My PM (private message inbox) from the forums of The Orange and Brown Report has been filling up with questions regarding the team, specific players, and my relationship with a former radio voice of the Browns.
Here are Quick Hits from those the PM messages:Q: Some of the experts or insiders here at the OBR differ in opinion on Brady Quinn from what I have been reading. I was wondering is there something about him or his game which turns some of you guys off so much you don't like him?
LA: Everybody is entitled to their opinion and we will not know who may be right on Quinn for a couple seasons or more. I know in watching him during the off-season training activities and mini-camp, he did not impress overall, but you could see him improving as the days passed. Quinn does not have the strongest arm, but it is better than average. He is not a textbook type player, he performs in game situations, not in practice. Personally, I believe Quinn will become a solid NFL quarterback. In the new Cleveland offense, he could put up some tremendous numbers, if he progresses to the point of playing this season.
Q: Lane, I remember you from your days working for NewsNet5, covering high school football at Glenville and Shaker. Since you were there and viewed the talent on the local high school level, what are your thoughts about players such as Pierre Woods from Shaker, as well as Ted Ginn and Troy Smith?
LA: Hey, let's not forget Donte Whitner and Greg Pruitt Jr. Actually, good to hear from you, I really enjoyed covering high school football and have often thought about getting back into that mode. Pierre has elevated his game since joining forces with the Bill Belichick regime in New England and played some significant downs for that team. If you want to become a player, Belichick can take you there, but you better be ready to handle some rough sledding... he is tough!
Teddy Ginn can flat out fly, which made him very appealing at OSU and now with the Miami Dolphins. Not many people know that Ted has become a very good student. He is a hard worker. Not many people back from that time would have expected him to become as polished as he is. Speed will only get a player so far in this league, Ted will need to learn to take the shots coming over the middle in time and he needs to focus a little more on cleanly catching the ball.
The very best thing that happened to Troy Smith was running into OSU head coach Jim Tressel. Once Tressel got his words of wisdom working on Troy, he got serious about the game and escalated into the leader he has become. Smith learned a valuable lesson after winning the Heisman Trophy this past season, and I don't expect to ever see him slightly out of shape or not prepared again. I have concerns about his overall size, but he has the leadership qualities and intestinal fortitude to become the heir apparent to Steve McNair in Baltimore.
Q: If you were the GM of the Browns and the team already had a left tackle and quarterback on board, what would you have done with their first round draft selection?
LA: I always look to add quality and quantity to a roster. Sitting at #3, I may have pulled the trigger on Adrian Peterson, if he would have been healthy. I would have given considerable thought to Gaines Adams as well.
Q: Back in the day, the late great Nev Chandler hosted a Q and A at a bar in Fairview Park, where Browns players would show up and talk with Nev and the people in attendance. I remember you from there, what was the name of the bar and was Ted Banker really hammered the night the fight broke out?
LA: I had the opportunity to know Nev on a personal level and he to this day is the greatest radio voice of the Browns. Taking nothing away from Gib Shanley, Casey, or Grainger, Nev was simply outstanding to listen to. Nev was as good as it gets. I remember one evening prior to his 11:25 sports slot at Channel 5, he was talking to Art Modell about the rumors surrounding a deal between the Browns and Cowboys for Herschel Walker. Nev dropped the information on Art, and Modell refused to speak any further on the subject. Art really thought Walker was the next coming or the closest thing to Jim Brown he could find.
Sorry about that, back to the question... the bar was Sporty's (sp) and I don't recall Ted Banker or any other players drinking, much less fighting/arguing with a drunk in attendance.
Q: I understand the media does not access to players at this time. Being said, why does the team prohibit the media and fans from talking with the players when they are on their own time?
LA: The Browns' organization is very careful and tends to control everything and anything they can in regards to the team, the players, and the surroundings. This is become the custom around the league, some would say this is their way of protecting the players from outside issues which could be detrimental to the player and image of the team. These players are investments and the Browns organization keeps things under close wraps, though there are plenty of players we are able to talk with outside of the team facility in Berea, Ohio.
Q: We keep hearing that the Browns are negotiating with their drafted rookies, but nobody has signed as of this time. Is there something wrong with the way this team deals with its players or is this something that is common around the league?
LA: The front office is in full scale negotiations with the draft selections, with all second day picks agreeing to terms. Some teams in the league are aggressive to get the players signed well before training camp, but mostly the lower round selections are signed, basically because those deals are much easier to complete. The complexity which goes into getting a high first round selection is startling. The Browns are having vast difficulty in negotiations with representatives for Brady Quinn and Eric Wright, while Joe Thomas' deal is moving forward at a slow pace, it has been smoother than the other two I mentioned, to this point in time.