Passan: News and Views

It's been a couple of weeks since we heard from Rich Passan, and, oddly, he has some opinions about news events of the last couple of weeks. It's strange, since he's usually so easy-going and accepting of whatever the Browns do, but go figure. Here's Rich, catching us up with his views on the world of Orange and Brown...

News and views . . .

News: The Browns select offensive left tackle Joe Thomas in the first round of the National Football League's college draft and Kevin Shaffer says one season as the club's offensive left tackle is enough. He wants outta here.

Views: Imagine that. The Browns hurt Shaffer's feelings by drafting Thomas. Poor baby. Surprisingly, the club tried to comply with his wishes. Spoke with the New York Giants about the big guy and couldn't come up with a workable solution.

Why in the world are the Browns trying to accommodate Shaffer? Don't they realize that by drafting Thomas and signing free-agent guards Eric Steinbach and Seth McKinney, they have cobbled their strongest offensive line since the return in 1999?

Unless he turns out to be a hybrid of Tony Mandarich and Robery Gallery, which is as likely as a tsunami hitting Cleveland, Thomas is a lock to open as the club's OLT against Pittsburgh in the season opener. Bet on it.

And hold on to Shaffer, whose Cleveland debut last season was rather disappointing. Maybe he's smarting because he didn't perform as well as he wanted. He's still a pretty good football player and would look very nice at right tackle.

Move Ryan Tucker inside at right guard, where he should have been in the first place, have him battle with McKinney for the job and you have the makings of a solid offensive line.

With Thomas, Steinbach, center Hank Fraley, Tucker or McKinney and Shaffer up front, the Browns have a nice blend of run mashers and pass blockers. Kelly Butler, Rob Smith, Lennie Friedman and the Tucker/McKinney loser won't embarrass themselves coming off the bench.

Shaffer should be told, in no uncertain terms, to shut up, grab a helmet and do what he was paid handsomely to do when he came here as a free agent a year. Be a professional and quit whining.

He's banked more than $12 million since autographing a contract with the Browns. They've lived up to their end of the bargain. Now it's time for him to live up to his end.

It's time to go out and prove he's the player who overachieved in Atlanta a couple of years ago. It's time to take this latest setback and use it as an incentive to overachieve once again.

Besides, the Browns don't want to take an $8 million salary-cap hit if they trade him. So sack up, shut up and start behaving like a professional.

That way, there will be two winners: Shaffer and the Browns.

News: The Browns do not select a running back in the draft.

Views: Is Phil Savage so sanguine about his club's running game that he eschewed the opportunity to take a running back?

When will the Browns' general manager understand that the key to the success of any team's offense is the ability to run the football? Outside of Jamal Lewis, there is no one who can handle that important job for the Browns.

Behind Lewis, who is approaching the downside of his career, you have Jason Wright, Jerome Harrison and Chris Barclay. That's it. Not nearly enough to scare opposing offensive coordinators.

Savage finally has the offensive line he so desired. It's time to start giving that line some talent with which to work. Chris Brown, who had some decent seasons in Tennessee, is available.

Perhaps Savage is waiting for the June 1 roster cuts. Either way, it's imperative that he improves his running backs roster.

News: The Cincinnati Bengals release defensive tackle Sam Adams.

Views: Adams would look great as the Browns' nose tackle this season. Fit him for an orange and brown uniform tout de suite.

No need to sit down and brainstorm this one. Everyone saw how ineptly the Browns stopped the run last season. The Browns need all kinds of help against the run and Adams, a space eater, is a terrific run stuffer.

Signing Ted Washington was a noble effort to stop the bleeding, but he is not the answer on the nose, Romeo Crennel's assessment to the contrary notwithstanding. So why not go after Adams, who is five years younger (he turns 34 next month)? He certainly can't be any worse than Washington.

Savage knows all about Adams, who was with the Baltimore Ravens when they won the Super Bowl. He brought Jamal Lewis to Cleveland? Why not Adams?

News: Savage wears a Baltimore Ravens T-shirt on draft day. Blasphemous, say some fans. So what, say others.

Views: Big deal. He wore the T-shirt of one of the Browns' hated rivals. Maybe the most hated rival. Revealed it after drafting Brady Quinn.

How dare he even think of putting his hands on such a garment? Why is it still a part of his wardrobe? Run him out of town.

C'mon, people. What difference does it make what he wears? I don't care if he wears a sky-blue pink T-shirt as long as he does his job. This isn't a fashion show.

It's obvious Savage is somewhat superstitious. Supposedly, this is the T-shirt he wore while with the Ravens when they drafted Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis a decade ago. Considers it a good-luck charm.

Nothing wrong with that.

Don't go reading anything into that. If Thomas and Quinn turn into the players most experts believe they will, this little incident will be looked upon fondly in the future.

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