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. Today, we talk with running back Sultan McCullough, cornerback Dyshod Carter, defensive end Orpheus Roye, rookie linebacker Kevin Harrison and linebacker Ivory McCoy.
Q – How do you pronounce your first name?
A – Soo-tawn, Soo-tawn McCullough
Q – There are quite a few good running backs in this camp. I notice you've let the coaches know that you're here, too. Is that working?
A – It's a business. You know how it goes. You've got three good running backs (in camp). Who needs three good running backs because all three of them can't run the ball? But they could run the ball on another team. You've got three superstars. Two of them aren't going to play. One will play, but not as much as the starter. The third one really won't have a chance to play at all. The situation that everybody is in, I'm the last person, but I'm still here. There are four people in camp and only three running backs played (in the first exhibition game) because Reuben (Droughns) is down.
Q – You got your shot on Saturday (against the New York Giants).
A – If I wasn't here, that's two backs. That's two backs playing four preseason games. I'm figuring they want to see if I can play or just work hard and get better. Right now, when I got out there and make plays, it's going to open me up to 31 other teams.
Q – Are you playing as much for other teams as you are for this team?
A – I'm playing to be here. I don't want to be anywhere else. This is my home. This is where I want to be at. This is where I want to end my career – as a Cleveland Brown. My whole thing has been the Cleveland Browns. That's all I know. And that's what I'm going to go with.
Q – Are you using that as incentive?
A – Got to. It's a business. You really have to look at it from a business standpoint. I'm going to work hard and keep working hard and whatever they do, they do.
Q – What are the coaches telling you?
A – Not too much. Right now, it's all about the three backs because it's a hot commodity, the three backs going for the starting job. They've got an idea what's going to happen. You've got (people) working upstairs that have done football all their life and deal with the ins and outs. So they know what's going to happen. I've just got to stay above water and keep working hard and keep getting better.
Q – You played at a program (USC) that, at one time, was called Tailback University. How does that factor in your chances to make this club?
A – I got a lot of tradition over there and I know I can get better. But I'm in a situation where you've got a first-rounder (William Green) as the third back, you've got a 1,200-yard runner from Denver (Droughns) as the second back and you've got Lee Suggs, the starter from last year. So you've got three good backs. All I can do is learn from them and get better.
Q – What attributes do you bring to this team that you believe can make it better?
A – I've got speed. Speed kills. That's something you can't teach. I've got a lot of teammates I played with in college in the Pac-10 who know me personally and know I can play and they've got confidence in me and know I can make the team and that I should be here. So if I've got my team with me, that's all I need.
Q – You seem to be getting more and more reps. Is this a situation where you believe you've a real good shot at making this club because of that?
A – Yeah, you just want to go out there every day and try to get better. We've got a good group of guys here and everybody's competing to get on the field. Each and every practice we go out there and go hard.
Q – You're going up against some pretty good receivers every day in practice. Does that make you that much better?
A – It's good going against (Dennis) Northcutt, A.B. (Antonio Bryant), Andre Davis, Fris (Frisman Jackson) and all those guys. They all can run and they're strong at the same time. Going against them every day makes it a lot easier come Saturday in the preseason game.
Q – How in general has camp gone for you?
A – You can always do better. There's always something you see on film that you could get better at. Each and every day, I'm just trying to get better out there.
Q – Different defense for you this season. Different attitude?
A – Yes it is. You've to be real mind strong in this defense. Got to be real smart. There's a lot of checks you've got to do, a lot of formation adjustments you've got to make. You have to be real head strong in this defense.
Q – Are you finding it difficult in that regard?
A – Not really. They're taking time for us to make sure we learn everything. They've come along easy.
Q – Are you finding it like déjà vu, you left Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense to come here and play the 4-3 and now you're back in the 3-4?
A – Yeah, it's kind of weird. I never thought I'd get back into a 3-4 again. It's kind of like "wow, I never thought of that." It's kind of good, different. It's another challenge for me.
Q – Are you finding similarities in this 3-4 compared to the one you ran in Pittsburgh?
A – It's pretty much the same technique. Just a different philosophy in the scheme. It's pretty much the same technique as far as the end (is concerned). The blocking schemes, the disguises, this allows you to do different things.
Q – Do you find the muscle memory for the 3-4 is coming back?
A – Yeah, it's coming back. You watch film. I've got to go back and watch Pittsburgh and watch how some of the guys played to give me a reminder how I used to play it. It comes back now and then knowing the technique you've got to use to play this defense.
Q – Your first exhibition against the New York Giants (last Saturday night) wasn't the greatest. Something to build on?
A – We were putting in a new defense. A lot of guys were anxious to go out there and hit somebody and lost contact with their technique. It was one of those games where you want to shake those cobwebs out.
Q – What was the coach's approach after that game?
A – He just said we had to get better. We're still in training camp, so we can still fix things, try to figure out the little things so when we open up against Cincinnati, we can be on all cylinders and rolling.
Q – Dumb question. You're a MAC guy (Eastern Michigan) and a rookie. Did you feel out of place here at first?
A – I didn't, but you know how it is when you're a rookie. You're on the bottom and you've got to work your way up.
Q – How would you grade your progress so far?
A – I think I'm doing pretty good, being a rookie. I've to got to take my opportunities when I get them.
Q – Are you getting enough reps to show them what you think you can do?
A – For what's good for the team I am.
Q – When you think of linebackers, you think of some a little taller than yourself (he's six feet tall). Do you use this as incentive?
A – I never even thought of it like that. I just go out there and play . . . play physical and fast.
Q – What kind of feedback are you getting with the coaches?
A – I'm doing good with the reps I'm getting. I just have to keep it up. When you're a rookie, you don't get a lot of reps. But you've got to be ready because you never know when your name is going to be called.
Q – In college, you played outside. Here's they've got you inside. Feel a little strange there?
A – At first, I did, but now, I'm starting to get comfortable with it. I actually like it.
Q – What's the biggest difference?
A – I see more of the whole defense from left to right. On the outside, it's kind of like tunnelvision. You're looking in on only a couple of things. When you come in the middle, you've got to see the whole formation.
Q – You seemed very active in the exhibition game against the Giants. Is that your style?
A – What happened was I got in the game in the second quarter because one of the guys was a little tired, so they threw me into the fire. It was my first time playing outside linebacker in a game-time atmosphere. I'm really enjoying it. I appreciate them giving me the opportunity to do so.
Q – Where did you play before?
A – My first three years (in the NFL), I played defensive end. I was 15-20 pounds heavier (he's 6-3, 240 nopw). In college (Michigan State), I played D-end, outside linebacker and tight end.
Q – You're the kind of guy the coach likes, somebody who has played defensive end and can rush the passer, but somebody who is tall enough and wide enough to play outside linebacker as well. Is this the kind of a defense you're feeling comfortable in?
A – I'm loving it. I'm enjoying it. I'm having so much fun out here. I'm starting to get the reads down and the responsibilities as far a linebacker is concerned. I'm trying to learn as much as I can. I'm really enjoying playing in the 3-4.
Q – So when you went out there Saturday night, it had to be with a lot of confidence.
A – Yeah. I knew what I was doing and I just wanted to go out there and have as much fun as I possibly could and also get the job done.
Q – You looked at the films of the game. Were you satisfied with what you did and if so, in what way?
A – I wasn't completely satisfied. I need to work on some things as far as my drops, reacting to the ball when the quarterback sets up to throw the ball, breaking on the ball. I need to get a lot better at that. I can do that out here in practice. I still have a lot to work on.