Davis Happy with Final Day of Rookie Practice

Butch Davis breathed a small sigh of relief after a better performance by his offensive linemen during practice in Berea today. Davis singled out four linemen who he felt acquitted themselves well. Also, some notes from Carmen Policy's chat with reporters in Berea. <I>Available to all Bernie's Insiders visitors.</I>

Butch Davis couldn't have been more pleased with the way the final day of limited practices ended Thursday morning.

Then again, after watching linemen jump offside on Tuesday, anything would have looked good to the Browns coach.

The showing of the offensive line was on the top of Davis' list of positives. The group, which is minus all of the players expected to start, held up well in the inside running drills that are the highlight of these early practices.

"We had today maybe as good of an inside run (drill) as we've had with any group at anytime last year," Davis said. "We had some guys on the offensive line that did very well."

Davis singled out offensive linemen Melvin Fowler, Qasim Mitchell, Brad Bedell and Konrad Dean.

Keep an eye on Fowler, the third-round draft choice. He's been working at center in the absence of Dave Wohlabaugh, but Davis plans to split Fowler's time between guard and center when the vets join the fun Friday.

Fowler is impressive, on and off the field. He doesn't seem the least bit intimidated. With left guard a large question mark, don't be surprised if Fowler makes a run at the starting job.

TAKING IT EASY: Middle linebacker Earl Holmes, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last month, was a bystander at Thursday's practice. Davis said that he would give Holmes periodic rests.

"It's nothing big," Holmes said. "When I'm well, I'm hell. I'm in no rush. They know I can play."

Here are a few remarks made by Carmen Policy during a chat session with a few reporters on Thursday:

ON MAKING THE PLAYOFFS: "I'm not saying that we will make the playoffs or that we're entitled to make the playoffs," Policy said. "I'm saying that with all the progress we made last year and during the offseason, we'd be disappointed if we didn't make the playoffs."

ON BUTCH DAVIS: "When we hired Butch Davis, I certainly thought we got a skill set, an intense personality and a high dose of leadership," Policy said. "We also got a rare quality that a lot of coaches think they possess, but they don't, and that is the ability to evaluate talent, young and old. What I found is that I understated that. I feel that if we don't win, it's got to be our fault. Someone else has to be doing something wrong."

ON THE FUTURE: "The good news is, if we win this year and make the playoffs, we're going to be in a (financial) position to keep growing and get better for several years to come. We're not in salary-cap hell. We're very healthy in that regard, and we're a young team."

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