Campo Fires Up the Troops

Dave Campo has brought a different defensive scheme with him from Dallas, and the Browns defensive unit is excited about what it means for them. Mike brings you the reaction straight from camp, along with news about emerging defensive lineman Alvin McKinley and notes from this afternoon's practice session.

BEREA - There's plenty of excitement among defensive players in the Browns' locker room.

The source of the talk is the attack-style of football the defense will play under first-year coordinator Dave Campo. For free safety Earl Little, the style fits well with the type of players coach Butch Davis has assembled.

"Last year we waited back on our heels, waiting to see what happened," Little said. "This year we're mixing things up. We're going after some people."

Strong safety Robert Griffith will be a pivotal player in the new scheme. Griffith missed four games last season due to a severe shoulder injury. He's now healthy and ready to become a team leader.

"I'm perfectly happy being here," Griffith said. "The coaching staff has embraced me as someone they want to lead. I'm taking that challenge on. I did it in Minnesota. They brought me here to do what I'm going to do this year. Butch has given me the reins to lead by example and lead by voice. I'm not going to let him down."

Griffith termed the defense one that is "linebacker friendly." The key is for the linemen to control the running lanes, thus allowing the speedy linebackers and safeties to go to the ball.

"It allows us to make a lot of plays," said second-year veteran Kevin Bentley, who's the leading candidate to start at strongside linebacker. "The D linemen are trying to keep us clean and let us run to the ball and wear people out."

ALVIN IMPRESSES: Defensive tackle Alvin McKinley appears to be making strides. He had good penetration on a pass rush Tuesday and was able to block a pass. McKinley is expected to be a major part of the tackle rotation.

Davis is impressed with the offseason McKinley had.

"If I was going to pick one, two, three or four guys that have had the best offseason for our team, Alvin would be one of those guys," Davis said. "He's up about 125 pounds in his bench press from a year ago. (Strength coach) Buddy Morris will tell you that his biggest claim to fame in strength and conditioning is Alvin McKinley.

PRACTICE NOTES: Tempers flared during the morning practice after Shaun O'Hara and offensive lineman Chad Ward double-teamed a defensive lineman. After a few obscenties were shouted, 222-pound running back Jamel White squared off against 325-pound defensive tackle Gerard Warren. No punches were thrown.

Outside linebacker Chaun Thompson has seen a major change in the quality of play now that he's in his second minicamp. Most of the veterans didn't participate in the minicamp in early May.

"It's a big adjustment," Thompson said. "You have some boys coming out of that backfield that can run, and all the receivers are fast. You can't afford to mess up. If you mess up, they might as well fire up the band."

Anthony Henry and Daylon McCutcheon are working with the first team on the corners. Lewis Sanders comes off the bench in the nickel. The first-string linebackers in the nickel are Ben Taylor and Andra Davis

Offensive guard Qasim Mitchell definitely looks the part of a dominant offensive lineman. He's up to about 365 pounds, but he plans to report to training camp at 350. There's little fat on his body, and he said he can run a 5.1 40.

Tim Couch and Josh Booty were both picked off during two-minute drills. Couch's deep throw for Quincy Morgan was intercepted by Sanders. Booty had a pass tipped by linebacker Sherrod Coates and intercepted by defensive back Oliver Celestin.

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