Top Dawg: Good Signs

Browns great Hanford Dixon is encouraged by what he saw from the Browns on the field against the Denver Broncos. Here's Hanford's latest take on the team's progress, and the direction the team appears to be moving...

Hey dawgs . . .

Not a bad effort in Denver last Saturday night. I was kind of pleased with the way this game went. I thought it was a great dress rehearsal for the regular season.

It seems like we've got a little quarterback controversy, though, brewing between Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson. I thought the quarterbacks played well. Charlie handled himself well. Most importantly, he put some points on the board.

Anderson played well. Didn't get the points he wanted, but I still think he handled himself well and I think the surprise of everybody was Brady Quinn going out there performing the way he did against Denver's No. 1 defense.

Brady made some excellent throws. I still think there's a question on the one they said was out of bounds with Joe Jurevicius. He put that where no one could get it but Jurevicius. I'm starting to really get impressed with the young man. I think he's handling himself well. Who knows what would have happened if he had been in camp on time.

Then again, let's don't get ahead of ourselves, including myself, because we all know it's a different story once we play those Steelers come Sept. 9. Everything changes. But still, what if he goes out there and he plays well?

What's been troubling is the wide receivers inability to catch the ball. It's been a problem all through training camp. It's not because they haven't worked extremely hard.

Braylon Edwards, for instance, has come in and is really trying to improve himself, trying to be the receiver we all thought he was going to be when we drafted him. I think he's on a mission this year to prove to this team that he can play and that he belongs.

Kellen Winslow . . . he's just getting better and better every time he touches the field. He's making some phenomenal catches and I think he's going to be a force to deal with.

Whoever the quarterback is in this offense I think now they're going to have some weapons because it seems like we're going to be able to run the football with Jamal Lewis coming in in excellent shape and trying to prove to everybody that he can play.

I'm also somewhat concerned about the defensive line. We're looking at guys who are getting older. Hopefully, Orpheus Roye will be ready for the opener. Then there's Ted Washington. Big Ted's about as old as I am. I mean that in a good way, Ted.

We've got to get some play out those guys. But still, we have some of those young guys who need to step up. The most important thing in our defense is those guys up front have to keep those linebackers free so they can roam and make tackles. If we can do that, then we'll be able to stop the run. Let's face it, that's been our Achilles heel with this defense. We just have not been able to stop the run.

It should get exciting now with Kamerion Wimbley coming back. The game has really slowed down for him now. And it's going to be interesting to see what we're going to get out of Antwan Peek on the other side. Wimbley is going to make Peek a lot better.

Overall, this defense has got the makings of being something special if we could just tighten up and shut down the run. We'll know in the first few weeks of the season if we can stop the run with the likes of Willie Parker, Rudi Johnson and Willis McGahee. They are going to try and shove it down our throats.

I know some of you are concerned about Phil Dawson's kicking problems. I'm not. Phil is the old veteran. He's going to be right there when the season starts. I know he's working hard to correct whatever it is that's got him missing some of those field goals.

Now, if he continues to miss those once the season starts, obviously we have a problem. But I think he'll be OK. I think he understands. He's a veteran and he'll correct whatever the problem is.

As for Thursday night's game in Chicago, the most important thing is to stay healthy. I want to see some more of Brady Quinn, though. The more he plays, the better he'll get. But the most important thing is just stay healthy, guys. Please.


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