Fast Lane: Competition on Offense

Lane Adkins is at it again! This time, Lane bring us exclusive insight into the Cleveland Browns thoughts about their players on offense. Get ready for training camp today by becoming an OBR Premium Member and getting the inside scoop on what to expect on offense...

-- When training camp opens, both Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III will get reps with the first team offense. The thought is that McCown has earned the opportunity to gain quality reps with the starters. The staff also wants to see and gauge the development of RG3 in the same setting. Another aspect the staff wants to evaluate is McCown's ability to get the ball out quickly without error -- something the staff has questions with due to film evaluation of the veteran QB against live bullets.

-- The Browns staff hopes to see the progression expected for rookie QB Cody Kessler in training camp. The Browns do not have any blind expectations that Kessler is going to come into camp and elevate himself to being a realistic option to start, but the belief among the staff is Kessler is ahead of the curve and could be a surprise in camp. In OTA film sessions, Kessler was very strong in play awareness and recognition.

However the starting QB spot plays out (those within the organization believe RG3 will ultimately be under center), Hue Jackson's offense will be predicated on utilizing the skills of the specific player. In 2016, the staff isn't dead set on stuffing a square peg into a round hole. 

-- As it stands today, the Browns starting WR roles are far from being settled. Heading into camp, the likeliest scenario will have rookie Corey Coleman gaining the most meaningful reps while not being pigeon-holed into a specific X, Y or Z role. The Browns staff views Coleman, just like they see RB Duke Johnson, as a 'weapon' and intend on utilizing them often in varying looks. The Browns staff does not believe they are force-feeding Coleman, who has displayed a very strong mental approach to the learning process, which has carried onto the practice field. After a slow start and a reality check (called out by Jackson regarding conditioning and focus), Coleman looked the part of a legitimate #1 WR prospect in later sessions -- his speed, quickness.,and ball security vastly improved with each passing session.

Rookie Rashard Higgins (good route-runner with deceptive speed/quickness) and Terrelle Pryor (displayed size, physicality and an ability to separate and secure the ball) - The Browns staff expects these two WRs to thrive and battle for the starting role opposite Coleman, and both will gain considerable looks opposite Coleman, followed by Taylor Gabriel. Andrew Hawkins will gain significant/majority looks in the slot, followed by Darius Jennings. The Browns are intrigued with the size and speed of Marlon Moore and rookie Ricardo Louis, but the expectation level (especially on Louis) is reserved with the 'later' looking much more promising on his potential productivity.

-- Following starter Gary Barnidge at tight end, the position is wide-open. Rookie Seth DeValve is going to get plenty of reps. The Browns staff has been pleased with his work in sessions and his route-running has been as expected (they liked this aspect coming out of college). As with most rookies, though, his strength needs work -- Browns anticipate some struggles as an in-line blocker.  E.J. Bibbs caught the eye of the staff with his ability to get into the pattern and gain separation in OTA sessions. Back to Barnidge, the offensive staff sees him as a nice fit for HC Hue Jackson's offense, which likes to utilize a TE that can work the seam.

-- Change is the name of the game on the offensive line for the Browns in 2016. The Browns staff is hopeful rookie OT Shon Coleman can display health and compete at LT behind veteran Joe Thomas. Coleman could gain looks at RT, dependent on the situation. Thomas will not be exposed to significant work in camp, which will be physical and long -- two aspects lost on Browns training camps of season past. The Browns believe Dan France has a chance to make some noise in camp as a backup candidate.

With the prospects of Thomas manning the LT spot, Joel Bitonio at LG and John Greco at RG, the Center and RT positions could be very interesting to see develop in camp. Rookie Spencer Drango saw action at LG and RG in OTA sessions. After work on technique and gaining some confidence, the rookie displayed improved awareness and agility. The Browns staff is quite high on Drango and believe he could play in his rookie season at an acceptable level.

Alvin Bailey ]has received most of his work at RT and will open camp as the starter (another position far from settled). Austin Pasztor will work at RT as well as LG (Browns intrigued with OL Kalib Johnson) in camp, with Michael Bowie seeing work at RG and RT ( Erie Ladson could push Bowie off the roster).

-- The biggest question surrounding the Browns offensive line is the center position. Second-year lineman Cameron Erving is penciled in as the starter. and has performed reasonably well in OTA sessions which are not of the physical variety. Erving was placed on a strong weight-training and conditioning program by the new Browns staff very early in the off-season and his overall body physique is showing change. Along with the physical training, the staff has worked on Erving's fundamentals (often off-balance with poor weight distribution). If Erving is not capable of manning the starting role, sliding Greco over from RG continues to be the strongest option, though the staff will evaluate Garth Gerhart and a lesser expectation from un-drafted rookie Mike Matthews (needs strength work, fundamentally fairly solid)


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