Lumpy: With the improvement of McKinley, where does that leave Roye? Did you see a rotation of Warren, McKinley and Roye during minicamp....or is McKinley playing either LDT or RDT behind either Roye or Warren?
Also-it was reported that all the defensive linemen were in Cleveland working out during the offseason. Is this true? There was some specualtion about Warren being there and he was not on Davis's "good" list of players who were working hard (like Henry, McKinley, Tucker, Verba, etc).
Warren was a regular offseason participant in the conditioning program. Just because he wasn't mentioned by Butch as one of the workout warriors doesn't mean the coaches aren't pleased with him.
I believe Butch is using some psychology on Warren, who has come clean with his partying ways of the last two seasons. Butch doesn't want to compliment Warren to the point that Warren begins to take it easy.
vbf: Henry looked uncomfortable as a starter last year and gut abused.
Teams threw his way when they needed yardage and often times were not disappointed.
With Fuller's departure, how much concern should fans have regarding the secondary?
MikeMcLain: Be concerned, be very concerned.
I've said it several times during the offseason -- the secondary is the biggest worry on the team. In particular, the cornerbacks are a concern. There isn't one corner that you'd put in the "shutdown" category.
I like Daylon McCutcheon, but he's injury prone. You're right about Henry. He seems like a tweener to me -- part safety and part corner. One thing for sure is that he doesn't appear to play well when in press man coverage.
Lewis Sanders is a key. He looked outstanding as a rookie in 2000, but he slipped noticeably last season after sitting out 2001 because of leg surgery. Sanders has added bulk and looked decent at training camp.
Campo is well aware of problems in the secondary. He's hoping that the concerns will be alleviated by a better pass rush than what we've seen in the past.
"We're very athletic and we have a lot of speed now and I really feel
that speed is going to be the strength of this defensive football team,"
Campo said. "I've always thought that when you're playing against good
players, you're going to get better. Even though we're going to be somewhat
inexperienced at the corner position, they're getting work every day against
what I feel is a very good receiver corps. I can also tell you this - the more
pressure we get on the quarterback, the older those DBs get. But, I like our
speed and other athleticism."
vbf: We've not read much about Lang and/or Roye during the offseason as having particularly done anything extraordinary. Is that good? IOW, are they doing well? I'll tell you, Mike, I just don't see Courtney EVER becoming a force he was brought in to be. If Courtney proves to be average at best at DE, who would Campo plug in at DE? Can Word play DE? Is Rogers the man in the event Brown isn't (still) effective?
MikeMcLain: I agree that it's doubtful Courtney wll ever become the dominant pass rusher we all envisioned on draft day in 2000. At this time, the main hope is that he continues to rehab well from the microfracture surgery and can contribute next season.
If nothing else, Brown is an intelligent player who is an asset against the run. Considering how poorly the defense was versus the run last season, anyone that can help in that area would be appreciated.
Here is Dave Campo's take on Courtney:
"I'm impressed with his willingness - he has worked extremely hard. From a mental standpoint, he's tried to be involved in everything that we're doing. He's a guy who wants to be good and that's about 90% of the battle.
"I think Courtney is a big, physical defensive end that runs darn well. There's going be times when he's out on the edge, but I really think that his strength is that it's going to be really difficult for tight ends to block him, period. If he's 100% going full-blast, we give him an opportunity to get a nose on that tight end, I don't want to be the tight end that has to block him. I think sometimes that when more is given to you, more expectations are there.
"I've seen him play some very good football games. He's had some injuries but if we can get him out there and keep things to where we use the strength of that front four, I think he'll be good."
gorilladog: Lane, care to comment any further on the player or the possibility of potential problems with team chemistry existing in regards to "As long as Couch is competetive, he will be the starting quarterback. Kelly knows that and the majority of us in the locker room know that,"...
"Whomever moves the team better should be the starter, regardless of
ego, contract, etc. This is about winning and at times some questionable things
happen around here."
Lane Adkins: Not everything is the rosy picture that many would like to believe when it comes to the team and the locker room presence.
Numerous players in the past and some still within the ranks do not hold in high regard or do not trust the Butch Davis regime.
From the treatment of certain players, to some empty promises directed to some players, right or wrong, there has been an element of dissention. Is that element large enough to create problems? Sure. I don not believe that this coaching staff that is in place will allow it though.
On the Couch/Holcomb issue. Certain players have held this position strongly, it is a belief that is with more than a couple of players of relevancy. It is time for Davis to quash the theories and beliefs of the players that doubt him, the Couch/Holcomb situation can easily remedy the issue.
It is unfortunate that this situation exists, but the Browns and the locker room in Cleveland is not much different from many in the league.
nutz75: Why is it when a Cleveland player has 1 good year, they think they deserve a big time payday? Northcutt is starting to sound like Miller did after he made the Pro Bowl ( minus the pro bowl honors)!
Lane Adkins: In talking with Northcutt recently, he does believe that he has a significant value in the league, and I do agree with him to a point.
Almost every team in the league could use an explosive player in the return game and a receiver that has the ability to get open downfield.
He has been really productive with any consistency for one season. Sure, he showed glimpses, but consistency is key.
The impression that I left with was that Northcutt is extremely confident now. Not just with his game, but the game of the offense that he plays within. Also, he is expected to be a major contributor in 2003.
dboots: ESPN's Len Paquarelli reports that Butch Davis is fast losing patience with Courtney Brown. If he is sufficiently recovered in camp, but fails to impress coaches, is there a chance he could be traded?
Lane Adkins: While I do not see a trade involving Brown at this time, I do agree that the organization has somewhat become frustrated with the injuries.
There are no indications that the Browns are ready to give up on Brown, but he must find a way to remain healthy and show some glimpses of the explosive player the organization believes they had drafted.
Brown is not a Davis draft pick, so he has a little less to lose ego wise as far as admitting a mistake may have been made in the selection if Brown does not become a significant contributor.