My message forum, PM (private message inbox) has been filling up with questions regarding the team, specific players, and what is transpiring in training camp. Here are Quick Hits from those the PM messages:
Q: You have had the opportunity to watch the quarterback position battle in training camp from the onset, what do you see as the major difference between the players and which appears most game ready at this time?
LA: Watching the progress (or lack thereof) at that position over the past few weeks has been somewhat disheartening, to say the least. In a nutshell, Anderson has the best the arm of the group, though he is slow afoot, is too mechanical, telegraphs the play, and his delivery is also extremely slow. Frye is athletic, but does not possess arm strength, he tends to try to throw the ball too hard which causes it to sail on him. He does not see the field as well as you would like in a starting caliber quarterback. Ken Dorsey is mentally sound, very bright and communicates well. His arm strength is below average and attempts to make throws based on anticipation more often than not due to this disadvantage. He is a short-term player, but nice one to have on the bench. Brady Quinn has a strong arm, but he tends to over-throw the ball which creates some inaccuracy. He has toned down this trait considerably working with coach Rip Scherer. Quinn is easily the most energetic. He has a presence about him - this young man really sees the field well, and he works as hard as any quarterback I have ever viewed. I don't want to see him thrust into the starting role until he is absolutely ready.
I would like to see Dorsey get some reps and see what he can do in this offensive scheme, but that is not going to happen here with Crennel, so I see Frye as the starter unless he completely bombs over the next two weeks.
Q: Moving nose tackle Shaun Smith to defensive end appears to have left a void in the middle of the Browns defense, as was evidenced against the Chiefs and Lions. What do you think needs to be done to rectify the issue?
LA: My concern is the interior of the Browns defensive line is being pushed around, beaten off the ball, and slow to fill gap responsibility. I am fairly certain Ted Washington will have more to offer when it matters, but depth at the position is not very good. Shaun Smith is not a defensive end... he is out of position and just doing what he can to help a bad situation. He is much better inside and should be back at the nose ASAP.
Q: Are the linebackers playing poorly or is the defensive line that bad? It seems like every year we see the same things happen against the Cleveland defense.
LA: I would say the issue is a combination of both: the
defensive line not maintaining their responsibility and the linebackers not
filling as required. Many believe the inside linebackers on this team are a
strength, a notion I have a hard time agreeing with at this point. As poor as the defensive line has played
at times, the linebackers are generally out of position and/or easily bodied by
a guard or end. I am concerned about this area.
Q: I have attended a few camp practices and noticed a large number of balls dropped by the receivers in this short period of time. Has this been an ongoing issue and what can change the problem? This team does not appear to have a legitimate receiver on the roster after Braylon Edwards, does this seem to be correct, in your opinion?
LA: The wide receiver position certainly has not developed
the way the team hoped prior to training camp. I have never witnessed the
number of catchable balls dropped by receivers as I have in this training camp. Receivers
coach Wes Chandler is a no-nonsense type and the issue will be corrected, or the
player(s) will not be here. Tim Carter was to compete for the number-two spot,
but has dropped everything in sight and has been nursing a thumb injury. Joe Jurevicius
has been a non-factor in camp, but he is the type of player that will get it
done. Travis Wilson has been the biggest disappointment at the position thus
far, and the team was counting on him to show significant progress
and grab the third or fourth receiver role. Following Edwards and Joe J, there
are some legitimate concerns at the position and we could see a young guy like a
Steve Sanders and/or Steptoe fight their way onto the roster.
Q: Ever since seeing Chris Barclay playing in Europe, I have been a fan and thought he could provide some spark to the Browns rushing game. If he can make the team, would it be possible he replaces Joshua Cribbs in the kickoff return portion of the game, as well as backup Lewis and Wright?
LA: Great observation. I believe the team has really had a focus on Barclay over the past weeks. He is healthy and a better player than he was a year ago and he is really a very good special teams player. Coming out of the backfield, he can catch the ball well and be a factor. In the running game, he appears better able to get the ball off tackle than between the tackles. His competition in camp, Jerome Harrison, is the opposite: he runs better between the tackles and is a threat in the passing game. Where Barclay excels on special teams, Harrison's role is mostly support. It may come down to versatility. If Cribbs can overcome the dropsies he has had in camp, he could play a greater role offensively, which would open up the return duties to an extent.