Ask the Insiders forum lately, we figured we would provide a condensed version with our Insiders' takes extracted for quick consumption. Here are the answers to recent questions posed on Ask the Insiders!

Subscribers - Remember our joint Browns-Steelers chat tonight with Dave, Lane and Steel City Sports' Dale Lolley!"> Ask the Insiders forum lately, we figured we would provide a condensed version with our Insiders' takes extracted for quick consumption. Here are the answers to recent questions posed on Ask the Insiders!

Subscribers - Remember our joint Browns-Steelers chat tonight with Dave, Lane and Steel City Sports' Dale Lolley!">

Ask the Insiders - The Condensed Version

With all the activity in the <A HREF="">Ask the Insiders</A> forum lately, we figured we would provide a condensed version with our Insiders' takes extracted for quick consumption. Here are the answers to recent questions posed on Ask the Insiders!<BR><BR>Subscribers - Remember our joint Browns-Steelers chat tonight with Dave, Lane and Steel City Sports' Dale Lolley!

Lumpy: Do you have any insight as to what Davis told the team at halftime of the Jets game? I had to listen on radio and did not see the second half. It seems the D rose to the occasion and played great after looking like a bunch of pansies in the 1st half.

David Carducci: I talked to Lang and a couple of other players. They all said that Butch was pretty animated. According to Lang, he used some words that were not fit for print. Lang compared it to the old days in Miami when Butch would get fired up and it seriously scared some players. Whatever he did, it sure woke some people up.

TheBattleship: Insiders - please comment on the following:

I believe TC is having a poor year also, however, look at Peyton Manning and Daunte Culpepper this year - Take away some or their surronding talent, add a couple of injuries of their current talent around them - and if these guys had not played well in the past the fans would be ready to lynch mob them also this year. Did you watch Manning on Monday night against Pitt?? - Did you see all those ints??

You all are banking on the fact that it is Couch's fourth year but keep in mind, he came out as a Junior, has had two coordinators and was hurt for basically one of his years!!!!!

Arm strength does appear weak, however, I agree with other posters on this site that it is more of a slow decision process as opposed to arm strength. He has some zip on some of his passes (ie TD to QM) His arm appears as strong or stronger than Peyton Manning's or Montana's and they both have performed well in this league.

Lets give him till the end of this year to begin a full blown judgement - Second year in same system with an improved cast around him!! I would expect his play to improve as the year progresses. If it does not, than he is not the one or they are not teaching him correctly??

PS - Kelley Holcomb played well against KC, however, CINCI game left a lot to be desired. We had a punt return for a TD and another TD pass (which drastically improved his QB rating) came after the huge return from Lang and the offense taking over at the 5. We only scored 20 - that means Holcomb "the great" led us to a mighty 6 points against that "FEARED" Bungle defense.

David Carducci: Very well said.

I don't understand bashing Couch when he is playing behind a questionable line and has no running game.

I admit there is some reason for concern with Couch on a few issues.

I don't question his arm strength, his desire and his work ethic. I don't question his understanding of the game and his ability to read a defense.

What I do hope to see improve as the line improves and his running game improves is his ability to deal with adversity, both on and off the field.

I know from talking with coaches and other players that a high percentage of Couch's interceptions have come when his teammates make a major mistake - receiver runs the wrong route, running back picks up the wrong man on the blitz, etc.

By refering to this, I in no way mean to absolve Couch from those mistakes. When things go wrong around him, Couch tends to compound the problems. You can tell when he wants to go to a particular reciever, often on a hot route, and that receiver fails to break off his route, he starts patting the ball, gets nervous feet, then ends up throwing to that receiver, usually rushing a throwing into coverage (this same thing happened vs. Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Baltimore) and getting picked. The interception by Porter in Pittsburgh came after Johnson failed to stop on a hot route and White picked up the wrong side on the blitz. Watching Couch's demeanor as things broke down around him, you could feel the interception coming.

