Browns Scuttlebutt: 9/9

The file says TOP SECRET: OBR SUBSCRIBER EYES ONLY. And it means it, for John Taylor has gotten the very latest scoop on who is likely to play and/or start against the Saints, as well as the truth behind rumors which continue to swirl around potential backup quarterbacks Billy Volek and Drew Henson. There's one place to find out - right here - but only if you hold a Total Access Pass...

What we're being told…

---The Browns have had internal discussions regarding several quarterbacks, including the Titans' Billy Volek.  However, at this time, there are no plans to add another veteran QB to the roster.

As the discussions relate to Volek, they have been general in nature and the Browns have yet to contact the Titans regarding the veteran QB.  Tennessee officials and representatives of Volek have contacted the Browns in an attempt to gauge the club's potential as a trade partner, but came away, a source said, feeling that there is very little interest in Volek right now.

That could change, however, regarding Volek or any other QB as the front office and coaching staff will re-evaluate the backup QB situation "after the first month or so of the season".

---Another QB that has been discussed internally and rumored nationally of drawing the Browns' interest is Drew Henson.  And, despite the reports that Henson may be visiting Cleveland in the very near future, there are no plans for a visit by Henson to the Browns.

Henson will be visiting the Colts early next week, though, The OBR has learned.

---It's a "99.9 percent certainty" that rookie D'Qwell Jackson will start at inside linebacker on Sunday, a source tells The OBR.

Jackson, who seemingly had the job won after Chaun Thompson went down with a calf injury, struggled to take anything other than baby steps in defending the pass over the course of training camp and allowed Thompson to re-enter the race.

Defending the pass has been Jackson's Achilles heel since the start of camp.  In his first pre-season game, he bit on a play fake and was out of position on a swing pass that resulted in a touchdown.  That trend continued throughout the pre-season schedule and into the finale, where Jackson bit on yet another fake and allowed the tight end to find a soft spot in the middle of the end zone for yet another TD.

Later in the same game, Jackson was beaten down the middle for a long gain by the TE, although it did take a nearly-perfect pass to complete.

In spite of that lack of improvement, Thompson—after showing brief flashes of brilliance in his first pre-season action (the club's third)—did little to build on that momentum.

One factor pushing the staff toward starting Jackson in the opener is the opposition.

The Saints are predominately a run-oriented team, and Jackson is stouter against the run than Thompson.  Jackson is instinctive against the run, while Thompson simply isn't.

--- A Browns source tells The OBR that the Browns "are leaning toward" starting the recently-acquired Hank Fraley at center in the season opener.

The source stressed that it was the slightest of leans, calling to mind a middle-aged suburban guy gently shifting his weight toward the arm rest rather than a full-fledged, pimped-out gangsta lean.

Lennie Friedman took the majority of the snaps with the first team offense during the portions of practice that were open to the media, but Friedman and Fraley basically shared time with the starting unit during the closed sessions.  Fraley is still adjusting to the differences in terminology the Browns utilize, but the fact that he's a veteran of 71 NFL starts at the position and he has two veterans on either side of him to help make line calls has helped to speed up this process.

As it stands now, head coach Romeo Crennel is publicly calling a decision between starting Fraley or Friedman a game-time decision

---The Browns and William Green reached an injury settlement yesterday, meaning that the five-year veteran is an unrestricted free agent and is free to sign with any team.  That includes the Browns, but, per league rules, he would not be permitted to re-sign with the club until the beginning of November at the earliest.

By and large, that is merely a technicality. The Browns have zero interest in re-signing Green unless they are hit by injuries at the running back position between now and when he's eligible to return.

Only then would the organization even begin to consider bringing Green back into the fold.

---Earlier in the week, a source told The OBR that safety Brian Russell was "highly, highly unlikely" to play against the Saints Sunday.

Yesterday, the same source reiterated that stance, saying that "he's not had any type of setbacks, but the medical staff is concerned that he could bust the stitches open or cause damage that would keep him out longer."

The stitches, of course, come from surgery performed on the defensive back's elbow last week to remove a burst bursa sac.

Much like the center situation, Crennel said that Russell will be a game-time decision.  Should Russell be a no-go, Sean Jones would move from strong safety to free safety, with Brodney Pool taking over for Jones.

But, barring a sudden and unexpected change of heart by the medical staff, Russell will not be cleared medically to play.


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