Training camp goals.
1. Settle on a starting quarterback.
None of the three primary quarterbacks - Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson or rookie
Brady Quinn - ended minicamp last month as the clear starter. All three will get
equal playing time in the early weeks of training camp, but before the third
preseason game if not sooner Coach Romeo Crennel would like to settle on a
starter so that player could get the bulk of practice the rest of the summer.
The plan of dividing the playing time equally would change if Quinn is involved
in a long holdout, and as the 22nd pick in the first round a holdout is a
Anderson proved he has the strongest arm among the competitors, but that won't
be enough to win the job. Crennel is not forgetting Anderson started three games
last year, played one half of another, and threw eight interceptions. That
projects to 36 picks for the season.
Frye spent most of last season running for his life. It will be interesting to
see if he stays in the pocket behind an improved offensive line that includes
guard Eric Steinbach and rookie Joe Thomas.
2. Keep Kellen Winslow Jr. healthy.
Winslow had microfracture knee surgery on Jan. 30. He did not participate in
OTAs or the June minicamp. The Browns insist he will be ready for training camp,
but even if he is, Crennel will err on the side of caution with Winslow's
As logical as that sounds, babying Winslow so he does not have a setback also
has some drawbacks. Rob Chudzinski has introduced a different scheme as
offensive coordinator, and the players who ran it in May and June had their
problems learning. Winslow was attentive in the classroom and he was on the
sideline when he wasn't with the trainers, but watching and being on the field
aren't the same. It is an offense based on timing routes.
One reason the quarterbacks have not looked sharp is the other players are
having trouble knowing exactly what to do. Not being able to participate because
of the injury has put Winslow behind everyone else.
3. Improve run defense.
General Manager Phil Savage went into the offseason knowing he would not be able
to fix everything at once. He made a point to improve the offensive line and
mortgaged his 2008 first-round draft choice to get a quarterback in Quinn.
The area that will have to wait until next year is the defensive line. Savage
added right defensive end Robaire Smith in free agency to replace Alvin McKinley
and got a nose tackle (hopefully) for the future in Shaun Smith. Neither player
is Pro Bowl caliber, and left end Orpheus Roye is entering his 12th season. Last
year he missed seven games with three separate injuries.
Stopping the run begins on the line. It has been a perennial problem; last year
the Browns were 29th vs. the run. Ted Washington is in the last year of his
two-year contract with the Browns. He started 16 games in 2006 and played better
than he was given credit for. He needs better support from the ends.
CAMP CALENDAR: Rookies report for their first practice July 23.
The first full-squad practice of training camp is July 27. Camp closes Aug. 23.
The Browns do not scrimmage another team but they will stage an intrasquad
scrimmage at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Aug. 3.
--The Browns added another receiver to their roster by signing Maurice Mann,
originally a fifth-round draft choice by the Bengals in 2004. The 6-1, 190-pound
player from Nevada has also been with the Dolphins, Seahawks and Vikings, mostly
on practice squads. He played in one game with the Vikings last year.
--It is now official; kicker Phil Dawson is the last player left from the 1999
expansion team. Cornerback Daylon McCutcheon started training camp last summer
as the only 1999 draft pick still on the team, but he spent the season on
injured reserve. McCutcheon was released earlier this year.
--If Charlie Frye is not the starting quarterback this season it means the
Browns will have a different starter for the sixth consecutive year. Tim Couch
was the starter in 2002 followed by Kelly Holcomb in 2003, Jeff Garcia in 2004,
Trent Dilfer in 2005 and Frye last season. Not surprisingly, the Browns are
19-45 over the last four seasons.
--Cornerback Leigh Bodden is eager for training camp after missing the OTAs and
June minicamp recovering from offseason ankle surgery. He plans to be on the
field for the start of camp July 27 and take back his starting job from Kenny Wright, who played in his place in offseason drills while Bodden mended.
"It really wasn't mentioned during the (2006) season but it wasn't getting any
better," Bodden said. "I decided after the year to go ahead and get the surgery
done before the season started. I feel good right now. Sometimes I do get a
little pain here and there but I'll be fine."
Ankle injuries forced Bodden to miss seven games last year.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Now-a-days, guys are used to the routine. It's
a lot like it is in college. Once the Bowl games are over you go right back into
winter conditioning, to spring ball, to summer workouts then right back into
full practice. Guys now-a-days are used to it." -- Wide receiver Braylon Edwards
on football being a year-round sport.
Camp Preview: Three Goals
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