High hopes have run into challenges and some weak performances, leaving the Cleveland Browns searching for answers. Looking to get an idea about the thoughts of those inside the organization, Bernie's Insiders recently talked to a prominent member of the organization, who spoke to us on the condition that his name not be used. We agreed.
We spoke to this individual, who will we name here "Simply Speaking", about a number of items important to Browns fans as this season heads down the home stretch. High among those is the disappointing performance of the offense in 2003, and how the team intends to improve during the upcoming off-season.
Here is What We've Been Told:
About the need to upgrade the offensive line:
"Again this off-season, we will take a long, hard look at the offensive line and determine our priorities. Needless to say, we have some issues upfront which we have to deal with and there will be some intriguing players available in free agency and the college player draft that we will have an interest in."
About the performance of the offensive line:
"Some of the players have played well at different times this season, which is part of the learning and growing process. That may sound a little company-line talk, but it is exactly the way we see it."
About the perception that offensive skill positions - which seemed like a
strength - has been chaotic in 2003:
Listen, Kelly Holcomb was the choice of this organization heading into the season and that hasn't changed. In training camp the coaching staff thought Holcomb was the better fit for what we were doing, it is as simple as that. I feel badly for William (Green), obviously he has some issues he must face and address in his personal life, before he and we can consider his future with us. William is a great talent and we support him, but he needs to do some things before he will step back on the field. We will help him all we can.
About the reasons behind the release of Kevin Johnson:
"The decision to release Kevin Johnson was not a difficult one to make in all honesty. Johnson, while being a productive receiver in this league did not provide us with the tools we are looking for from that spot on the roster. He had made some big plays for this team, but we believe his existence on the roster was holding back a budding star in Andre Davis and a couple other receivers we really want to get a good look at in Frisman Jackson and C.J. Jones. Remember, we never said Johnson couldn't play in this league, he can and will be successful, but the wide receiver position is a definitive strength of this roster and we have some tremendous athletes we want to get on the field."
About specific needs on offense:
Bottom-line, we need to be more consistent across the line, the overall play of the interior offensive line must improve and we would like to get a dominant offensive left tackle on the roster.
What does this mean? Stay tuned, but be ready for a very interesting off-season...