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Highlights from Ask the Insiders

Here are some of the latest questions-and-answers out of our <A HREF="">Ask the Insiders forum</A>, condensed down to a handy single page format. Got burning questions about the Browns? Snag a <A HREF="">Total Access Pass</A> and join us in the forum!

Some of the recent questions and answers from Ask the Insiders! Drop in and join us if there are burning Browns questions on your mind.

As every week, we place Bernie's weekly article into the forum first. Click here to read it. On to some of the recent questions...


MarkTroy: Any insider info on why we didn't go back to a proven commodity instead of going to a waiver pickup from the Giants? Mckenzie wasn't that bad vs. the run and we knew he'd pressure the QB.

Mike McLain: Keith McKenzie was good for about eight sacks a year, that's assuming he was on a good set of wheels.

McKenzie blew out an ankle last season, and I'm not convinced that he's recovered from the injury. It might be time to get over the Keith McKenzie love affair and go with what you've got.

McKenzie isn't a part of the future, and he certainly isn't going to swing the balance of power in the AFC.


Ramllov: What happens if W. Green shows up today? This is the question that has been asked for the first seven games. His arrival has not come yet. But, if for some reason he runs for 100+ yards and looks impressive breaking tackles up the middle. ...

David Carducci: Tim Couch talked a lot about how much having Green breakout made life easier on him. The legitimacy it lended to the play action. Seeing the Bengals forced to account for Green with their safeties. Those things take a lot of pressure off of a quarterback. Basically, Couch credited most of today's success to Green.

Interestingly, we all thought Green was suffering from the flu. Early in the game, he had to go to the sideline to, well ... get sick. He came back, played well, then returned to the sideline. At one point, he was on all fours on the sideline. This continued for the entire game. With all fo the fluid he was losing, I'm amazed he didn't end up cramping up.

Couch said that Green was getting sick on the field, too. At one point, Couch rolled out, saw Green breaking open on his pattern, and was about to throw to him. Then Couch noticed that Green was throwing up, and realized he probably shouldn't throw it. Couch said that to Green's credit, he never stopped running the pattern. Anyway, our theories of the flu and food poisoning all turned out to be false.
He was just nervous. I guess he is like this all the time. Ryan Tucker and Ross Verba said he is like that in practice. I asked Arians about it and he joked that if Green isn't throwing up, he's probably not ready to play. He just has a stomach that gets sick when he gets butterflies.


Jeffro: When will Sanders get to start? Clearly Sanders would upgrade the run blocking. He would also upgrade the pass catching - see Aaron Shea and all eight of his receptions. With experiance he will be our best Tight End. Forget the H-back nonsense, bring in a real fullback or go 3 wideout.

Mike McLain: I agree about going with a fullback. Butch Davis always had good blocking fullbacks at Miami, which makes it surprising that he hasn't found a quality fullback, yet.

I don't think Darnell Sanders is anywhere close to starting. He's not fast, and he showed little ability to catch passes in training camp.

By the way, Aaron Shea suffered an ankle injury in Monday's practice and won't play this week. In fact, after looking at the swelling in the ankle, I'd be surprised if he plays the following week against New Orleans.

David Carducci: I had similar feelings to Mike when the Browns drafted Sanders, but changed my mind during training camp.

I remember being impressed with his hands during 7-on-7 and full-team drills. As a blocker, he has the best upside of all the tight ends.

The problem with being a reporter is that we don't get a chance to see everything all of the time. When you are at camp, you pick and choose what you are going to watch on a particular day or during a particular session. On the days when I was impressed by Sanders , Mike may have been watching offensive linemen. When Mike saw Sanders dropping passes, I may have been on the other side of the field ... or hopefully I had the day off and was on the golf course.

Anyway, I talked to Sanders yesterday, and he said he's very happy with his progress. He feels like he has improved a lot in the last few months. He also expects to see more time in the second half of the year.

LilBowWow: Saw Fuller on Starting LineUp but did not see him in game? Did He play AT all? how did he look? How is his knee feeling?

ArtBtz: According to the Browns weekly press release, Fuller did see some action, presumably in the nickle, but I don't recall seeing him myself... Henry and McCutcheon were the mainstays at CB with Sanders coming in for Henry after he was less-than-effective.

Mike McLain reported late last week that Fuller is feeling better after getting some time on the practice field.


