Highlights from "Ask the Insiders"

Why did Courtney Brown (above) suddenly come on strong against the Steelers? Is he become a leader on the team? These questions and more were fielded by Insiders Mike McLain, Dave Carducci, and Lane Adkins in our exclusive Ask the Insiders forum...

DAWGED: Has C. Brown become a vocal leader? During the Steelers game, I saw Courtney pull the defensive linemen together, and talking to them as a group. Is this new or does he just dislike the Steelers?

Mike McLain: No one really knows what Courtney is thinking since we haven't seen him in the locker room since early in training camp. He met wit the media then at the request of the PR department, but that's been it as far as interviewing No. 92.

It does look like Courtney has been more vocal, but don't expect a major change in his style. As far as disliking the Steelers, I don't think that's the case. Courtney isn't the type to dislike anybody or any team.

Nutz75: After Watching CB this year, he actually seems faster than last year and seems to be getting more pressure in a consistant basis. Are we finally gonna see something from this young guy?

David Carducci: I think more than being faster, Courtney appears to be getting more and more comfortable with some of the pass rush techniques Davis talked about his trying to master in the past two years.

I always believed Courtney tried to rely too much on his speed in the past. Courtney is using his hands better now than he ever has, and he appears to be much more physical.

Too often, Courtney would try to beat his man to the outside, but on several occasions he simply fought through Ross and Fordham. The most encouraging and impressive play of the day was his pressure of Maddox on McCutcheon's interception. Courtney simply bulled between the double-team of Ross and Faneca.

I don't think anyone ever questioned Courtney's physical abilities, and anyone who has watched Courtney had to like his work against the run and getting off blocks, but for the first time we are seeing him try some new ways to get the quarterback and be more physical than ever in the pass rush.


Ramllov: Did Faine improve enough yesterday? Did he have a good game? Is he continuing to improve? Has he started to take charge of the offensive line? When would a rookie take over that type of responsibility? Is it too soon for him to take charge? Do we have to wait till next year? What happened to the offensive line yesterday? It was a pretty impressive performance.

Mike McLain:
Jeff Faine has done about what can be expected of a rookie center. He hasn't dominated anyone, but he's improved each week. I particularly like the way he's getting the ball back to the quarterback in the shotgun, which was a problem early on.

The thing you need to know is that center is about as hard as any position to learn as a rookie, with the exception of quarterback. The fact he's holding his own is a positive sign for the future.

Another thing about being a rookie offensive linemen is that the rookie wall might hit earlier than it does for other players. The Tuesday morning soreness is a heck of a lot worse than it is when going up against college players.

Ramllov: Could the Browns win 3 or 4 games prior to the Next Pittsburgh game?  I wonder how many insiders or fans could honestly say they would have been happy if the Browns would be 3 - 3 after six games, when they looked at the schedule in August. Every one thought the wins would be Bengals, Balitmore and one upset, probably SF. Could the Browns be 7 - 3 or 6 - 4 prior to going into the home stretch of the schedule?

Mike McLain: The best you can hope for is 3-2 over the next five weeks. The possible wins, of course, are at home to Oakland, San Diego and Arizona. If the Browns go 4-1 over that stretch, you can begin thinking playoffs.

Sexco: How much do fans that act out against the players really hurt a team? Is this something FA's might look at and think again before coming to a place that has a problem with fans, not saying we are there yet but wondering if it continues to get worse will it hurt getting good players and keep those we have? Thanks

Lane Adkins: The actions of the fans can be expected. To see a team play that has had its problems on the home-field is something taken personally, by the fan and especially by the team.

A couple players on the roster have told me that they believe the team presses at home, because they haven't been consistent or successful at home.

The players understand why the fans are upset, they are as well. Thus is much of the reasoning behind the outburst from a couple players recently with fans when the players were verbally 'hammered' heading off the field.

donodawg: Where are we at with our safeties? Robert Griffith has alternated really strong games (Indy, SF, Pittsburgh) with really bad looking play (Balt, Cinci). Is it really him, or does Campo bear some responsibility for a bad defensive game plan with Baltimore and Cincinnati that didn't utilize RG to his strengths or left him out of position to make plays?

Little sign of Jameson - have the Browns given up on him as an alternative at strong safety? If Griffith goes next year, is it necessary to replace him as starter with someone not currently on the roster? On the free safety side, is Chris Crocker the heir apparent to replace Little, or is he strictly a nickel back? It seems like a stretch for the Browns to hope to replace both safeties with free agent/draft next year. Is that the plan, nonetheless?

Mike McLain: You can't blame Campo for the defensive breakdowns against Baltimore and Cincinnati. Griffith was in place on Chad Johnson's long TD pass, but he simply didn't adjust quick enough. Poor tackling was the problem against the Ravens. Michael Jameson's stock slipped after a so-so preseason. He can't be counted on to replace Griffith, assuming he's gone after this season.

Chris Crocker has been a big surprise, and, yes, he could be the free safety or a cornerback of the future. Earl Little recently told a reporter that Crocker is going to be an outstanding player. Crocker is one of the most intelligent and mature rookies I've been around. He looks like a great third-round pick.

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