Standard disclaimer: Content provided from the OTA and mini-camps, which are practice sessions where players are not in pads, and there is no contact per the league's agreement with the NFLPA. In these settings, one can only gain a glimmer of promise or potential failure.
Rather than filling this space with un-needed verbiage, we will get right to the point and lay out observations from the OTA's and mini camp sessions, as only the Orange and Brown Report can:
- Nose tackle Shaun Smith is a mountain of a man, but what makes him different from Ted Washington is his ability to move on his feet. While Smith appears to be a tad bit larger than his listed playing weight of 325 pounds, he is agile and displays some quickness off the ball. I can see Smith being the starting nose tackle, with Washington coming off the bench to help fill the gaps on those run-stuffing downs.
- The Browns signed free agent acquisition Antwan Peek to help with their pass rushing woes. Peek is a natural fit in the Browns' 3-4 defense and has displayed the ability to apply pressure to the quarterback. If Peek is not held back due to veteran Willie McGinest's presence on the roster, he could be the unheralded acquisition of the off-season.
- Few are mentioning cornerback DeMario Minter when discussing players who could help this team. While we have not gotten to the hitting stage of the summer, Minter has so far displayed solid skills and athletic ability in the defensive backfield. At this time, he is not at the level of Leigh Bodden, Daven Holly, or Eric Wright, but there may be a spot for a player of his ability.
- Looking at the defensive line, I worry about the left defensive end position. Veteran Orpheus Roye will give all his has, but he looks slow and heavy during drills. Here is to hoping when the pads go on, Roye turns on the intensity, if he struggles the Browns could be in for some tough times, as the depth on the roster does not excite me.
- The more I see of inside linebacker Leon Williams, the more I believe he can be an impact linebacker at this level. OK, the team is not in hitting drills, but Williams gets into position and is quicker than Andra Davis. It appears as the inside linebacker positions are going to be a competitive affair in training camp, with 2006 season starters, Davis and D'Qwell Jackson fighting to keep Williams out of the starting lineup.
- After watching Charlie Frye in drill after drill at the quarterback position, all I can see him doing is staring down his receivers. Frye may have worked hard this off-season in the weight room and film room, but he still looks like the same player of 2006.
- If healthy, running back Jamal Lewis is going to surprise many in the 2007 season. After talking with a very astute observer in Browns camp, I watched some footage of Lewis over the past couple season, I picked up on the hesitant hop in his step I was told about. This is an aspect we have not viewed in the early camp settings.
- Wide receiver Tim Carter has the opportunity to be an impact player for the Browns. It is clear to me the coaching staff likes his speed to stretch the field, as well as his quickness to create mismatches in the passing game. On more than one occasion, Edwards and Carter were the receivers in the first team offense.
- What a difference a year makes when watching the Browns offensive coaches on the field. Those in attendance could clearly hear coordinator Rob Chudzinski barking instructions out to his offensive personnel and I would not say he was pleasant when players were out of position, which was more than an occasional occurrence.
- Rookie quarterback Brady Quinn surveys the field quickly, but appears to have to wait too long to commit to the pass. The good thing is he sees the play unfold, but timing appears to be an issue. Once he gains familiarity and comfort level with the receivers, he should improve quickly.