Here is what the Browns hope to accomplish in training camp:
1. Find a starting running back.
The Browns have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since 1985. Even including the three-year hiatus from 1996-98 when they did not exist, that's a long time, but now with Reuben Droughns, Lee Suggs and William Green they have three backs capable of reaching that barrier.
Coach Romeo Crennel will have to settle on one of the three, but just as each has potential, each comes with a question. Droughns rushed for 1,240 yards with the Broncos last year. Can he do it again? He rushed for a combined 97 yards in three previous seasons.
Lee Suggs rushed for 100 yards in each of his last three games. The question is whether he can remain healthy. He missed nine games with a shoulder injury as a rookie and then three on two separate occasions last year - first with a neck injury and then with a toe injury. For Green, the question is how dedicated will he be if he does not start. He worked hard in the offseason and Crennel believes in him.
2. Gain chemistry on the offensive line.
No segment of the Browns has drawn as much criticism in the last six years as the offensive line has. General Manager Phil Savage's first signing in free agency was Joe Andruzzi, a left guard from the New England Patriots, and about a week later he had a new right guard in Cosey Coleman, the former Buccaneer. Andruzzi played on three Super Bowl champions and Coleman on one.
Six-year veteran L.J. Shelton is in his first year with the Browns. He was signed to play left tackle. Put it all together and it means no one will be lining up next to the player he lined up next to last year.
Andruzzi and Coleman were with the Browns through most of the offseason conditioning program, plus passing camp and minicamp. Shelton missed all that activity because he was with Arizona.
Because so many players have never been together before, the starters might see more action in training camp and preseason than they normally might. That will help from the chemistry angle, but it also means more wear and tear on the starters and less playing time for the backups.
3. Settle on two safeties.
Safety is the world of the unknown for the Browns. Brodney Pool, the second-round draft choice from Oklahoma, is a rookie and Sean Jones is just like a rookie; the second-round draft choice from 2004 missed all of last season recovering from knee surgery performed in June, 2004.
Pool impressed coaches during quarterback school and minicamp. He, Jones and Brian Russell, acquired in free agency from the Vikings, will contend for two starting spots. Chris Crocker will not go quietly, but he was a Butch Davis draft choice (as was Jones), so Crocker should not expect any favoritism from Crennel.
Crennel's 3-4 defense puts more pressure on the safeties than the 4-3 does.
The first-year coach wants good tacklers, which is why Robert Griffith and Earl Little are gone. Russell earned a tag for being soft as a tackler last year with
the Vikings. Jones was a bit of a head-hunter at Georgia, but it has been 18
months since he tackled anyone.
- TE Kellen Winslow Jr. has agreed to plead no contest to a charge of
failure to control his motorcycle during a May 1 accident. His fine is $150
and two points on his license, but the accident was costlier than that for
him because he will miss the entire 2005 season with a torn right ACL.
- K Phil Dawson was signed to a five-year contract extension. Financial
terms were not disclosed. Dawson is the team's career leader with an 82
percent field goal conversion rate and has six game-winning kicks in six
- The Browns were among teams watching LB Peter Boulware workout in
Tallahassee last week. They want him to be an every down linebacker and are
undecided whether to offer him a contract.