Death Chat 2007: Heath Shuler Edition

John, Rich, and Barry got fired up over some questions as training camp ticked down. It's Death Chat 2007, so you know what to expects: OBR writers get locked into a chat room with some questions, and only the strong survive. Or the quick. Or sneaky.

For context, our Death Chat session was held late Wednesday night, prior to Joe Thomas and Eric Wright agreeing to contracts.

Barry: Easy questions this week... you guys know a lot about plumbing, right?
Rich: And that it has something to do with Watergate.
Rich: Only how much they get paid
John: LOL Rich
Rich: Saw Carl Bernstein on TV last night and was quickly reminded of that reference.
John: Guess memory doesn't fade as much with age as they say
Rich: Yeah, but when it goes, it goes quickly.
John: :-)
Rich: Is we ready to roll?
Barry: Let's rock

Barry: 1. Tom Condon has a history of having quarterbacks hold out of training camp, and it looks like Brady Quinn will be another.
If you were the Browns would you pay him more than #22 money to get into camp?
Rich: It's not a matter of would I pay. It'll be when I pay because they're going to have to sooner or later.
Rich: He'll get his money and it will not be commensurate with #22.
John: He'll get more money than a "normal" #22 pick will get; the challenge will be for Phil to not let it creep inside of #10 money
Rich: No. 10 is probably where it will wind up when you add in incentives and other creative language.
Barry: He should get a small increase over what you would normally expect for #22. Give him performance escalators.
Barry: It he wants a top ten signing bonus / salary, he should just sit and wither.
Rich: Condon most likely will extract more than that.
Barry: He might have dropped out of the first round if the Browns hadn't picked him.
Rich: Most likely, the language will include a lot of hypotheticals based on whether he plays as a rookie.
John: He's not gonna "sit and wither", doomsdayers aside. He'll be signed before the season starts.
Rich: The Ravens were sitting on him a few picks later.
Barry: Dunno about that. Maybe.
Barry: I don't really care how much money he makes or how poor Randy gets, LOL, but I don't want to blow the salary cap.
Barry: Eric Steinbach has already done enough to eat that up.
Rich: Don't blame Steinbach. Blame the Browns for giving him so much.
John: They'll reach a happy medium eventually.
John: How many times in the last ten years has a first-round pick not signed before the start of the regular season?
Barry: Not many. But Condon clients have held out long, and two of them were Heath Shuler and Cade McNown.
John: Barry: BS argument. The agent has almost nothing to do with that.
John: Who were some of Condon's other QB clients who held out and went on to be successful?
Barry: Agents can get guys in quickly or slowly. Let's just keep in mind the past experience of Condon QB clients who held out and
turned out to, well, suck.
Barry: I'm a Quinn backer, but he's not a sure thing by any stretch.
John: Again, what about the guys that held out that were successful? It's not something where it's a round peg and a round hole.
His agent and who his agent has rep'd in the past has nothing to do with whether or not he will be a success.
Barry: That's true, but he held 'em out whether they sucked or not.
John: Has nothing to do with anything, Barry.
Rich: Battle on, you two.
John: Death
John: Chat
Rich: Oops. I forgot.
Barry: Every single day, the refrain will echo "Heath"... "Heath"... "Heath"...
Rich: As in Shuler?
Barry: Yes.
Barry: Don't pay Quinn top ten money. If Condon holds him out, then let him rot.
Rich: Quinn won't get top 10 money, but it'll be close.
John: That's ridiculous.
Rich: Barry's getting a little emotional here.
Rich: Calm down, big fella. All will be well in the end. Everyone will be happy.
Barry: Emotional? Me? About Cleveland football? Never!
John: Yes, he's Heath. Who was a top-ten pick who actually bombed. Talking about a kid who hasn't even been to one TC yet, and
his name, along with Cade's, is being thrown out there.
John: It's ridiculous.
Barry: Just goes to show you that there's never a sure thing. Don't blow the cap.
Rich: If I'm not mistaken, there's a lot of room under the cap now.
Barry: I doubt those numbers, Rich. This team needs cap room to fix the defensive line.
John: Who's suggesting that, Barry? Of course you don't. But don't throw the names of Heath and Cade out there when he hasn't
even played a down in the NFL
Rich: Can you guys resume this disagreement Friday at practice?
Barry: OK, I won't say Heath and Cade, you can't say Matt Leinart. He's just Brady, and he was picked at #22.
John: Thank you.
Rich: It's official. I'm lost.
Barry: LOL
John: Imagine that

Barry: 2. The Browns might have a little battle for the #2 receiver spot. Who do you think's is going to be the guy: Joe Jurevicius,
Tim Carter, or Travis Wilson?
Rich: It had better be Wilson.
Rich: Joe J is a complementary receiver and Carter thinks he's an NFL receiver.
John: Carter or Wilson, with the leaning going toward Carter due to actual experience.
Barry: I think JJ will start in "name", but you'll see Carter there veeeeery often.
Rich: If Carter wins that job, the Browns are in trouble. The guy is a classic underachiever. He was at Auburn, too.
John: RAC loves the vets, though, Rich.
Rich: Are we dangling answers, here?
Rich: Yeah, but if Wes Chandler comes to Crennel and says Carter is not your man, what's he going to say?

