Another week has passed and the Browns remain steadfast in their pursuit of earth-shattering OTA's proficiency. Maybe earth shattering is a slight exaggeration, but in Browns camp, these activities are a base for the installation of a new offense.
Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has his hands full getting this team on the same page prior to training camp. Besides the teaching of new terminology, basic evaluation of players on the roster has begun, without any significant changes or surprises.
Now, let us get to what we have learned this past week –
• Veteran running back Jamal Lewis is in great shape and his surgically repaired ankle is strong. Lewis is close to 100-percent and acts as if he has a chip on his shoulder, which rages when the Baltimore Ravens are mentioned. In all, Lewis feels slighted by the Ravens organization for their nonchalant effort to resign him.
• Although ‘real' contact is not permitted in the OTA setting, the offensive and defensive line play has had some moments of physicality. While the Browns defensive line is not considered one of the better in the league, the offensive line is starting to display the ability to fire off strongly in drills and beat the defensive linemen to the ‘spot'. This facet of the game should get interesting once the pads go on.
• There was some surprise when starting safety Sean Jones was fielding punts. The reasoning is, Jones is very athletic, and the coaching staff is looking at all potential suitors in the return game, due to a void in this area with the departure of Dennis Northcutt in free agency.
• Speaking of the punt return game, if former fourth round draft selection Antonio Perkins is on the roster come the season opener, something has gone terribly wrong. If there is one player who has shown nothing in Berea, it has been Perkins.
• Cornerback DeMario Minter, a Browns 2006 draft pick which sat out the season due to injury has been pleasantly impressive during the OTA sessions. If Minter's strong showing can carry over to training camp, he could be a valuable asset in the nickel and dime packages.
• A question comes to mind when thinking about the facade head coach Romeo Crennel has created with this team. Does anybody really believe first round draft choice (3rd overall), left tackle Joe Thomas will be on the second team when the season starts? The answer, no and there is not a soul in Berea who believes otherwise, so why keep lining him up with that unit? The answer, this is due to Crennel's theory preferring veteran players, even if it is for temporary appearance purposes.
• Much of the same in regards to wide receiver Braylon Edwards. Miss a voluntary practice activity date and slide to the third team? Sounds a little too much like a grudge-match type move by the head coach, who is not too fond of the receiver to start with. The only real benefit with this move is rookie quarterback Brady Quinn getting some reps with the leading wide receiver on the roster.
• Heading into his third season at the helm, many within the team are quite interested on how he is going to handle potential issues within the scope of the locker room. Some within the team believe Crennel displays too much favoritism to specific veteran players, such as Willie McGinest and Ted Washington. Both players missed significant practice time off throughout the season last year, reportedly due to nagging injuries and advanced playing careers.
• Speaking of Quinn, he is showing some improvement, as all the quarterbacks have. I will maintain my stance here, once this young man gets into live action, he is going to make the coaching staff think long and hard about him in the starting role. Quinn was a pretty good practice player while at Notre Dame, but his play elevated on game-day, even with all the mechanical issues the ‘experts' and ‘insiders' believe he has, which do not appear to be significant or issues at all to the Browns staff.
• Does anyone remember Ken Dorsey is on the Browns' roster? If not, then look, as Dorsey and Derek Anderson are somewhat impressive in the ongoing sessions. Do not discount the notion of Dorsey hanging around Cleveland for a while.
Until next time,