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ATI: The Latest Buzz

While Lane Adkins was breaking the news on Kellen Winslow's contract figures, our master of scoops was also talking about other subjects - like James Jackson's future with the team and whether there will be changes at safety. Lane, Mike and Barry offer their thoughts on these subjects and more in the latest highlights from our exclusive <A HREF="">Ask the Insiders</A> forum.

skippy54345: Jackson to Miami? Is this seriously being considered? And if so, what are the Browns looking to get in return?

Barry McBride: It's the subject of much media speculation, but that doesn't mean that there's anything real there. The team, of course, doesn't talk about it and Jackson says he hasn't heard anything about it (contrary to the reports from yesterday). What has come from the Miami side is that they might have an interest, but are concerned about Jackson's injury history.

Lane Adkins: Let me add this.................

The Miami Dolphins coaching staff has not been impressed with Travis Minor, the reserve backs in camp, nor with a couple players brought in for workouts.

At the present time, the Dolphins continue to monitor other team camps and the positional battles at the running back position.

Miami has talked to as many as 12-teams over the past two-weeks regarding a potential trade partner for a running back, but nothing solid has materialized.

Cleveland Browns running back James Jackson has been a player the Dolphins have shown a moderate level of interest in, but are not close to working a deal at this time.

DrFanMan: Lane-in your opinion, who on the Dolphins would we be interested in?

Lane Adkins: While not looking at specific players, depth along the offensive line may be out there......... Actually, if a deal were to be made, I would suspect a draft selection would be the trade. Personally, I believe Jackson has a place in this league.

BrownsMan2002: Hey guys, just a quick question about "Mean Mr" Mustard. How has he looked so far in camp and is there any chance that he will make this team? And with KWII already the starter, who would likely be the one cut instead, Sanders or Heiden? I'm still thinking Shea will be here for special teams but I could be wrong.

Mike McLain: I haven't been real impressed with Chad Mustard. He doesn't have enough speed, and I'm not sure he's a strong blocker. I think Shea's special teams work could help him, and Butch really likes Heiden. Sanders is slow. I think he's gone.

fatmanwalking: I remember during Green's first year, it was brought up he was not comfortable running with the H Back in front of him. This was because at BC, they ran primarliy one back sets. They eliminated those during the bye week and he ended up having that big day vs the Bengals. Now with a Smith being a permanent fixture on the field, has anybody heard if Green has overcome his problems running behind him? I am thinking that this maybe Green's downfall in taking the starting job away from Suggs. Have the Insiders heard anything about this?

Barry McBride: You know, that's a real interesting question, and something we should ask Green. I think, right now, he would say only positive things about it. Partially because he's fighting for a job, and partially because this particular fullback has a mission to help him (or Suggs) pile up yards.

The difference between the H-Back and a Fullback is pretty significant. Putting someone 6-6 in the backfield to frequently catch passes isn't the same as putting a human cannonball like Smith back there. Given that Smith's role is primarily to blow defenders up, I doubt that Green would have any problem with it. He doesn't seem to struggle following a fullback and undoubtedly likes anything that gives him a better chance to run.

Lane Adkins: One specific offensive coach on the staff tells us that Suggs appears more comfortable in the two-back set. While Green is beginning to show signs of adapting to the lead blocking fullback lined up in the backfield with him, he at times is either hesitant or does not read properly or quick enough. With a good few weeks left in camp, Green will have plenty of opportunities to adjust to the change.

Barry McBride: I talked to both Suggs and Green about this today. Suggs told me that he mostly had a 2-back set in college, and that it was a lot tougher getting used to the Browns scheme last year than shifting back to a fullback set this year.

When I talked to William about that, he responded pretty much like I thought he would. I'll see if I can get the audio clips up so you can hear it for yourself. Lee is very soft-spoken, so I don't know if that one will be good enough to put on the server.

Basically, both of these guys don't mind the adjustment because having someone like Smith in the backfield helps them out. They like this offense - a lot.

VTBrowns: I have been reading a lot of reports that Crocker is having a good camp, and that Butch is still looking at the FS. Do you think Butch will start Crocker over Little if he does great in the preseason games?

Barry McBride: Before today, I probably would have said no, but one thing is sort of bugging me.

Roosevelt Williams has also been having a good camp, and Butch didn't deny today that he might get a shot at being the nickel back. If you get the mag, you saw our interview with Williams, and we picked him to talk to because we thought he was an up-and-comer.

