In my mind, I can see a movie memory from my younger days. There are Clint Eastwood, Lee VanCleef, and Eli Wallach on the screen, with that whistling music fresh in my ears.
That classic ended on a high note for some, much like it shall for a number of players in training camp. For others, there will be no celebration, as their dream comes to a quick end.
With almost a week behind us, the 2007 Browns' Training Camp is progressing well, better than any one thus far in the head coach Romeo Crennel era. The defensive side of the ball is well ahead of the offense during these early days of camp, though in individual drills, the offense is doing well to hold their own in many cases.
Without further adieu, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Orange and Brown Report style:
- Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley is a special talent. I have seen only a limited number of players with the physical ability and mental mindset to play at the level Wimbley does with consistency. Watching Wimbley in camp practice drills, he is easily the quickest and fastest of the linebackers, but still has sufficient strength and technique to fend off larger linemen. While the linebackers were working in individual drills, I repeatedly viewed Wimbley race through the large blocking cones, at full speed, his body basically bent at 90-degrees without losing a step or balance.
- Nose tackle Shaun Smith is a talent. Physically strong, quick, and personable, Smith is has the physical capabilities to man-handle the opposition. With experience, he could eventually become a dominating player to anchor the interior of a defensive line.
- Safety Sean Jones has come a long way since being drafted by the Browns and missing a season due to a knee injury. Possibly the best player in the defense last season, Jones is quickly gaining a reputation around the league with his clean, aggressive style of play and ability to cover in the secondary.
- Wide receiver Braylon Edwards is showing the quickness and speed he possessed when the Browns selected him in the draft a few seasons ago. Fully recovered from his knee injury, Edwards looks amazing in passing drills and is catching everything remotely thrown in his direction. Wanting to dispel the notion he is a malcontent, Edwards has been the terrific teammate so far, and has the desire to prove he can be a legitimate big-time receiver at the professional level.
- Offensive lineman Isaac Sowells has struggled in the early portion of training camp. The Browns were hoping he would be a contributor and potentially compete near the top of the depth chart his second season. Instead, Sowells has been slow getting off the ball, beaten consistently, and has not shown the physical qualities the team expected. With the depth the team has on the roster, Sowells needs to kick it up a notch, or he will back-pedal quickly on the depth chart.
- Converted defensive lineman Andrew Hoffman has struggled in his role on the offensive line. Hoffman displays ability and upside, in spurts, but he is terribly inconsistent and beaten on the shoulder far too often. With the youth and depth the Browns now have along the line, Hoffman is in a precarious position.
- Fullback Charles Ali is not a bad player, but he is in a system where the fullback needs to be a receiver as well as a blocker. Ali is an imposing figure and blocks well, but appears limited as a receiver, so far. He plays stiff, but gives everything he has. Ali is solidly behind Lawrence Vickers on the depth chart... a bad position to be in if the team does not keep two fullbacks on the roster.
- Wide receiver Travis Wilson is creating some trouble for himself early in camp. Competing for an important role in the offense, Wilson has dropped numerous passes and has benefited from the wisdom of Coach Wes Chandler in subjects like keeping his feet in passing/receiving drills. Wilson has displayed the speed to get downfield, but needs to run better routes and hold onto the football if he expects to play outside of special teams this season.
- We've been watching the first team offense struggle to get onto the same page in drills over the first few days of camp. Granted it is early, and coordinator Rob Chudzinski is putting in a new scheme... but lining up incorrectly and missing assignments, play-in and play-out, can be hard to watch.
- Second year running back Jerome Harrison worked very hard in the off-season to improve his physical strength, bulk, and blocking ability. Harrison has improved his blocking skills based on what we've seen, but is far from being able to pickup blocks consistently. Watching Harrison get nailed on a single block by J.R. Niklos in blocking drills and landing on the seat of his pants about two-yards off the line is difficult to forget.