I have been concerned as well with Couch's demeanor in the locker room. In the past, I had always liked the way Couch appeared confident during the week, even as he and the team was struggling. He always looked like he knew better days were ahead. When you talk to him lately, he can tell he is not quite himself. He's not as loose. He sometimes gazes back blankly when answering questions. I think the problems of this season are wearing on him. If that is true, it is a problem if it hurts his development.

Mike McLain: I'll be honest with you, the Tim Couch bashing is wearing thin on me.

The quarterback position, rightfully so, gets so much attention, but the problems the Browns have run deeper than No. 2.

The offensive line is weak, especially on the interior, and the defense can't stop the run.

Some of the things Couch is doing bother me -- he needs to get rid of the ball quicker -- but he can win in the right situation.

Has anyone seen Daunte Culpepper's numbers this year? Donovan McNabb struggled against Tampa Bay as much as Couch did two weeks ago.

The Ravens won a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer at quarterback. The Browns can win with Couch.

Why not get on to other matters?

Edwardson:  Do you think Zukauskus will stick?

Do you think Fowler will replace Stokes? Butch seemed to think that Fowler played well against Tampa Bay, so what is holding the coaches back from getting him in the lineup?

It seems to me that the coaches made it clear that the players who aren't performing will sit. It happend to O'Hara and Morgan.

Lane indicated that some of the best players aren't playing. Are Fowler and Zuk two of those players?

Mike McLain: Butch indicated that O'Hara will likely return as the starting right guard. Zukauskas had three starts early in the season and didn't show enough to remain in the lineup when the health of the line improved.

Fowler won't replace Stokes because it's a guard position and Fowler isn't ready to play that spot at this time. Fowler is being groomed as the long-term answer at center.

There has been a lot of criticism of offensive line coach Larry Zierlein. Some of it seems unfair. It doesn't take a football genius to see that this line simply doesn't have the physical ability to block consistently well for the ground game.

The only way to change that is to make the line a top priority in the offseason. No one has shown a willingness to do that, but I think that will change next year.

You might recall that the only coach Chris Palmer let go after the 1999 season was Bob Palcic, who tutored the offensive line. Palcic is now the line coach with the Saints, who seem to be doing a good job up front.

You need talent to look good as a coach. Zierlein doesn't have that talent at his disposal.

JMazzulo: Whats up with Darnell Sanders, I read last week on that he was close to getting the starting job and then he is inactive for his sixth game this season. Whats the deal?

David: Sanders seems to have the most up side of any of the tight ends on the roster. He has a pro body. He is a very good blocker, and he has far better hands than I remember him having at Ohio State.

I don't know that you will see him by the end of the year, necessarily, but I think they would like to see him develop into the No.1 tight end because of his ability to help in the running game.

Davis has said he usually prefers to bring rookies along slowly. With Campbell showing he can help in the passing game, I think they could stick with him through this season, allowing Sanders to continue to watch and learn, and possibly get a few active games under his belt to get more of a feel for the NFL game. After missing all of the minicamps because of school, he just started out a little behind, and I think the coaches would like to get him a full year in the offseason program, and another training camp, then let him loose.

bcdouble: Before I discuss my topic, I need to give kudos. I am the first to admit that I was completely red faced in the first half and M-fing the team and staff. They were SO FLAT and pathetic. They truly reminded me of the 2nd year under Palmer. I was questioning Foge and Butch and their ability to coach and call a game. I still can't fathom how we come out so flat for every game. They showed poise, patience, and a lot of heart in the 2H. And I think it starts with The Deuce. He stepped up and took the team on his shoulders. The O-line did a great job in pass protection too, picking up blitzes, etc. With time, Tim was patient and took what the D gave us. That short passing game is as good as a run. I love our 4 receivers and loved getting the TE's involved.

Now in defense of Green. I'm a BC alum who raved about his talent. He clearly is not getting it done, but in his defense, White couldn't run up the middle either. Jim Brown couldn't for that matter. Green needs to get some touches to learn, but the play calling needs to become less predictable. Let's be patient (see Northcutt) and wait until we have a line. The announcers say the same thing every week too. Couch and Green will never blossom until our line improves. Please get us McKinney.

