Upbeat Browns Open Camp

Long-time Browns writer Fred Greetham has joined the staff of BerniesInsiders.com and reports on today's activities at training camp. We're delighted to have Fred - who has covered the Browns for Browns News-Illustrated, the Associated Press, and the Browns themselves - join our team here at Bernies, as we crank up the coverage of the 2005 Browns!

Optimism abounds in Berea as the Browns officially kicked off their 2005 season in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd ready for some football.

Coach Romeo Crennel broke the players in with a 90 minute workout in shorts and shells.

The players went through conditioning (Thursday)," Crennel said after his first practice as an NFL head coach. "I'm really looking forward to tomorrow (Saturday) when we put on the pads."

Quarterback Trent Dilfer is ready for camp.

"It's exciting to go in the huddle and get started," he said. "I can feel the passion of the city about this team and I'm excited to be a part of it and get it started."

Veteran players welcomed the approach as opposed to the Butch Davis regimen of practices that some players felt took too much out of them in camp.

"He sees training camp as the most important thing is to have guys ready to start the season," Daylon McCutcheon said.

Offensive tackle Ryan Tucker and linebacker Brant Boyer ended the 2004 season on injured reserve and were glad to get back to camp.

"I'm really excited," Tucker said. "We have a new system. It's a new year and we have the chance to get a fresh start."

"It's a fresh start," Boyer said. "We have new players, new coaches and a new system."

McCutcheon has a lot of confidence in Crennel's approach.

"He's won everywhere he's been," McCutcheon said. "You can't come into camp any other way than to be optimistic.

"I think this is a whole different team from last year," McCutcheon said. "If you look at the roster, we have a whole different team."

McCutcheon is right there. Of the 91 players listed on the training camp roster, only 39 were on the roster a year ago—nearly 60 percent turnover.

 "I can see where everybody's thinking we're going to have a long season," Boyer said. "There's going to be skepticism and the unknown factors of how we'll come together.

"I'm not going to make any predictions, but we are going to surprise a lot of people," Boyer said. "We have quality people and a quality organization with people of good character."


MISSING IN ACTION: As the training camp opened, No. 1 draft choice Braylon Edwards was the lone player missing.

READY TO GEL: The Browns are hoping to use training camp to pull their offensive line together. L.J. Shelton was brought in to replace Ross Verba at left tackle.

"We just want to get ready for the season," Shelton said. "We have time to work together and get our timing down during camp. By the time the season starts, we'll have no excuses."

Tucker is excited about the additions brought in to upgrade the line.

"With (Joe) Andruzzi, Shelton, (Cosey) Coleman—all veteran guys coming in, we should be a lot better," Tucker said. "I'm really looking forward to playing with those guys."

THREE'S A CROWD?: One of the interesting battles in training camp looms with Lee Suggs, William Green and Reuben Droughns battling for playing time. Suggs is the incumbent after rushing for over 700 yards, including three 100-yard games to finish the season.

"I'm trying to use the momentum from the last three games from last year," Suggs said. "I'm ready to get going. In the NFL, you never have too many running backs."

LOGJAM AT WIDE RECIEVER: The wide receiver position appears deep with Antonio Bryant, Dennis Northcutt, Andre Davis, Richard Alston, Frisman Jackson and C.J. Jones returning from a year ago. Add in Braylon Edwards and Josh Cribbs to the mix and the numbers could be interesting.

"We have a lot of numbers there," Davis said. "I feel we're deep and that is a strength."

Davis has been mentioned in trade rumors.

HELD OUT: CB Daylon McCutcheon, LS Ryan Pontbriand, OL Craig Osika and LB Brant Boyer were held out of practice with minor injuries. Crennel said none of the injuries were serious.

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