From ATI: Passing on the Mustard?

From our exclusive Ask the Insiders forum, here are the questions that Bernie's Insiders subscribers wanted answered. Managing Editor Barry McBride and the mysterious Owl stepped up to the plate to give their thoughts on whatever our subscribers wanted to know, including the reluctance to sign Peter Boulware, and the mysterious disappearance of big TE Chad Mustard...

Barry McBride: Exclusive tidbit on Chad Mustard*. The last time we saw Chad Mustard, he was at the rookie try-out camp showing the Browns what he could do. With the loss of both Kellen Winslow and Keith Heinrich in the last month, a number of questions have popped up on the forums about why Mustard hasn't been signed.

We've found out that Mustard actually came back to Berea last week and worked out for the Browns. The team's new brain trust, who don't have any ties to Mustard from the past, apparently have taken two looks at him and don't like what they see.

The passed on signing Mustard and brought in Keith Willis instead. Barring further injuries or a sudden change of heart, it appears that Mustard's days in Cleveland are over for good.

BrokenWing: Barry, just out of curiosity, what was it they didn't like? I thought he was supposed to be this phenomenal athlete.

Barry McBride: I don't have that specifically from the team, but I've thought that Mustard's biggest problem is that he wasn't fast for a tight end. Someone wrote on one of the forums a while back that "he runs like he has a lawnmower tied to his ass", which I think is an apt description of why the team passed. Like I said, I don't have that from our source, it's just my speculation.

The Owl: He can't catch the ball consistently.

Grumpy: I've often wondered why the Browns didn't try and convert him to OG and with the current team I've wondered if he couldn't be an OLB? Barry, Lane or Mike etc any insight on why he hasn't been considered for a change.

Barry McBride: I'm not sure that he has the right body type for either position. At OG, he had a nice height, but not the girth. Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman are better examples of the type of low-to-the ground stocky bodies that are hard to push around. I couldn't see him playing either position... he's right at TE in my opinion... just not fast enough.

* - If you aren't familiar with the Ask the Insiders forum, we will often post certain news items there first if they don't fit nicely into something like a front page article.

Hamster: Todd Steussie looks like he might be released or maybe even traded. He is a natual LT and doesn't fit on the Bucs.

Barry McBride: I believe that the chances that the Browns might have signed Steussie evaporated when they signed Spears. It would be a mild surprise to see them go after Steussie as well, although it would add depth at LT.

Steussie isn't a versatile player (he did awful at RT for the Bucs), which he has going against him. He would essentially eat up roster space waiting for Shelton to get hurt, which leads me to believe that the Browns won't pursue him at this point.

CBDawg: Who is this guy (Robinson, listed on roster)? Is he a RB or a TE? lists him as a RB, but in some other posts, he is mentioned as a TE. Does anybody have any more info?

Barry McBride: I found out more today... the mysterious Robinson was Dimitrius Robinson, a TE. Why someone put Roger Robinson on my roster, I have no idea. The Browns decided not to sign him to a contract... he was one of a couple of try-out players there this week, but as of now no deal for him.

Glabonne: Were you able to determine if the coaches or Savage actually want to pursue him? Or are they more in a lets see what we have in training camp them decide mode?

Barry McBride: Glabonne, I think they would be willing to take a chance on him if he was willing to take the right contract or submit to a workout in front of the coaches to prove that he's able to get back to being the same type of athlete that he was.

We've got the cap room, so it's probably worth taking a chance on him to see if he's even 80% of what he once was... but not if it costs you a lot of guaranteed money and future cap space. It's not worth risking a lot of 2006 or 2007 dead cap space for.

I think the team is doing the right thing. They would sign him, I believe, but on their terms and not based on hopeful thinking that this is the 2002 Peter Boulware.

(NOTE: Over the weekend it was reported that Boulware would not be able to work out for another month, and that the Browns would likely delay until they are able to see him workout)

YBD: Where's Ben Miller been lining up? Has there been any consideration (or sign) to using Mustard as a backup tackle?

Barry McBride:

1. Miller has been working out with the fullbacks

2. Mustard was given a look-see by the team during the tryout rookie camp and didn't get a contract offer then. Rather than bring him back when Winslow and Heinrich went down, the team went out and got two other players (Willis & Robinson). It doesn't look like the new braintrust is enamored with him.

enzy69: Boulware or Law? It would be great to get both if they are healthy but who would you rather get for browns & who do you think they have best chance at acquiring?

Barry McBride: In both cases, I believe the answer is Boulware. He is healthier right now - although not perhaps as healthy as he says - and I believe that improving the pass rush will be key for the team.

Right now, I'm concerned about the front seven, and Boulware would be a tremendous addition if he's back even most of the way.

Rumor is that there would be more competition for Law than Boulware (his price is going to be lower) and I think we need linebackers more than another defensive back right now.

The Owl: I'll be surprised if Law ends up here. That Lis Franc injury is difficult for anybody to come back from at 31, particuarly a DB with all the back-pedaling and sharp cutting he has to do.

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