Recently, we published an article that touched on some issues that arose within the team during the 2002 season. Among the subjects covered were Butch Davis' lack of comfort with certain aspects of his team and the play and thoughts of veteran safety Robert Griffith.
Naturally, the fans in our Ask the Insiders forum had some follow-up questions.
We'll touch on some points from questions posed by one of the loyal Browns fans who chat with us in the forum, "Redright". One of the things I like about writing for BerniesInsiders.com is the ability to follow-up stories by talking with fans, especially ones as knowledgeable as the dawgs in the Ask the Insiders forum.
"Redright" asked some excellent questions, which we felt we should expand upon.
Why was Butch uncomfortable with the DBs?
The Browns defensive backs were not a good coverage team in 2001 with basically the same cast of characters. The DB's did not show consistency in practice and Davis is more of a zone type coach (especially when he does not have a true cover corner on the roster). At the present time a pure cover corner has not distinguished himself.
What coaching was suspect?
There were issues within the ranks on the defensive side of the ball, as we mentioned throughout the 2002 season. Obviously the changes on the defensive side of the ball we made to address the perceived problem. Davis had defensive backfield coach Chuck Pagano on his staff at the University of Miami, and he was one coach that struggled under the direction of former defensive coordinator Foge Fazio.
Communication, scheme, preparation, respect, etc. While there was respect between the head coach and defensive coordinator, there was something missing within the ranks of the coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball.
Why couldn't Butch get them to communicate?
Lets just say that Davis had his hands on the defense. Davis did not control or run the defense in theory, he did have an involvement that cannot be questioned, or that is what some of his players and former players/coaches have stated.
Why can we expect Grif to be a leader when he was lost and adrift last year?
Griffith wanted the challenge then, wants it now, and believes that he has much to prove. He was outspoken at the end of the 2002 season and he is being looked upon to provide veteran leadership along with his experience. Since he was new to the team in 2002, and the team had veteran players on the roster that had been with them for several seasons, he did not actively attempt to grasp the leadership role.
OK, what have you seen or expect to see that will indicate this year's defense will be on the same page? Be able to play as a team?
The addition of Campo will be good for the Browns. The team will be more aggressive and play more to the perceived talent on the roster. It doesn't hurt that Davis is extremely comfortable and trusting of him. Campo comes to the Browns as a successful defensive coordinator that has shown the ability to utilize players to their ability within the scheme.
I'd like to be more positive, but on last year's play there was no one that was a team or even a defensive leader on the D-line, Linebackers or DBs. Whom do you think will take charge of these three areas--D-line; LB; DB?
I believe that Warren will rebound well. The youth, athleticism, and increased
quickness at linebacker should help this team, once they really get their feet
wet. At DB, well, that's a crapshoot.
Injuries, turnover, less than desirable results from free agents, and so forth, have robbed this defense of an identity. The young players will have struggles, but the goal is to consistently improve throughout the 2003 season. A tough task is ahead for basically a group of rookies and rather inexperienced players.