Finally, head coach Romeo Crennel is admitting what has been painfully obvious to even the most casual observer of the 2006 edition of the Cleveland Browns.
The loss of LeCharles Bentley to a season-ending knee injury will be felt for the entire '06 season. And, regardless of what is done between now and next training camp at the position, the hole left by the Pro Bowl center can only be filled by one person.
"I don't care what we do, you can't replace a two-time Pro Bowler," Crennel said.
"We don't have that yet. You never know how Bentley would have fit in and exactly how much he would have brought to the table. You have to feel like he would have brought a lot to the table with the talent he has. He would have been able to solidify some things on the inside, and now we're just not as solid."
Yesterday, speculation was running rampant that wide receiver Braylon Edwards could potentially play a few snaps in Saturday's pre-season tilt versus the Bills.
Today, that speculation has been somewhat tempered by no less than the man in charge of who plays and who doesn't: general manager Phil Savage.
Haha, got ya.
It's Crennel, of course, doing the tempering of one of the few positive injury stories to come out of Training Camp '06.
"We feel good about his progress, but we're going to be cautious and conservative as far as he's concerned," Crennel told reporters.
Edwards practiced Monday in full pads in 11-on-11 team drills for the first time since returning from off-season knee surgery. He also practiced in the afternoon without his ever-present knee brace, a fact that "mysteriously" changed during the lone practice yesterday.
Crennel told reporters that somebody might have whispered to Edwards about the need to continue wearing the knee brace for the foreseeable future.
One of the many threads that have been woven into this edition of Browns' training camp is the veteran off-season acquisitions providing not only production on the field but also mentoring and tutoring off of it.
Ted Washington providing vet guidance to not only his fellow defensive lineman but the team as a whole.
Joe Jurevicius being the silent mentor to the entire receiving corps, showing more with his actions and professionalism than with boisterous speech.
Now, you can add Reuben Droughns to the list of veterans taking a youngling under his wing. While not a 2006 off-season acquisition, the seventh-year RB is joining his newest teammates in imparting his wisdom to the latest camp sensation.
And the rookie out of
"He gives me little tips on things I wouldn't have a clue about unless I had played. He gives me the heads up on what to look for, where the blitz is coming from. He's a great guy for a rookie to learn from."
While these feel-good blurbs do not portend great gains in the '06 win column, they sure cannot hurt.
Coach Crennel is not one to suffer a holdout with a shrug and a smile. Particularly a rookie one.
a third-round pick out of
Slowly but surely, though,
"The thing that he has done is he's been able to make some plays on the ball even in practice and in the games, so that's a good sign," Crennel said. "And he is trying to make a contribution on (special) teams."
Ex-Browns defensive tackle Jason Fisk was roasted by fans for his lack of
production almost as much as he was scorched by the opposition's interior
offensive line during his short stint in
But, you have to give the 12-year veteran credit for one thing. He knew he was not the optimal tackle for the 3-4 defense even as the coaching staff tried to make do with his round peg in their square hole.
"(The 3-4) really was a bad fit. I played that last year in
"They play a true 3-4 where the nose tackle is standing right in front of the center trying to hold up space. I managed to learn how to do that, but you want a bigger guy in there, a 330-pound or 340-pound guy that just eats up space, and I'm not that guy."
Are people beginning to understand why the Browns would sign a 38-year-old behemoth to man the interior of the defensive line?
…oops, sorry about that. Must've dozed off. Now, what was I talking about again?
QUOTE OF THE DAY:"I got my résumé ready in my locker. Hey, whatever helps to make the team a little better, that comes before your pride. You have to focus on the team more than yourself. I think he's a great talent. He'll only help this team."—running back Reuben Droughns, on fellow RB Jerome Harrison.