Right to the Point: 8/17

OBR football analyst Lane Adkins gets past all the noise, and right to the heart of the team's position battles...

Per usual, we'll go past the 600 words of gibberish and get "Right to the Point".

  • The battle for the starting quarterback role for the Cleveland Browns could be coming to a less-than-dramatic conclusion. Charlie Frye has solidified his role with the Browns first team offense in recent days and is gaining an increased number of reps with the first team offense. While the battle with Derek Anderson isn't completely over, Anderson has been hot and cold in practice sessions. Anderson is expected to start for the Browns against the Lions and will have a chance to turn the tide. If Anderson plays well, the competition will continue, if he does not fare well and Frye maintains his relative consistency, the decision will be much easier for the coaching staff.

  • Second-year running back Jerome Harrison was expected to compete for the backup running back position behind starter Jamal Lewis. Harrison has been competitive, but has not shown enough at this time to unseat the steady and reliable Jason Wright. Quick and shifty, Harrison has displayed explosive qualities in practice sessions, but Wright has shown he can be an asset coming out of the backfield, in much in the same manner as Harrison. One difference in the two players is that Wright has not displayed a Harrison's continuing tendency to put the ball on the turf.

  • Finding a wide receiver worthy of handling the number-three job on the roster has become an issue. Tim Carter, an off-season acquisition from the New York Giants, has regressed from the early promise he displayed. As with his tenure in New York, Carter takes a step back when the pads go on and the hitting begins. Second-year receiver Travis Wilson could easily step into the role, but his battles with inconsistency have raised questions about his ability. If Wilson can harness his talent, he could become a legitimate threat for the Browns. Josh Cribbs drops far too many passes to be a number-three at this level, while players such as Kendrick Mosely, Michael Mann, Mike Mason, Steve Sanders, and Syndric Steptoe have not stood out among the masses.

  • Watching backup inside linebacker Leon Williams attack the football and cover ground in pass coverage has been quite interesting throughout training camp. Displaying promise over the last few games of the 2006 season, when he replaced D'Qwell Jackson due to a foot injury, Williams has been very aggressive and reliable. With the high ankle sprain suffered by starter Andra Davis, Williams has been making noise with his physical style of play and relentless pursuit of the ball carrier. Suddenly, the Browns seem to have a linebacker on the inside that can make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage, rather than four yards downfield. The more time Davis misses, the greater the opportunity Williams has to impress.

  • A couple of the final roster positions on this Browns roster could come down to players which have an edge on special teams or provide a characteristic or quality beneficial to the team. Here's a list of players pushing to take a spot:

    LINEBACKER/SPECIAL TEAMS: Linebacker Jason Short has been a solid addition to the special teams units and can help at linebacker in a pinch.  Mason Unck has played a similar role for the team over the past couple seasons.

    OUTSIDE LINEBACKER: Injuries suffered by veteran linebackers Willie McGinest and Matt Stewart may have solidified roster spots for Chaun Thompson and David McMillan.

    TITIGHT END: Much of the same can be said about the tight-end position, where long shots  Ryan Krause and Buck Ortega have stepped in and have had productive training camp sessions with the team. With the Browns likely to carry three tight-ends on the roster, four at the most both players are not expected to make the final squad. The next couple weeks could make or break the opportunity for one or both of these young players.

LA


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