So, it's not a surprise that the team chose today to announce that assistant coaches Terry Robiskie (WR), Ben Coates (TE), Carl Crennel (QC) and trainer John Lott would not be invited back for 2007.
We have also been closely tracking potential replacements, and there are some interesting names emerging which we will be sharing with you later this evening.
First, however, let's look into why the team released these four particular coaches. In addition, TheOBR.com has learned that the team intends to bring in a few more quarterback coaches for interviews beyond Miami's Jason Garrett. It's not known yet exactly who the team is targeting, or if that ensures that current QB coach Rip Scherer will leave the team.
John Lott, Strength and Conditioning Coach
Many fans are probably surprised at the team's decision to release John Lott, the team's strength and conditioning coach. Lott's homespun style and catch phrases were popular with fans when they watched him work with athletes during the Indy Combines, and players have spoken positively of Lott to the media. In particular, Lott's willingness to work out alongside players factored into his apparent popularity.
While it may appear that Lott is simply a fall-guy for the Browns injury problems in 2006, a source close to the team tells theOBR.com that players have complained of Lott's approach and technique to the team's front office in recent months. Those complaints, we believe, are behind the decision to let Lott move on.
Terry Robiskie, Wide Receivers Coach
The case of WR coach Terry Robiskie may simply be that of a coach who is simply not being heard by his players anymore. The Browns coach with the longest tenure, Robiskie has served as WR coach twice, offensive coordinator, and was the team's interim head coach after Butch Davis resigned in 2004. It's believed that former team president John Collins was the one who recommended to Crennel to keep Robiskie since he was still under contract to the team.
This past season was probably the most troubling of Robiskie's campaigns working with the team's wide receivers .
Robiskie, a well-liked offensive assistant, may have been stymied by trying to work with talented, if troublesome, wide receiver Braylon Edwards, whose lack of discipline impacted the team at several points in the 2006 season. In addition to well-publicized comments in the media about teammate Brian Russell, Edwards was also sidelined by the coaching staff for the final home game against Tampa Bay for being late to meetings.
A less-noticed aspect of Edwards' performance may have had a greater on-field impact, however. The News-Herald 's Jeff Schudel revealed on Tuesday evening's OBR Radio Program that Edwards was the intended target on routes which resulted in 12 of the team's 25 interceptions this season. Edwards' tendency to free-lance has been noted in the past, and Robiskie did not seem to be able to get the 2005 first-round pick to become a more disciplined route runner. The team may be hoping that a new voice will help the Browns avoid mistakes in the passing game in 2007.
Ben Coates, Tight Ends Coach
TE coach Ben Coates was a curious change to make since his charges, Kellen Winslow and Steve Heiden, appear to have had successful 2006 seasons. Winslow, in particular, exploded into prominence during his first full year, making a team-record 89 catches. At the same time, Winslow at times appeared undisciplined and drew a well-noted foul in Pittsburgh for a late hit. The team may be hoping that, as with Edwards, a new voice will help a talented player keep his game more under control.