Vinny: Expect the Unexpected?

Ever wonder to yourself "What are they THINKING in Berea?" I think we all have, particularly when the fullback rolls out to pass. Ahem. Anyhow, our old friend Vinny seems privy to some of the thinking on Lou Groza Blvd, and shares what he's heard in the latest buzz...

With training camp a mere six weeks away, the coaching staff of the Cleveland Browns is busy analyzing talent on the roster.

This could lead to a few surprises this summer.

While the majority of focus in the public eye has been on the quarterbacks, there are numerous position battles in the making.

Granted, the starting quarterback spot will be up for grabs until late in the summer, and the early favorite is Derek Anderson. Anderson clearly outperformed Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn, and Ken Dorsey during the off-season training activities and recent mini camp.

As Anderson has excelled, Frye has been slow to display the aptitude to quickly pick up the new offensive scheme (he is behind Anderson and Dorsey in this respect and is not on solid ground ahead of Quinn). Making matters increasingly interesting is that Quinn is absorbing the scheme quicker than the coaching staff expected, though he has been inconsistent in passing drills.

For all the non-believers who have written Dorsey off the roster - don't be too quick to judge. Some on the Browns' staff like his approach to the game, his demeanor, and ability to communicate with the players around him.

The team is hopeful that both players perform exceptionally well in camp, but would like to see one of the quarterbacks clearly win the starting role. While not specifically stated, there is a feeling both Anderson and Frye may not be on the opening day roster.

Baxter Bites

The amazing recovery of defensive back Gary Baxter is now at the point where the team is not writing him off for the 2007 season.

This is a change from early in the off-season where the team didn't believe he would play before the 2008 season.

As the off-season progressed, Baxter continued to amaze the doctors and therapists, which only lends credence to his desire and inner beliefs. Recent tests show the strength in his legs to be at an exceptional level. The true test will be in the upcoming month, when Baxter will begin working on activities that will test the structure and integrity of the patella tendons.

While there has been talk in the media that Baxter could be moved to safety if/when he returns, this option has not been discussed with the player as of today.

Here's hoping Gary Baxter can get back on the playing field. Not just for the sake of the Cleveland Browns, but as a reward for all the hard work he has put in.


It is All Wright

Many heads around the league turned when Phil Savage was wheeling and dealing on draft day. Some in the league were in disbelief when Savage made what this organization may believe to be the draft day coup, selecting cornerback Eric Wright with the 53rd overall selection.

During the off-season training activities and mini camp, Wright has had the opportunity to lock horns with the best receivers the team has to offer, and has been exceptional. Granted we are talking non-contact drills... but Wright has been in the hip pocket of the receivers.

What has made Wright so solid is his mental approach. He has grasped the scheme quickly and he has a receiver mentality and ability in coverage, which has provided him the opportunity to make plays and beat receivers to their mark.

It is very early, but Eric Wright has "quality starting cornerback" written all over him.


Catch This!

Wide receiver Tim Carter has had a less-than-effective professional career, which to date has been spent with the New York Giants. His fortunes could be changing with the trade to the Browns for running back Reuben Droughns.

A player that never played to his potential, Carter is getting a refreshing opportunity in Cleveland and becoming an afterthought in New York.

Savage was high on Carter when he came out of Auburn and it's believed in Berea that Carter could be an effective component in the new Cleveland offense.

What makes the Carter situation rather intriguing is his status heading into training camp. While most observers place Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius at the top of the team depth chart, there are those in Berea who think Carter has the opportunity to step into the number-two receiver role ahead of Jurevicius.

Simply put, the staff likes the speed and quickness Carter possesses. He is displaying that quickness so far to run sharp routes.

For those who believe Edwards is clearly the Browns' man at receiver, he is, but his position is somewhat precarious due to in-house issues within the team. If Edwards displays maturity and a commitment of responsibility, he will be fine. If not, then his spot could be in jeopardy. Carter, Jurevicius, Travis Wilson, and Joshua Cribbs have the team believing there will not be another season of turmoil and drama, on and off the field.

The progress of the wide receivers in the new offensive scheme will be monitored closely as training camp gets underway.


Until next time,

V

 

 


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