Barry: 3. Some names to consider: Justin Hamilton, Daven Holly, Isaac Sowells, Leon Williams. Do you expect to see any of these
2006 draft picks/acquisitions in the starting lineup against Pittsburgh? (Not due to injury)
Rich: Williams has the best shot.
Rich: Once again, Leon Williams.
John: Sowells, hands down.
Rich: He better keep his hands down.
Barry: Leon is a good answer. Holly might do it up, if Wright holds out long, but I doubt it.
John: I was just baiting Rich. I'd say Holly if Wright doesn't get into camp soon.
Barry: We agreed on that one. Weird.
Rich: Baiting moi? That's refreshing

Barry: 4. Yet another national pundit ranked the Browns as the worst team in the league last week. Do you believe any of these
folks are on the mark?
Rich: Too early to tell.
Rich: Let's see how the next six weeks unfold.
John: Based on the last eight years, they ain't off the mark. Where else should the Browns be ranked?
Barry: The Browns didn't have the worst record in 2000. How could this team be worse than that one?
John: Win, and the national media will be along for the lap-dog ride.
Rich: It's safe to say the Browns won't finish anywhere near .500. But the key will be how competitive they are from game to game.
John: Yer coming at this from a local perspective, Barry. The national media doesn't know squat about the Browns, given their
ineptness over the last eight years.
Rich: Until they start winning at home and beating teams in their division, the outlook will always be bleak.
Barry: I think the national media thinks about two things: 1. Who plays quarterback and 2. How did they do last year?
Rich: You sell the national media short, Barry. Didja read the latest Rick Gosselin piece?
Barry: Gosselin is Dallas, not a national guy.
Barry: But his article was excellent.
Rich: One of the most nationally respected pro football writers in the biz.
John: So is Peter King
Rich: King is also one of the best.
Rich: There isn't much he doesn't know.
Barry: I have a pretty high regard for King, but don't agree with his #32 ranking for the Browns. The logic was a one liner that
meant nothing to me.
John: Listen, the national perception of the Browns in both the media and "inside league circles" is not good. It's up to the Browns
to change that perception.
Barry: You're right, John. AS soon as they win, the national media will be all over 'em.

Barry: 5. The Rams went from 4-12 to a Super Bowl win. The Saints surprised last year. If the Browns are to surprise like that,
what's the most important thing that would have to have to happen,, e.g., career years from defensive linemen, Derek Anderson imitating
Kurt Warner, Jamal Lewis finding his legs again, etc?
Rich: Career years from the defensive linemen. Without question. They are the key to the success of the entire defense.
John: Career year from the QB du'jour, Jamal being healthy, and no key injuries at all.
Barry: Injuries is really key. If the starting lineup can stay healthy, they're competitive.
Barry: Problem is depth.
Rich: They're as competitive as the coaching will allow them to be. The talent is there. I'm not so certain the coaching is.
Rich: What is the over/under?
John: Depth is better, at least on paper. It's all relative, though.
John: Four, Rich
Barry: I think it's four games in Vegas. Ugh.
Rich: And how are you betting?
John: Over
Barry: If I were to bet, it would be the over.
Rich: Then you lose.
Barry: You were right about that last year, Rich.
Rich: Both of you
Barry: But... crushing injury to Bentley, three cornerbacks go down for the count, Frye improves not at all... I don't see our luck
being as bad in 2007, flushometers or no...
Rich: How much worse can it get?

Rich: Lightning round?

Barry: 1. Name one player, not a usual starter, you would like to see get a chance to play with the first team during an exhibition

Rich: Isaac Sowells
John: Sowells
Rich: Beatcha
Rich: Hahahahahahha
John: Dammit, beat me to my own player. :-)
Rich: Gotta be quick
John: Or spry in your case
Barry: Jerome Harrison is the right answer.
Rich: No it's not.
John: (shaking head @ Barry)
Barry: Lewis is on the way down, Harrison on the way up. I'd like to see what he can do with fifteen extra pounds and this line.
Rich: But can he block?
Barry: That's not to say that Harrison is all that, but in case Lewis goes down for the count, I'd like to see him do some work with
the first team.
Rich: Barry's carrying on the same love affair with Harrison that you're carrying on with Sowells, John.
John: LMAO
Rich: Puppy love?????
Barry: It's more mature. I'm aware of Harrison's faults.
Rich: So are the coaches.
Barry: He should have a chance to correct them.
John: Like last preseason, when he did work with the first team?

2. First onto the practice field: Joe Thomas, Brady Quinn, Eric Wright, Gary Baxter, Kellen Winslow, LeCharles Bentley?
John: Bentley
Rich: Wright

Barry: 3. Last onto the practice field: Joe Thomas, Brady Quinn, Eric Wright, Gary Baxter, Kellen Winslow, LeCharles Bentley?
Rich: Quinn
John: Thomas
Barry: Interesting.
Rich: How so?
Barry: I would have said Wright on the first one, Baxter on the second.

Barry: 4. Other than Brady Quinn or Kellen Winslow, which player are you the most curious about / most anxious to see practicing?
Barry: I should have added Isaac Sowells to the above question for John.
John: (expletive deleted)
Rich: DeMario Minter
Barry: Good answers.

Barry: The final question of the week...
Rich: ta da
Barry: 5. We now have our second explanation for why the Stadium flooded during a country music concert last week last week.
Being professional journalists, what does your gut tell you is the real reason: (A) Bag of pork rinds flushed down toilet (B) Nerd's head inserted in same (C) It was elaborately staged performance art depicting the Butch Davis years, (D) I'm a football guy, please stop or (E) Is Death Chat over yet?
Rich: The flushometers were programmed by a plumber. Case closed.
John: The stadium's going the same way as Browns' seasons of the past eight years have gone?
Rich: (F) All of the above.

Dang, I was gonna ask how many times we should expect to see "flushometer" used in stories in the last half of the season. Forgott that question. Oh well.
John: "Flushometer" will be a staple of Taylor writing for the near future.
Barry: Anything else you want to say before we sign off?
Rich: The perfect marriage.
John: (another expletive deleted)
Barry: How can you not love the flushometer?

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