Well, Crocker is the current nickel back. If the team is looking at Williams as a nickel... then... well... you see where I'm going with this...

I'd say the secondary as a whole is looking good now, and Little always has shown a tendency to be wherever a ball is bouncing around in the air. He's got a knack. But you know that Butch likes both Crocker and Williams, and it's not beyond speculation that Little could wind up the odd man out.

This is just speculation spurred on by your question. Nothing more.

There's been no movement in the team's rotation in practice - Little is still the free safety with the 1's, and hasn't looked bad in practice. At the same time, some pieces might be falling into place if Butch decided he wanted to make a change.

BTW, the guy I've been most impressed with in the Browns backfield is Anthony Henry. I was watching him a lot more today (when not pounding away at PDA keys) and he's both making plays and doing well in coverage... to my eyes at least.

Lane Adkins: The Browns are absolutely locked in on Crocker at the free safety spot. He has had a very good camp, was extremely dedicated to the off-season workout program, and is a pretty solid athlete.

While Little may appear to have a nose for the ball, Crocker is a player the team believes is a developing player that positions, recognizes, and is as good or better in coverage and run support than Little.

Crocker, Anthony Henry, and Mr. Williams are fitting well into the Browns defensive scheme and rotation.

ERockRIP: Yeah, Little looks good in shells and then the games start and he can't tackle. Something has to change with our starting safeties. Tell me that they're still looking at safeties Barry.

Lane Adkins: I'm not Barry, but I'll chime in with this thought........

Positioning and tackling have been the biggest area of criticism the coaching staff has had when looking back at the 2003 season.

Griffith remains here due to a lack of players at the position as well as the experience factor. Davis could not continue to move vets off the roster he acquired in FA, which ultimately has created issues with players and agents around the league in questioning Davis' word.

Griffith and Little were the starting safeties in 2003, why would much improvement be expected in 2004? Unless the defensive line and linebackers step-up their game and improve in run support.

Experience should help with the serious issue of over-pursuit this team was noted for last season, but if a back gets into the secondary with Griffith and Little back there, it will spell trouble

JocMan: Solid take Barry. CT was given the opportunity to start without really earning it......while Crocker has to fight tooth and nail for the position. I like it. If Crocker is a competitor he will benefit from this situation. What are you thoughts on Jameson? I am starting to get one of those feelings that he may be on the block. Any insight is appreciated.

Barry McBride: I talked to Crocker today, and I'm thinking about turning this question into a full-fledged article. Basically the jist was that Crocker has been working exclusively at safety and is not only looking to compete for a role with the first team, but also is aware that others may be eyeing his role as the nickel back.

When I asked him about it, Chris said that the team hasn't discussed giving him playing time with the first team.

As far as Jameson is concerned, the safety position is always one of the hardest to gauge in practice. You can get a sense if the player can cover if you watch him all the time, but safeties tend to show up by making hard hits and picking off the ball. So, frankly, I think you can sometime be misled about whether safeties are doing well or not if they show up in enough big plays. It's the old "big hit" vs. the nuts and bolts of playing the position.

By the big hit standard, Jameson has done some things that make you pay attention, particularly when covering tight ends (he's been a Shea nemesis this year). I haven't been tracking him enough to say if his cover skills are sharp. If I were to summon spirits from a Oiuja board, they would probably tell me that guys like Curry might be pressing him and that he's a bubble player. Part of his future (like Shea's) may hinge on special teams.

My two cents.

skippy54345: How has Morgan looked in camp so far? I have read a few things regarding him not being able to hang on to the ball. Do you think that he will remain a starter throughout the season?

Mike McLain: Quincy missed Wednesday's practice with a sore left knee. I asked him about it afterwards, but he wasn't in much of a mood to talk. He said it's all right and is nothing to worry about.

Quincy has looked good at times in camp. Butch remains high on Morgan. I don't expect him to be on the bench too much, unless he drops way too many passes.

Soups: Now that "the Chosen One" is in camp and has a little extra coin in his pocket, how soon do we see KW swinging a deal with Shea to acquire #80? Maybe Shea should get one of the Poston brothers to negotiate the deal for him!

Mike McLain: Someone suggested to Winslow today that the Postons should represent Shea in negotiations. I asked Shea about going to another number, and he said he's not giving No. 80 away for nothing. He pointed out that Mark Campbell got $20,000 in Buffalo to give receiver Lee Evans his number.

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