Throughout the Browns' training camp in Berea, Bernie's Insiders will focus on players' thoughts as they get ready for the 2005 National Football League season.
We will bring you periodic bytes as the players conclude practice and meet with the media. These will include the words of veterans and rookies alike as coach Romeo Crennel and his staff puts together the best 53-man roster.
Q – It appears as though the coaches are putting a greater emphasis on specifics this year.
A – I've been under two coaches, but it seems to me that the emphasis in the NFL is all the same. They're coaching the same thing. How this coach gets it done, how that coach gets it done, that's where it varies. Sometimes, you go too hard and you miss the emphasis on techniques and assignments, where you can go too soft and the guys miss the physicality of the game. To gauge that in-between, that's the coach's judgment. And if he thinks this is the way we can get it done, we'll get it done.
Q – How do you see this coach compared to the other coach (Butch Davis last year)? Is this camp a little harder or a little easier?
A – This is not the hardest camp I've ever been through. But definitely this is the best schedule I've had as far as how the day as are how the days are worked out and our rest time.
Q – The Browns have said there will be a greater emphasis on the running game this year.
A – The offensive line . . . that's our bread and butter. We've got a lot of stuff to do to keep defenses from teeing off on us and running the ball is one thing we do. But running the ball, although it has a lot to do being the physical, it also has to do with knowing your assignments. Aggressiveness counts, but you have to know what you're doing first.
A – Definitely showing me how veterans do it. That's the main thing. Coming in here and being very professional about their jobs. Taking pride in what they do. Studying and doing the little things, showing me that after nine and six years, that guys still come in and be professional about their jobs and want to win.
Q – Have you been told that the club is counting heavily on you and Joe Andruzzi to shore up what has been a weak spot for several years?
A – We haven't talked more or less since they recruited me when I came up here on my visit. Things like that were mentioned to me that they were struggling and this was an every-year concern and they wanted to upgrade and that was the purpose of them bringing me in. Since I've been here, we've been pretty much full steam ahead. We're not looking back at the past as to what went on prior to Romeo (Crennel) getting here or why Butch Davis was here or anything like that. We're looking forward.
Q – This team has advertised it's going to run the ball a lot.
A – I'm a guard. I like to run block. I like to move people out of the way. If we're doing that up front, we're doing a good job. That helps us in the passing game. It helps offensive linemen wear down defensive linemen so they can't rush the passer, as well as open up passing lanes because the defense has to play honest and respect the run.
Q – Where do you believe your strength lies?
A – I've done it all. To say where my strength lies, I couldn't pinpoint it. I feel I'm just a good football player. I try to listen and receive what the coaches are giving me from an assignment standpoint and I go out each and every Sunday trying my best to meet the expectations.
Q – Are coaches giving you any input as to what they'd like to see out of you?
A – From a standpoint of assignments, X's and O's, we haven't really got the details of what I expect out of Cosey Coleman. But I know what's expected out of the right guard position.
Q – You've got some pretty good running backs behind you.
A – Yes we do. We've got three guys out here working and competing and busting their butts. It's going to be exciting to see which one they name the starter. But whoever they've got back there, they're all explosive and as long we're doing what we do up front, I guarantee something good will happen.
Q – You can't stop smiling
A – This was my team growing up, so it's a thrill to be out here. Every day. To be out here and with some of the athletes you grew up watching. I've always been a Browns fan. You see faces. It's like "Wow!" This guy's good, that guy's good. And I've got to get on the field with them.
Q – It's been almost a week since camp began. What's been going through your mind?
A – It's tough. The hardest thing is you don't want to mess up. You're out here trying your best. The coaching staff's awesome. I don't feel like a rookie. They make me feel good out here. They treat you just like everybody else.
Q – Do they encourage you?
A – They encourage you and give you every opportunity to succeed. That's all I can ask for.
Q – How would you assess your performance so far?
A – I go out every day and give it my best. I go out and do all I can do and let the coaches decide.
Q – Has this experience lived up to your preconceived ideas of what this camp would be like?
A – Definitely. I knew it was going to be tough coming up here. I knew the game was faster. But the thing that's the nicest is just how well these guys treat you.
Q – Do you find yourself able to keep up with the faster pace of the pro game?
A – I find myself able to keep up. There's always those lapses you have. Just depends on how lazy I get (laughs).