The press room in Berea this afternoon was jam-packed with the media starting ramping up for training camp, receiving credentials, and so forth. Reporters who aren't often in Berea were there, indicating the level of interest in the team's return to the practice field.
The press conference itself was relatively non-eventful, however, as there were no major revelations forthcoming from a confident Butch Davis. The Browns head coach once again took the opportunity to emphasize that he sees the level of competition the team will see for starting positions this summer is a positive, and expressed his continuing optimism for the upcoming season
Here are some of the key items from the news conference:
- Five players have not passed their physicals yet, and are not cleared to
go. Some are obvious, some are not. They are Sean Jones, Uyi Osunde, Antonio Garay, Keith Heinrich, and Adimchinobe Echemandu.
- Ross Verba, Kelly Holcomb, and Courtney Brown have passed their physicals
and are considered ready to go for the start of training camp.
- Kelvin Garmon, as we've been saying here, will start off training camp at
- Davis offered that the change that Jeff Garcia will have coming to
Cleveland from a West Coast offense will not be as significant as some may
speculate. The Browns head coach feels that there's nothing that Garcia will be asked to do that he
hasn't been asked to do before.
- The Browns haven't been talking to the Miami Dolphins about running backs, at
least not that the team was willing to discuss. This ties to Lane Adkins'
comments in Ask the
Insiders that there was nothing happening between the Browns and Dolphins,
contrary to some discussion board speculation.
- Davis downplayed any speculation that Kellen Winslow would be present at
the beginning of camp, referring to the contract negotiations as a "process"
and offering that Winslow "will be the most disappointed" by being unable to
participate in camp. As he is prone to do, the Browns head coach pointed to
others in the organization as being more involved with contract talks.
- Said that Kevin Bentley would be the first player in at weakside
linebacker on Day One of
Training Camp. He also said that Chad Beasley would be the first in at left guard on
Friday. I would read too much into those comments, however, as it is clear
that there will be open competition.
- Davis said that the team is on track to be running an offense that had a
running back and fullback in 60% of the time, but that the team is not in any
way giving up on multiple WR sets and other formations we've seen in the past.
Davis also did not shy away from the notion of rotating backs, saying that he
had done that before when he was at the University of Miami.
- Davis also did not back off a statement that Lee Suggs is the top guy at RB with Green needing to knock him off, but made it quite clear that training camp competition will decide the starter. If there are tentative leaders at positions like running back, weakside linebacker or left guard, it is clear that none of them should feel comfortable. Davis also did not claim any particular deadline for choosing a running back.
Expect more from today's press conference later today from Bernie's Insiders, as well as full coverage of training camp starting Friday afternoon.
Photo accompanying the article was originally taken at a 2003 press conference.