It seemed that Butch let Bruce call a nice game in the 2H, similar to the Houston game. And the line gave him time. The Jets do not have the Steelers D, but this team took a big step this week. I sure hope they come out fired up next week. 5-4 and a BYE week would be so HUGE.  

Lane: It is my belief that the Browns would best served if they got Green out on the perimeter more often, maybe with a pitch or quickhitter off tackle, giving him a little running room to react and get his feet spread.

Watch Green when he hits the hole, his feet are almost always together, limiting his drive and burst. It appears that he is having trouble with holes closing quickly or selecting the right hole, which takes away from his natural running instincts.

Of everything we have seen thus far from Green, I am disappointed in the lack of power or authority that he has run with. He does not look confident or comfortable.

Mike: All this talk about William Green running this way or that way disguises the real problem on offense.

Why isn't anyone asking why Paul Zukauskas replaced Shaun O'Hara at right guard in the second half? Maybe it's because nobody up front can block for the run, especially on the interior.

I've written about it more time than I can remember. Give this offense a line that can block for the run, and William Green suddenly looks better and Tim Couch looks better.

So many fans break down the play of Green and Couch to every detail. I'm sorry, but it doesn't start with those two. As of today, the offensive line isn't up to NFL standards.

The team coming into Cleveland next week makes a point of replenishing its offensive line. Maybe the Browns can make a point to use the Steelers blueprint in the future.

If they don't, Green will continue to struggle and Couch will be put into no-win situations.

Lane: There is no question that this offensive line is playing at a below average level as a run blocking unit. This organization has failed miserably in its quest to establish an offensive line.

Being said, it is hard for a runnng back to get a feel for the game when his anticipated avenues are not there. Many RB's have stated that much of their game is on reactions, experience, and knowledge of what will develop, before it actually does.

Now on Green, he has been too tentative, he isn't experienced, appears to be playing at less than a confident level.

Jamel White isn't tearing it up behind this offensive line either. This organization must step up to the plate and really make a concerted effort to either improve the overall skill and ability level of the offensive line to take the next step up the ladder.

David: I completely agree with Lane in that the time is far overdue for this organization to make a healthy investment in its offensive line.

Again, the Steelers are a good example of a team that has teken developing its offensive line seriously.

First rounders at both guards, former first rounders as major free agent signings at center and left tackle, and a solid second round pick at right tackle. That is a team that takes running the football seriously.

The Browns have only four drafts under their belts, and yes, they have built a nice receiving corps with their second rounders, they have a nice start to their defensive line in the first rounders, and they have their quarterback. They made their choices, and they chose to ignore the offensive line on the first day of the draft until last year, and even then only selected a lineman in the third round.

The Browns attempts to improve the line in free agency have been half-hearted with Verba the only first round talent added. I still think Tucker (a former fourth rounder) can be a nice addition, but he is the only one on the entire offensive line who seems to fit the blocking style they want to employ. Verba, O'Hara, Stokes, Wohlabaugh, Fowler ... none of these are blow you off the ball one-on-one blockers. Like I said the other day, the personnel does not seem to fit the scheme up front. By spreading the field with three and four wide receiver sets, employing a zone-blocking scheme like Denver (that gets real production out of sub-standard talent up front), using one-back sets, all of these things might help. Green would obviously be more comfortable in a one-back set. The H-back is a useless position anyway. Somebody tell me what this team gets out of employing an H-back? blocking? receptions? no. It's a waste of a position, like playing 10-on-11 football.

PenCap: There seem to be rumors circulating that the Browns are toying with the idea of either small or wholesale uniform changes. We've already seen orange jerseys and brown socks this year.

Has anyone heard anything on this from the inside? Is there anyone in the organization that is pushing this?


Mike:I know that Butch Davis liked tinkering with the uniforms during his stay in Miami. I have heard that Davis has ideas for other changes next year, but nothing has been announced.

I was one of the first persons to get a good look at the orange jerseys. At first I thought they looked great. When I saw them on the field for the Houston game, I wasn't as impressed.

Stick with the white and brown jerseys is all I ask of Butch.

Lane: To add to Mike's comments.............

There has been some discussion and 'looks' of some different, but minor alterations to the uniforms.

