In-Box: In the Center Ring...

The team and media may be on vacation, but Cleveland Browns fans never take a break from talking out their team. Lane talks about the situation at backup center, the progress of Donte Stallworth, criticism of Derek Anderson's game, and more..

The team may be on vacation, but fans aren't, and the questions keep pouring on here at the OBR...

Q: With the release of LeCharles Bentley, who is realistically the backup center and right guard at the present time? And, are there any surprises along the offensive line we should keep an eye open for?

LA: At the present time, Seth McKinney is taking reps as the backup center, while Nathan Bennett was lined-up behind Rex Hadnot at right guard. Hadnot's backup will depend on the injury status of Ryan Tucker, but McKinney is experienced at both spots and could be the man on the spot.

There is some potential depth along the offensive line. James Lee has lined-up with the second-team at left tackle and has done surprisingly well. The coaching staff made the move due to his long-arms, solid base and improving footwork. He does not look to be nearly the project Cliff Louis is.

We have mentioned Nathan Bennett in this space before. The young man continues to improve as sessions pass, but has some additional competition with the signing of OG Derrick Morse.

Q: What do you think of the Donte' Stallworth signing, now that we have some practice sessions under our belt?

LA: I haven't seen enough of the speedy receiver in drills to get a feel for him yet. He is undeniably fast and he can stretch a defense, but we are not talking about drills where receivers are getting popped and have to get up after a hit. Let's see Stallworth and the entire offense when the kid-gloves come off and the pads go on.

Q: In reading your takes, I get the impression you don't care for QB Derek Anderson's game. What is it about the gunslinger you don't like?

LA: Interesting, and I am somewhat puzzled you get that impression from my reports and notes. I believe Anderson is the type of player who, at some point, is going to either boom or bust. I believe his upside based solely on physical ability is off the charts. What concerns me about the QB is his tendency to consistently throw into coverage and not readily accept what is given by the defense. In this league, there will be times that this is the best decision to make.

I love his big-arm and big-play ability - there is nobody close to Anderson on this roster when it comes to the deep vertical game. As to whether he can develop a short game, time will tell. I see Anderson as the starter heading into the 2008 season.

Q: What do you see as the biggest offseason move made by the Browns and why?

LA: A couple of thoughs, in no particular order: Elevating of Mel Tucker to defensive coordinator. The players on the roster respect the new defensive coordinator and former defensive backs coach. His coaching style is closer to that of head coach Romeo Crennel - he listens and lets players play. The communication on the defensive side of the ball is going to be much improved.

The acquisition of Shaun Rogers has the potential to change the complexion of the Cleveland defense. Teaming with free agent signee Corey Williams, Robaire Smith and Shaun Smith, I really believe if this group stays healthy, the Browns will slow the run considerably and pressure the QB. All of which eases the overall pressure on the defensive backfield, as well as the offense.


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