Tales from the Inbox

'Tales from the Inbox' has a strong flavor of Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy. Throw in some young wide receivers and the offensive scheme, and you'll have some lengthy responses.

Q: Rumors abound about the seriousness of Trent Richardson's knee injury. Any time a running back has knee issues, they generally continue to be an issue for a period of time, if not permanently. With that, what is the situation with Richardson's knee, will he require surgery and when he is slated to return?

LA: As we reported on Tuesday, into Wednesday and in our "Ask the Insiders" forum, Richardson had some discomfort in the two days prior to skipping practice. We have been told by a source close to the team that Richardson's knee injury isn't believed to be serious.

Richardson's MRI from what we have been told shows minimal soft tissue issue, no structural damage and a protruding particle which is an irritant, the particle could eventually become more than just a discomfort type issue with prolonged use, impact and general game typework.

Dr. Andrews, from what we have been told will remove the particle Thursday and Richardson is expected to be ready for the Browns season opener.

Q: With rookie Brandon Weeden being handed the QB job, how can the other offensive players respect such a move when a veteran like Colt McCoy, who the players like wasn't given an opportunity to compete for the starting job, realistically?

LA: My opinion is, the Browns did put more effort in readying rookie QB Brandon Weeden received the best, up close coaching and attention any QB has had since the return of the team in 1999.

The vested interested of an entire organization to hopefully end the disappointing saga of QB play came into play. This regime wants to win and believes this team is closer than most believe them to be. Additionally, the organization decided due to Weeden's age, maturity level, mentality and skillset, it was comparable to the ‘perfect' situation for the Browns.

I expressed on numerous occasionally, during the 2011 season and through the NFL Draft, the Browns had soured on McCoy and did not believe he was ‘their' guy, as a starting type QB. It isn't to say McCoy can't play, I believe the third-year player is capable to play the game at this level, but I believe his lack of arm strength is a detriment to an offense that wants to utilize the entire field.

McCoy struggles on passes outside the hashes and his ball does float too often down the seams. It's unfortunate for McCoy, but I believe the right decision at this time.

And, the playing field wasn't level in regards to the starting job, but his on-field play in practice sessions didn't warrant him gaining the starting role, through the first couple weeks of training camp.

Q: Now that Brandon Weeden has earned the starting job, what do you believe will occur with the other QB's on the roster? Has there been a trade market for either Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace?

LA: I agree, Weeden has earned the starting nod with his work to date and I expected him to only improve as time passes. It'll be interesting to see him get on the field Friday evening against the Detroit Lions in the preseason opener.

Personally, I would retain the QB which provides the team with the best opportunity to succeed in the event the starter were to struggle mightily or get injured. I'm not so sure that will ultimately be the direction the roster will shape up when all is said and done.

Thus far, McCoy has looked better than Wallace in training camp and would be the logical number-two QB, at this point in time.

With Wallace making three million dollars this season and McCoy making about 500K, will all things play being equal, McCoy should be the backup.

But, and this is a big but. McCoy has not won over anyone within the decision making process with comments regarding the lack of competition and not given a fair chance to win the starting job and this could ultimately play into the equation when all is said and done.

To this time, there has not been any true interest gauged in the QB and his best case scenario is to play ‘lights-out' in preseason game conditions and make himself a valuable commodity.

Q: We have heard on numerous occasions that Brandon Weeden would make the wide receivers look better. Exactly how could a rookie quarterback come in and make this Browns receiving group look better? The receivers have been a weakness for this team and they only added a couple more rookies to the group. How does Weeden become the guy that can, while Colt McCoy becomes the guy that can't?

LA: I've had the opportunity to talk to receivers and QB's alike and below is their tale.

Receivers generally like a ball that is spun (tight spiral) and/or gets upon them in a manner which the receiver doesn't have to worry about the ball fluttering. Granted, a receiver should have the concentration skills to haul in a pass in their general direction, regardless of how it approaches them.

While Weeden throws a tight ball that gets to the spot quickly, McCoy throws a much softer ball and it tends to hang a little. The difference in time can be compared to a receiver getting his body between the ball and defender with Weeden and where a defender has a greater opportunity to make a play on the ball with McCoy.

This isn't to say McCoy isn't capable of getting the ball to the target, he has. It comes down to the timing and mental aspects for the receiver. Any receiver will tell you, they want the ball on the move, where they retain momentum and are a smaller target for the defender to hit.

It's much a receiver coming over the middle, timing is critical to the success of the play, as well as the livelihood of the receiver. Receivers do not want the ball floating on them in route, it only increases the number of bad things which could occur.

In the end, a QB with a huge arm or a QB that doesn't bring the ball with velocity can be successful if they are accurate. Presently, Weeden has gained significantly with accuracy, which has plenty to do with familiarity with the receivers and timing.

And, I have never saw McCoy throw the ball any better. He is an improved player with a season in the system.

My impression is both Weeden and McCoy have become better players due to the other.

Q: We've witnessed a season of Pat Shurmur's conservative and questionable offense. We lived through two seasons of Mohamed Massaquoi being a below average wide receiver. We have watched Greg Little drop tons of pass attempts and appear to lack speed and quickness, and this is our best receiver. With that, the Browns select a guy that hasn't played in a year and another guy that can run fast, but is small as a hare. So, where do we get the Browns are suddenly going to be improved with a rookie quarterback, rookie running back, rookie receivers and a couple guys that already have shown to be average at best?

LA: Mohamed Massaquoi was selected by the Browns in the 2009 NFL Draft and he is entering his fourth season in the league. I will agree, Massaquoi has disappeared at times throughout his three seasons, some due to injury, some due to questionable QB play and some due to his own issue.

Massaquoi has had a fantastic training camp, has gained the trust of QB Brandon Weeden and looks very quick and smooth.

Greg Little did look somewhat sluggish at times a season ago and lacked burst. He lost approximately 17 pounds this off-season and is in much better condition overall, after not playing the season before due to an NCAA sanction.

Little has looked good in camp and is not dropping passes. He is another receiver which appears to be primed for a good season.

Josh Gordon is an athletic young man that has made some poor decisions in his young past. One thing that cannot be taken from him his ability and potential, the young man is a huge target and can catch the ball.

Travis Benjamin may be slight in build, but he is a gamer and not afraid to play. Speed and quickness is his game and the Browns offense in camp has been able to utilize his skillset.

Let's remember, all these receivers in questions are young, and in the case of most inexperienced. In an offense where the head coach calling the plays is not comfortable or doesn't trust specific plays due to talent issues at certain critical positions has an issue.

I do believe from what I have viewed and been told, the play-calling will take on a different look in the 2012 season due to the addition of talent.

In the end, the Browns will have to run the ball to make this offense work. Placing all the pressure on the rookie QB isn't the plan, but he will be depended upon considerably to make the plays he has displayed the ability to make.


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