Here's the latest buzz in the world of the Browns, as usual, from what we've been told...
- The Browns coaching staff was pleased with overall efforts in the rushing game against the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins, despite starter Jamal Lewis being on the sidelines. Lewis is not going to be pushed into the lineup early, although he expects to play this Sunday. Lewis has been practicing with the team this week.
- As for Lewis, the team has not begun to ponder signing the running back long-term. As the Orange and Brown Report understands the situation, the team does not believe Jason Wright is a long-term answer as a feature back. They feel that Jerome Harrison has interesting potential, and are not overlooking him. The general feeling is that Lewis simply has not demonstrated enough to warrant a multi-year deal at this time.
- Second-year running back Jerome Harrison looked good in his season debut against the Dolphins, but as a team staff member noted to the Orange and Brown Report, "Let's not forget we were not playing a strong team against the run. Harrison did run the ball well, but we need to see more consistency and an all-around effort..."
- The organization has been impressed with the progress and play of quarterback Derek Anderson, who will be a target this coming off-season as a restricted free agent if he continues to play well. As a result, the Browns have a difficult decision to make. While an evaluation is not expected until the end of the season, the Browns would be foolhardy to not tender Anderson at a first and third round draft selection rate... again, if he continues to progress and play at a high level.
- Rookie quarterback Brady Quinn is going to get some snaps in this season. The Browns are committed to getting him some live action, but not at the expense of the season or the confidence of Derek Anderson as long as the team remains in the hunt for a playoff spot. A series here and there may be in the offing for Quinn.
- Wide receiver Steve Sanders - a local Cleveland product - is impressing the coaching staff with his determination and improving skills. The Browns continue to struggle with depth at wide receiver, so Sanders could be a player to find his way onto the roster later in the season.
- Wide receiver Joe Jurevicius continues to battle through a knee sprain/strain, and is going to play Sunday against the Rams.
- Look for Kevin Shaffer and Ryan Tucker to continue to split time at the right offensive tackle spot in coming weeks. While Shaffer has done a solid job since moving from left tackle, he is not as physical as Tucker, something which the staff likes in the running game.
- The Browns sniffed around, but ultimately decided against making a move for recently released defensive tackle Grady Jackson due to character and other issues which made him unattractive to the organization. The Browns are in dire need of a run-stopper, but are not believed to be one of a handful of organizations evaluating Jackson's ability.
- Recently released defensive tackle Tim Anderson (Buffalo) appears to be in the Browns plans, or at least in discussions. Anderson, a 4-3 type defensive lineman, is not the nose tackle (3-tech) player the team seeks. There is a thought Anderson could play the LDE position and inside on other schemes, but seven weeks into the season may not be the time to experiment. We'll keep an eye on this one.
- The jury remains out on rookie defensive ends Melila Purcell and Chase Pittman. The Browns seem unable to improve the state of the line to this point, so one of these defensive ends could be added to the roster.
- Expect to Browns to be a little more aggressive getting after the quarterback this week against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams offensive line has been inconsistent due to injuries and the Browns hope to exploit backup players who have been forced into service.
- The new aggressiveness in the defensive scheme is expected to put Leigh Bodden, Eric Wright, and Daven Holly in more man-to-man coverage situations. Also, look for more commitment coming from the safeties, especially with Sean Jones, as he has been playing on his heels during the early portion of the season.
- Linebacker Leon Williams is expected to see a bump in playing time if the Rams commit to the run with the return of Steven Jackson.
- While defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's defense has been the weak link, he is not on the hot-seat. At the same time, the expectations have not changed and results are expected... especially coming off a bye-week.