obviously void in the defensive backfield and selected the CB arguably top-rated depending on who you talk with.

If the background issue Bryant had chalked up on him weren't there, he would have been a much higher selection.

Teams were wary, despite the talent.


Ahtyba Rubin

brownwarrior: He has 33 tackles total... 20 in the past three games including 14 solos, really rare from a NT position. The Browns came in 13th in YPC against and then let the Saints get 53 and 3.2, so they'll likely move up. Our run defense is passing through decent on the way to very good.

Roth and Rubin seem to be the biggest reasons, given that the improvement started to show in those last four games last season. Fujita is a very sure tackler and Gocong is figuring out the ILB spot.

So the question: Is Rubin getting the recognition he deserves around the league? Could he get some more serious attention at the end of the season? He's a total stud. Guy tackles more WRs and backs on sweeps than any NT I've ever seen.

Adkins' Answer: He isn't getting the recognition yet, but if he continues to play at this level and this Cleveland defense plays well, he'll gain looks.

And you note what has helped this defense, a steady Roth and Gocong along with a very.solid Fujita. The run defense is much more consistent and the backside help has been improving.


Eric Wright

Grover71: Is it me or did we see a lot more Brown & Haden w/Mike Adams as the nickel DB in yesterdays game and less of Eric Wright?

Adkins' Answer: Not correct.

Wright played in his usual manner in the New Orleans game. The noticing of Adams and Haden could be attributed to the multiple receiver personnel sets the Saints run and the Browns scheme to flood the lanes and force Brees to make throws behind dropping LB's and forward-moving defensive backs.


Thomas Clayton

kjdawg17: I'm kinda glad we picked up another big back, 5-11 221 pnds.  James Davis imo was not an superior rb.  Was the reason he was picked up in favor of Davis because he could take more of a pounding?

Adkins' Answer: The Browns liked his size, attitude and ability to play specials immediately.

Another case of a lower depth type player that the Browns are willing to work with and see if he develops into a role other than specials.


Mike Bell

redright: Why Bell? What are we expect from him? Who is  responsible for him being here? Good?  Bad?  Indifferent?

Adkins' Answer:  Experience, projects within the scheme. Backup quality that can play when needed effectively. Mangini and Heckert. Indifferent, leaning toward good at this time, not a difference maker, but quality depth player.


Jayme Mitchell

tjm427: Why trade for him and not play him? Has he been a disappointment to the coaching staff?

Adkins' Answer: Some players can walk into a new situation and play at a high level. Others take a little time. In the case of Mitchell, we are looking at an entirely different defensive scheme. I have not heard anything negative on him.

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