Last week, as Organized Team Activities opened for the Browns, rookie quarterback Brady Quinn looked lost while working with non-descript receivers unlikely to be on the team come September. He wasn't Peyton Manning as the second week of spring practice resumed, but he looked a little sharper than he did the week before. Part of the reason was Braylon Edwards was running routes for him.
Much was made in Cleveland of Edwards being 'demoted' to the third team offense for missing the first day of OTAs May 22, but as much as anything, the move gave Quinn a reliable target.
"Braylon is smooth and physically gifted," Quinn said after spending extra time on the practice field. "He's jumping around and catching balls. He makes it easy on us as quarterbacks. We don't have to put it right on the numbers. He's able to make that acrobatic catch.
"He also has a natural ability to find a window. There was a time last week when a guy read the play. He had a pretty good sense where Braylon was supposed to be. Braylon adjusted his route and found a different window. He has pretty good football savvy."
Edwards explained his one-day absence last week by saying he had to tend to a family matter. He chose not to offer details and said he wanted to get past the issue. Crennel said the same thing.
"There's no significance to it at all," Crennel said of Edwards lining up with the third offense. "He's trying to learn the system. It isn't the same system that was in place last year. He did miss a day, so he's probably a little behind.
"He worked with the third team and he worked with the second team. I told the guys the depth chart is not in stone. We're going to kick it around so we can evaluate the guys and they can learn the system without working with the same guys all the time."
If Quinn does emerge as the opening day starter, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski would like for Quinn and Edwards to get significant practice time together, so when Edwards makes that adjustment in a game Quinn will be ready for it. Last year Charlie Frye and Joe Jurevicius did not work in training camp as often as Derek Anderson and Jurevicius did, and it showed. Jurevicius caught 16 of his 40 passes -- 40 percent -- in the three games Anderson started.
"There are some things I messed up on, but as a whole I like this offense," said Edwards. "It allows us to create a lot of mismatches and allows everybody to move around as opposed to staying stationary. We're going to be unpredictable this year."
Last year Edwards was second on the team with 61 catches and first with 884
receiving yards and six touchdowns.
--The Browns have made a point of beefing up their special teams this offseason. Kris Griffin, a linebacker waived by Kansas City after two years with the Chiefs, was signed to compete with Jason Short, another coverage specialist waived last month by the Eagles. Griffin made 22 special teams tackles last year.
--Jerome Harrison, a fifth-round draft choice last year, weighs 212 pounds after playing at 190 pounds as a rookie. He could play a prominent role in offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski's scheme, but first he must prove he can block.
--Browns head coach Romeo Crennel was saddened to learn Patriots defensive end Marquise Hill died tragically in a Jet Ski accident Memorial Day weekend near New Orleans. Hill was a rookie in 2004, Crennel's final season in New England. Crennel became Browns head coach in February, 2005.
"He played for me a little bit in New England," Crennel said. "He was a good kid. Unfortunately, though, sometimes bad things happen in this life. You just have to deal with those things and move on from them. Our prayers and condolences go out to his family."
--Crennel is encouraged by what he has seen from right guard Seth McKinney, but he cautions the real test won't begin until the pads go on for training camp. McKinney missed all last season with a fractured vertebra in his neck.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's been able to get in and run with the
offense even though we thought initially that we might slow him down a little
bit. But he didn't want to be slowed down. He wanted to get with the offense so
that he could learn it. To this point, I think he is in pretty good shape." --
Browns head coach Romeo Crennel on running back Jamal Lewis