Monday Afternoon Practice Report

Remember those rumors over the off-season that there was some sort of issue with William Green? We never gave them any credence, but David Carducci reports from Berea that, yes, there is a problem with William Green. Well, it's not really with William, actually, the problem is going to be for teams that have to figure out a way to stop him this year.<P>The latest on Green - and an important update on contract negotiations - read it first on!

After watching four days of practice it is clear that no Cleveland Browns player has made a more dramatic leap in one year than William Green.

Several of Green's teammates have commented on the second-year running back's improvement and the confidence he has shown in the first four days of camp.

"He looks good doesn't he?" said right tackle Ryan Tucker. "From last year's camp to this year, he is just a different guy. He is seeing the hole better, he is running through it better ... The guy is running hard out there, and all those things makes it easier on (the offensive line). You can tell he is a lot more comfortable."     
While his teammates have raved, Green said Monday that he doesn't feel fast. In fact, he said he feels downright "sluggish." Yet every time he takes a hand off, Green explodes through the hole like no Browns back has done since the team returned in 1999.

"I feel a little different just because I know what to expect, and I know what is going on," said White. "I know what everyone around me is supposed to do.

"I think the biggest thing is just knowing the job of the offensive linemen. Earlier (last year), I didn't know what they had to do on running plays. I knew I was getting the ball and had to run to that area.  I was just running. Now I know who is pulling. I know what kind of stunts are going on. And I can wait for it to develop and kind of go off that. It is a big difference when you know what is going on."

Green has spent time working on several parts of his own game to become more of a complete player. He said he specifically wants to get better at catching the ball out of the backfield.

"I'm working a lot on catching the ball after practice," said Green. "It's something I know I can do."

While White is still not completely comfortable running with a lead blocker, he is starting to get used to having someone with him in the backfield. Aaron Shea has spent much of the week at H-back with Steve Heiden playing returning mostly to tight end.

The Browns continue to experiment with a two-back set, including Green and third-down back Jamel White. With White nursing an injury Monday, James Jackson lined up with Green in the backfield.

"I can definitely run with a lead blocker," said Green. "It's just something I'm getting used to. We didn't do it (at Boston College), but it's something I have some experience with know at this level ... There are other things I still need to work on in my all-around game, like blitz pickup."

FAINE IS CLOSE ... Whatever hiccup there was in the Jeff Faine negotiations appears to be cleared up. According to a source in the organization, the first-round pick should be signed to a seven-year deal by the end of the day.

The Browns still are not close with any of the other unsigned draft picks.

THE NEW DEFENSE ... If this year's Cleveland Browns defense looks familiar, it should.

"It's something Tampa Bay does all the time, and Dallas has done for the last 10 years," said Bentley.

In the new defensive scheme, Kevin Bentley lines up in what would normally be considered a strongside linebacker position, but in reality he is still the weakside linebacker. The under front keeps Bentley puts Bentley on the tight-end side, but keeps him clean by protecting him with the defensive end.

Flipping where the weakside linebacker lines up keeps Bentley from taking on fullbacks coming out of the backfield, giving him more of an opportunity to roam and make plays.

"It is real different from last year, but it is really simple," said Bentley. "It's the same kind of thing Dexter Coakley did with Dallas. It's a different defense that keeps the weakside linebacker from taking on iso's all day. On the weakside, you have to deal with the fullback, but now the strongside linebacker has to take on the lead blocker ... On the other side, the tight end doesn't normally get to me."

The OBR Top Stories