Nothing major is planned from what we have been told, especially to the base color scheme and helmets.

David: There is talk of some changes in the uniform.

I have heard that there has been some talk about wearing brown pants. I have also heard from inside the organization that Davis is considering a metalic or shiny orange pants.

I don't know how seriously this is being discussed. Davis, when asked, just says that he shows up and whatever the team is wearing, that's what they are wearing. The implication, he doesn't care.

Still, there was a subtle change last week against the Jets. If you notice, there were no stripes on the socks for the first time in the normal uniform. They wore the same brown thick stripe that they wore when they had the orange jerseys two weeks ago.

Al Lerner was always very serious about wanting this team to keep the traditional uniform. I hope that the Browns follow through on his wishes. It would be a shame to change a traditional look, and it would also be a shame to go away from a tradition Mr. Lerner thought was important to keep.

More importantly, if it aint broke, don't fix it. I know, stupid expression, but in this case it is true. THis team needs to worry about more important things, like finding some big, strong offensive linemen in the draft who fit the scheme they want to run. Worry about what is really important.

Chitwnbrn: I was really shocked to read that BD my not be here too much longer, is that really the case? How much longer will he stay? WHat if we start winning will that effect his length of stay? I always though that he would be one of those guys that stuck around for 7-8 years

Lane: Time will tell, there is no doubt about that.........

BTW, the article does not say that Davis is leaving anytime soon, it does state that there are some reasons why he won't be in Cleveland for the long-haul.

Expect Davis to fulfill his contract and possibly get to the big-show, anything other than that is... speculation.

Anything other than what was stated is as it has been so eloquently called.... speculation.

Tim's arm is well, improving from the initial stages of the injury, there is nothing more to add in such a conversation that hasn't already been stated.

OLROY: is McCutcheon hurt worse than we know?? He's missed two weeks with a bruise???? Is there possible ligament damage in his elbow?? Something doesn't jive there. How about the status of our other d.b.'s? 

Mike: McCutcheon has a sprained elbow, which technically is ligament damage. I don't think it's a serious injury. Remember, he did play on nickel downs last Sunday.

marktroy : I swear there were no more than 2-3 decent holes to run thru today, and they were late in the game after the Jets D was whipped. I have never seen a line completely dominated in the running game week after week like this one. This is better personnel than we had our 1st 3 years, but there is nowhere to go at the LOS for either back.

Can there be something even more basically wrong than low-level talent here. I'm talking telegraphed plays, lineman tipping the play, signals being stolen--something has to be happening here. I know our play calls are conservative and predictable, and I know we don't have great personnel. But I've seen other teams in the same circumstance at least occasionally get a hole or convert 3rd and short with a run.

I've heard Arians criticized, which I believe is unwarranted, because he's obviously limited by Butch. The problem has to be at the feet of the OL coach at some point. He must be in way over his head here. Something very basic is wrong with the way these guys are coached.

I have never seen such jailbreaks to the LOS when a team runs the ball. I mean these guys are getting running starts to see which guy gets in the backfield first unblocked. I know that's the idea but I've never seen it work every play of the season against a team like this. Somehow, some way, the defense is being tipped off as to what's coming and where. The Jets were 31st against the run and there was nothing to be had anywhere!!

Lane: One thing that has been obvious throughout these 3+ seasons is the lack of a consistent offensive line.

We are looking at a team that has picked up players, drafted a lineman here and there, late in the draft, or has taken projects on in hopes of playing at this level.

There are very few quick hitting or cutback rushing plays that assist the lineman and RB's. With the lineman not consistently able to maintain or drive a defender, the quick hitter is a viable option.

This offensive line is far from physical. They are slow afoot, and their best attribute is pass blocking.

It is time the Browns look to improve this area of the team with quality draft selections in the upper portion of the draft.

I do not blame Arians either for what at times appears to be a lack of imagination within the offensive scheme.

If a defense does not respect the rushing attack of the opposition they drop back and close down passing lanes, which we have seen happen to the Browns frequently over the past few weeks.

Just a threat of a rushing attack can work wonders.

The OBR Top Stories