The Browns have a veteran line with new members and injured players. I read that the new center is not a strong run blocker. He appears to have a good weight of 320 pounds. Can it be said that this offensive line is a work in process? How good can this offensive line become this year? - Ron Vollmar
Since when is 320 pounds a "good" weight?
How good can this line be? I don't know. It had better get better, though. And quickly.
Every team in the league will watch film of the Baltimore game and see how the Ravens brought pressure to Charlie Frye. And they'll do the same thing.
Until the Browns stop the blitz, they'll get the blitz.
What's the best way to stop the blitz? By running the ball.
This all seems to point to one group coming through: the line you speak of.
What are the chances of Travis Wilson making an impact this season? - Lucius Sanford
Based on the first three games, I'd say slim to none. Especially since Joe Jurevicius should take more of his plays once Jurevicius is healthy.
Is there any chance of the secondary being bolstered before the week six trade deadline. Daven Holly and Ralph Brown aren't cutting it. What's the chance of Brodney Pool being moved to nickel and another corner being brought in to play the fourth cornerback and fill in for Baxter whenever his $30 million dollar pectoral injury flares up. - Chris R
Well, that was what I would call a statement there at the end of your letter. OK then.
I've gotten a lot of letters and e-mails this year about the Browns making roster moves to improve the team. Naturally they would love to do that, but it's just not the reality in the NFL.
Player for player trades are rare at any time of year. Aside from Phil Savage, few GMs do it. That means Savage would have to give up a high draft pick to get anyone of quality in the secondary, and he's not going to do that.
Depth is built in the offseason. Teams are built in the offseason. Once the season starts, there's only so much to do.
This is what Chris Palmer was referring to with his famous "runaway train" statement. He meant that once the season starts you get on board and hold on because the train moves and you can't change much.
So it is with the Browns. They thought they had depth with Baxter, Daylon McCutcheon and Leigh Bodden, but two of the three got hurt. There's no way to plan for that. And, with the salary cap, you just can't load up with players at any one position.
As for Pool, he's already used in the nickel as a linebacker. Crennel's feeling is that moving Pool from there means moving someone else in and making two people learn two positions.
That's my $3 thousand answer (and yes, Barry is paying $3,000 per answer – he just doesn't know it yet).
Why do the Browns have only one player from Ohio State? The Buckeyes are in the national title hunt almost every year and saturate the NFL consistently with top talent. Not to mention that Ohio players know the rivalries and care about winning in this division.
I know we have Ohio college players such as Josh Cribbs and Charlie Frye, but these are players from lower tier schools. Our only Ohio State player was an undrafted free agent (Simon Frasier).
When watching the NFL draft this year, the Browns had a chance to get Ohio State guard/tackle Rob Simms in the fourth round. They passed and took Isaac Sowells from Indiana (the lowest of low Big Ten football schools). Rob Simms now starts for the Seattle Seahawks.
If all things were equal, I think Phil Savage would favor an Ohio State player over a player from out of state. I don't think in Savage's mind that things were equal in the fourth round. Who was right will be determined over time.
However, I do believe that Savage recognizes the importance of Ohio players on Ohio teams, and in future drafts you will see more Ohio State players.
Now, Butch Davis seemed to avoid Ohio State players, and it happened so often it did not seem to be coincidence.
Davis favored players he had either coached, recruited or played against.
That limited the field and eliminated Ohio State players.
Savage seems to favor players from large schools and large conferences. Which to me kind of fits the description of Ohio State.
Are "Keg" Andrew Hoffman and "Sweaty" Rod Smith anything more than practice squad guys and NFL Europe players or could the help the offensive line in the future? - Scott "BeerMan" White
Dear Beer Man,
Make mine a Labatt Blue please.
The team likes Smith a lot. For the future. There was even some talk that Smith was having the best camp of any center after LeCharles Bentley was hurt, but a sprained ankle set him back badly.
Hoffman is what we refer to as a project. That's project. P-r-o-j-e-c-t.
I am wondering, Pat, about the rampant criticism of the big interception at the latter part of the Ravens game. If the play had been run as it was designed, it is a very safe pass with little or no risk of interception. Unfortunately, Frye was hit as he was throwing so it was a turnover.
People have been critical of the play call and of the youth of the quarterback. Everyone speaks of running the ball as if that carries no risk, but we have all seen bad blocking result in fumbles, as well.
I think it was a great call and, although not successful, it will give teams something to think about the next time we are in goal line situations.
What is your take? - Mike Headen
Your statement that the pass was a very safe one with little or no risk of interception reminds me of this guy I once played golf with who would yank a drive 40 yards wide of the fairway. Then he'd look up and say, "Man I hit that great. If I'd have hit it straight that would have been a perfect shot." And he meant it.
Well he didn't hit it straight, so it wasn't a good shot, much less a perfect shot. He was hitting his next shot from a cemetery next to the course, so how could it be a good shot.
The pass was intercepted, so it wasn't a safe call.
That all being said, I don't have that much of a problem with the call. Everyone and his uncle and aunt were ripping Maurice Carthon for being conservative, so he's aggressive and he gets ripped.
Guy can't win.
The Browns tried to win the game there. It would have bee safer to run, no question. But this is Cleveland so I figure that even if they ran and kicked a field goal Baltimore would have somehow found its offense and scored a touchdown. Remember, it's Cleveland.
The call wasn't safe.
It was risky. And courageous – perhaps even courageous to the point of being foolish.
But I don't have a problem with it.
What is going on with the defensive back Antonio Perkins? I would think he would see some playing time since McCutchen and Baxter are hurt. - Dave
For a while Perkins was hurt, but he's not anymore. Word is that Perkins was having trouble with the mental side of the defensive calls.
Something had to be holding him back, so this makes as much sense as anything.
Will Jerome Harrison get more carries now that it has been proven that Jason wright can not spell Droughns? - Rob Housel
Why get on Jason Wright? Given what he had to work with, I thought he did a credible job against the Ravens. His numbers were poor, but he showed some spunk.
Harrison will continue to be a change-of-pace back, especially if Reuben Droughns is healthy.
I kind of expected Harrison to be used more, but right now that's his role.
What areas (yes, I understand there are many!) do you believe the Browns will concentrate on in the next draft? - JD
Ummm … adding a second punter?
No offense but it has been my longstanding policy not to take draft questions more than six months in advance of the draft. Let's play 14 or 15 games before we think of the draft.
When are the Browns finally going to draft some talented offensive linemen? Each year they try patching it together and it just isn't working. I understand the LeCharles Bentley project was, and is, a good idea. But Cosey Coleman and Joe Andruzzi are getting us killed when they aren't busy holding.
Are we looking at anytime this decade our boys in brown and orange chose a lineman (or two) on the first day?
This being a general draft question, I'll answer it thusly: The overall failing of the front office since 1999 to draft linemen is a key reason the team struggles up front.
Every different GM has tried what you said – to patch together a line – and you are also right that it's not working.
Savage deserves credit for bringing in four new linemen, but until the Browns start emulating the Steelers and making boring old draft picks by taking big old linemen they will continue to struggle up front.
I salute your letter as the Missive of the Week.
A signed photo of Barry McBride* will be sent to you forthwith.
* Note to Travis: This is an empty threat and intended as a jest. All of my photos were burned in 1997 in order to get the United States in compliance with UN Chemical, Biological, and Dorkicological Weapons Resolution 21. - BDMc