With training camp less than three weeks away, the 2007 Cleveland Browns season is gearing up to kick off. In the days leading up to the hoopla, there are a few items buzzing around the team:
- Tight end Kellen Winslow continues to rehab following micro-fracture surgery. Winslow is ahead of schedule but far from being a regular on the practice field come late July. Still, Winslow is doing well. As we have noted on more than one occasion here at the Orange and Brown Report, Winslow will practice with the team on a limited basis, barring an unexpected setback.
- Heading into training camp, Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye are rated as 1A and 1B. Basically that means the quarterback spot is a wide open spot. Those close to the team on the offensive side of the ball expect Frye to elevate his performance as soon as the pads go on and the players are in a game setting. As previously noted here at the Orange and Brown Report, it would not come as a surprise to see the loser of the Anderson/Frye battle on a different team in the 2007 season.
- Whereas Anderson and Frye are generally expected to compete for the starting job, rookie Brady Quinn will be under the microscope as training camp gets underway. There is a fairly optimistic tone surrounding the organization in regards to contract talks with Quinn, the 22nd overall selection in the 2007 draft. While the Browns are not going to blow the door off the bank vault for Quinn's initial contract, the general belief coming from a source close to the team is the Browns are offering a good deal to the Notre Dame product. Generally, what's on the table is deemed as a significant financial improvement when compared to the contracts of players selected at the like draft position in prior drafts.
- There was a recent report in the national media that the contract negotiations for offensive tackle Joe Thomas are expected to result in a holdout. When discussing this scenario with a member of the Browns organization and those close to Thomas, the response to the report was... less than complimentary. While a holdout is definitely a possibility, the buzz we are getting about the situation is that the Browns are laying out the type of deal the third overall player in the draft should receive. There is some difference of opinion in regards to the financial compensation the player lines up at (i.e.: tackle in comparison to quarterback), but talks are ongoing and progress is being made.
- Promising news regarding offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley has brought some unexpected optimism to the Browns staff heading into training camp. While Bentley is not being counted on to contribute during the 2007 season, a faint hope remains that he can play at a fairly high level in the future. A source within the organization who spoke to the OBR is apprehensive regarding Bentley playing competitively again. Though Bentley announced his desire to return in training camp, the good news will probably play out more in the press than on the field. His knee, injured seriously prior to the staph infection issues, is gaining strength and range of motion. Still, concerns remain about the overall stability of the tendon and how compromised the tendon can become under extreme stress, of practice, much less game conditions.
- Defensive back Gary Baxter continues to clear hurdle after hurdle in his attempt to return from patella tendon surgery on both knees. Our flies buzzing around Berea tell the Orange and Brown Report that Baxter's leg strength is greater at this time than prior to the surgeries and his range of motion is exceptional. Baxter still has some lingering pain in the legs due to the extensive surgery performed and the aggressive therapy he has endured. While the team is not counting on him playing a competitive role in the 2007, there is much more than a passing notion he will be on the field at some point this season. As for where Baxter would play... he just wants to get back on the field in some capacity.
Until next time...