From the response of the callers to my television show, you would think that the Browns just traded an All-Pro wide receiver (Andre Davis) to the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots for just a fifth round pick next year. Those callers didn't think that the Browns got enough for a guy who was picked in the second round in 2002.
Just because Butch Davis and Pete Garcia over-rated Andre Davis, doesn't mean somebody else should do that, too. Once the Browns determined that Joshua Cribbs could fill the kick-return duties, and be a backup wide receiver, there wasn't a great need to keep the oft-injured Davis, who would have demanded a big money contract next year.
Certainly, Davis was a serviceable receiver for the Browns, and he may flourish with New England. Plus there was no guarantee that Davis would even make the club. He already made it known that he wouldn't be happy being the fourth or fifth receiver, nor was he thrilled about returning kicks again this year.
Davis will always be in
the Browns record books for his 99 touchdown catch and run from Jeff Garcia,
but he never lived up to the promise he showed early in his career.
There have already been some pleasant surprises during training camp and the first two exhibitions, notably Charlie Frye and Joshua Cribbs, but a high-ranking Browns official told me that the real surprise, on a different level, is running back William Green.
According to the official, the coaching staff should be credited with setting realistic goals and expectations, and Green has been able to meet them within the team structure.
When Reuben Droughns was
acquired, along with Lee Suggs, who showed flashes of brilliance last year,
it appeared that Green would be the odd man out this year. But with
Droughns and Suggs suffering from minor injuries this year, Green has gotten
a second chance and has made the most of it. At this point, if all running
backs were healthy, it would still be a three-way tie for the starting
position, with Sultan McCullough not that far behind.
The current Browns playbook doesn't have a special section for Joshua Cribbs, but they are working on it. The coaching staff has visions of Pittsburgh's Slash (Cordell Stewart) and Antwaan Randel El. Some people are suggesting that Cribbs can be as versatile (i.e. offensively and defensively) for the Browns as Troy Brown was for New England. Romeo Crennel saw Brown up close last year, and may eventually be receptive to using Cribbs the same way.
Right now, Cribbs says
he's practicing every day as if his job depends on it. That's the way it
should be, but Cribbs wrapped up a job a couple of weeks ago, as evidenced
by the Browns getting rid of Andre Davis.
I had a brief conversation with Browns President John Collins, and I walked away pretty well convinced that any thoughts of moving training camp to Columbus are a thing of the past. Several teams that moved training camps away from home in recent years have returned. Collins cited the big effort, as well as the inconvenience that would be involved to move the entire operation just for a couple of weeks. The marketing advantages such a move would bring wouldn't be worth the effort.
In addition, the Browns were bombarded with protests from fans regarding the potential move. The new organization apparently isn't ready to make waves when it doesn't have to.
‘More Sports & Les Levine' can be seen M-F from 6-7pm with replays at 11pm on Adelphia Channel 15 in northeast Ohio. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or www.leslevine.com