Ask the Insiders forum, where subscribers can get their questions answered directly by our team of reporters. You wanna know it? We'll try to answer it... only in "ATI"."> Ask the Insiders forum, where subscribers can get their questions answered directly by our team of reporters. You wanna know it? We'll try to answer it... only in "ATI".">

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Optimistic: At the game against Greenbay I saw several rookie free agent linebackers getting work on special teams. In particular, Howard Clark, Sherrod Coates were on every special team. Mason Unck played on most. So while these guys obviously won't be starters, my question is which are likely to stick because of their special teams work? I don't believe I saw Aaron Shea on special teams and Brant Boyer didn't suit up, so I'm not sure it was representative. However, all these guys did a good job. BTW, I thought Thompson looked lost both on special teams and in his regular snaps.

Mike McLain: Your observations are right on. Clark and Coates have played well on special teams. In fact, from what I hear Clark will be highlighted on the Butch Davis show tonight. Mason Unck is an interesting prospect. He won't make the team based on his play on defense, but he was the Pac 10 (12 or whatever they call the conference now) special teams player of the year last season. I agree about Chaun Thompson. I tried to watch him as much as possible during camp, and I saw a guy who looked lost at times. I realize he's a rookie, but you expect to see more from a second-round pick.

Gaboon40: I think everyone is aware of the implications of today's decision. My questions for the Insiders are many......

IF (that's a big IF) Holcolm works out like we all hope he does, what does that do to the future of the QB position? I don't think Kelly could be counted on for more than a few years (3 if we're lucky???). So, first question...if Kelly does indeed work out, do you re-do his deal in the off-season? I'd hate for them to treat him like the Squeelers are treating Maddux.

I realize Kelly is signed for a couple more years, but that obviously was designed for him as a back-up. Secondly, were the coaches feelings about Josh Booty a big part of their decision? I.E., they have to feel good about Booty as a back-up and sometimes starter for them to make this move, because the Browns will have to move Couch in the off-season. (Isn't this pretty much a given?)

Given starting QB's injury record, you have to assume that Kelly will not start all 19 games (plus even some in the pre-season! ) and Booty will have to start some. Lastly, say Kelly does a bang-up job, Booty does a good job as back-up/emergency starter, do the Browns in 2004 or 2005 draft a future QB in a high round? Or do they feel now that Booty has a chance to be a number one QB down the road?
Lots of what-ifs and major assumptions, but none out of the realm of possibility. Please, your thoughts.

Lane: It is extremely early in the process, just hours into the Holcomb era, but there going to be some serious considerations in the upcoming months if he does perform well and hold down the job.

The coaching staff likes Josh Booty and he would certainly fit into the plans of the organization.

What happens with Tim Couch will be the interesting situation. He will make over 7.5 million dollars in 2004, or I should say that he is scheduled to make that salary. The odds are regardless of the situation, whether he is the starter, a backup, or traded, he will not be making over 7.5 mil nextv season.

If the Browns decide to deal Couch, they will have a difficult time getting a deal done. First because of his contract and secondly because the Browns will never gain fair value for the player due to the circumstances here in Cleveland.

All being said, if Couch does not regain the starting job, the Browns most likely will be looking for a QB to team with Holcomb and Booty in the 2004 season.

But something tells me that Couch will be needed at some point during the 2003 season.

Ron: On Couch...if you look at it realistically, the Browns will not be able to deal the guy in the off season. He makes too much money...he's set to make 7.2 or 7.5 next year. What do they do? They release him. That's the most likely scenario and then Couch signs with another team for a far less value than the 7 mil plus.

That happens only if Holcomb proves he's the quarterback they are counting on him being.

As for Booty. Yea, he's a nice QB but if the Browns stick with Holcomb and Booty I think you'll see them draft another QB. I heard they showed interest in drafting Dave Ragone fairly high this past year but knew they'd have a logjam with Couch/Holcomb/Booty

LilBowWow: I was hoping we could keep Earl Holmes, But now I am really starting to like what Andra Davis can do. What is this young LB like, personality wise? I have never played football beyond High school but always think that the MLB is more like a QB of the defense and should be smart and a leader. Do you think Andra has what it takes?

Mike McLain: Andra Davis is one of the most down-to-Earth players on the team. He's deeply religious and often praises The Lord for his performances. Like the other young LBs, Davis has struggled at times in filling gaps. When he's made the right call, he's shown an ability to make sure tackles (this defense could use anyone with decent tackling skills). I think Davis has the smarts to be the QB on the defensive side. I'm not saying that he'll be the next Ray Lewis, but I think he'll move ahead of Barry Gardner, sooner rather than later.

ldhbrownsfan: Bodden seems to have fallen off the radar screen...any news on how he's doing now that crocker and lehan have signed? Also, any more opinions on how lehan looked (considering the high praise doled out during qb school and minicamp)? Thanks a ton.

Lane: With Crocker and Lehan finally in the mix, Bodden has lost time on the field. He has had some struggles and battles with inconsistency, but overall he has been a surprise. Lehan's play has leveled off, Crocker's play has improved since the mini-camps when he had some problems.

ldhbrownsfan:  Also, do you think  Bodden will be cut? Lehan will play defense (not just ST) this year? Crocker has shown glimpses at why he was taken in the 3rd? Thanks again.

Lane: Lehan has been the best of the three mentioned after the first few days since reporting to camp. He has great speed, but needs to play the ball while it is in the air better. Crocker has come on over the past 7-10 days, he has shown some of the skills that brought him to the Browns in the third round. I believe that both of these guys will supply some limited contributions in 2003. The arrival and improved play of Lehan and Crocker has put Bodden on the backburner with a possible role on the 5-man squad in the making.

Mike: Bodden was set back after he tore a leg muscle. When he returned, he was moved to free safety. Lehan and Crocker have looked decent. If Lehan can avoid leg pulls, he could be a steal for a fifth-round choice. I wouldn't be surprised if Crocker remains at free safety. Earl Little thinks Crocker has a chance to be an outstanding player.

Bennis: lane-we always give Tim the "benefit of the doubt", to Kelly hasn't completely outperformed Tim, big deal, as long as he's played even a little better, which seems to be the case then Holcomb should start....face it, Tim has reached his limit here, Holcomb simply outplays couch every time he plays...I'm sick of excuses regarding couch, 4years and a lotta $$ and we have a mediocre QB at best---go w/ KH. .Ron Haworski says "Holcomb processes' information a lot quicker than couch"-enough said..............

Lane: I don't disagree that Couch has been given the benefit of the doubt, especially while Holcomb produced in his absence.

In camp, Holcomb has appeared to be the better leader for this team, his quick decision making and ability to make big plays does excite Butch Davis.

Holcomb earned the opportunity to start, not just from his play last season, but throughout training camp where he was a step ahead of Couch.

I am somewhat surprised that Davis did name Holcomb the starter over Couch, it was and has been my impression that Davis did not want to make this move. We can also add that Davis and the coaching staff will save more than some face with this decision.

I wrote an article for the upcoming magazine that speaks of the competition and my thoughts on Davis having Couch as the starting QB to start the season.

So, while I believe that Holcomb presently has a grasp on this offense and the team rallies around him, I am surprised that Davis has named him the starter.

Now, I want to see how long Holcomb remains on the field when he struggles.


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