Ramllov: Damian Gregory was suppose to be a good prospect at DT for the Miami Dolphins last year. He was going to be traded to the Browns. He was hurt, which cancelled the trade. He also had a run in with the Miami coaching staff. He thought he was better than the players they had. I just wonder what he has shown the Browns this year in all the time he has had to practice. It looks like Mark Smith is getting a good look with Green Bay. How much upside does Gregory have?

Mike McLain: Gregory is by no means a long-term answer at defensive tackle. Remember, it took an injury to Alvin McKinley for Gregory to get significant playing time against the Bengals. On the orther hand, Gregory is an upgrade over Mark Smith. Smith has had knee problems and was often overmatched by stronger guards. I'll take Gregory over Smith, but I'm not about to think that Gregory is the next Jerry Sherk.


Redright: Dave, I read, enjoyed, and agreed with your assessment of the defense. Certainly the pass rush would benefit if the front four received some help from the linebackers and/or defensive backs. I watch a lot of Miami Hurricanes football and note that their defense basically is an alligmnent of seven in the box and cover two. The DBs play man. The LBs drop back in coverage, and the front four provide the pass rush and very effectively. Miami has the best pass defense in college ball. Rarely does a team pass for more than 100 yards in a game. The DBs are as good as there is in college ball. The linebackers take away the short stuff and the coverage provides ample time for the line to get to the quarterback. Could this be what BD is thinking about? Does he realize the Browns don't have the talent to make that system work?

David Carducci: It's a very good question redright,

A lot of it has to do with the talent on the other side of the ball as well. Miami has such superior talent compared with most of the teams they play that they end up dominating in every phase. There is too much talent at this level to think that week in and week out players can dominate one-on-one.

In my opinion, which is based on talking to several scouts, coaches, players, etc.,  much of success at the NFL level has to do with players playing off of one another. In college, if you have a dominant linebacker, chances are he can get off blocks a whole lot easier than he would at the NFL level, where often his success is predicated on the defensive tackles keeping him clean (depending on the scheme) and understanding and trusting the other linebackers on either side. Same thing with defensive linemen.

Where Courtney Brown would simply dominate an opposing tackle on a weekly basis at Penn State. I've noticed that he is at his best in the pros when they move him from right to left end, when they blitz from his side, when they run twists and other games with the defensive tackles. Linemen are better at this level, and because of that, you need to throw more things at them during the course of a game. Brown doesn't beat left tackles when all he does is speed rush. Brown is also a similar help to the defensive tackles. Because he plays the run so well and does a good job of absorbing blocks, he makes it possible for Roye and Warren to make more plays.

The defensive philosophies I usually respect the most are those that gamble, blitz often, play a lot of games up front. I like aggressive defensive football. If I'm going to lose, I want to go down swinging.


Butch2K1: Why don't the Browns put Northcutt on kick returns with Andre Davis? He used to return kicks in college, and I think that any opportunity to get the ball in his hands should be taken advantage of. He is definitely much more of a threat than Andre King. What are your thoughts?

David Carducci: Northcutt is too slight for kickoff returns. I'm sure he could do it in a pinch. DCBrowns and fletch are pretty much right on the mark. Coaches typically prefer having more size on their returns for blocking purposes and because the kamakazi aspect fletch brings up.


jmazzulo920: If the browns get to a point where our playoff chances are very slim, what lineup changes do you think will be made? The obvious one to me would be putting Melvin Fowler at center, but what about Darnell Sanders and our linebackers, namely Ben Taylor and Kevin Bentley? I would love to see those two play an entire game and see how they blitz and respond to some pressure. Do you think this may happen?

Mike McLain: With Dwayne Rudd having an off year, I was convinced that Kevin Bentley was close to moving into the starting lineup. Unfortunately, for Bentley, he broke a bone in his left hand against Pittsburgh and probably won't play this week and perhaps longer.

Ben Taylor can't get healthy because of a hamstring injury. He's lised as questionable for this week's game.

Melvin Fowler very well could get some starts if and when the playoffs are out of reach. Fowler is definitely being groomed to move in next season. Why not give him time down the stretch if the games become meaningless?

David Carducci: I agree with Mike on Bentley and Fowler. Bentley said the other day that he really felt like he was starting to get a feel for the pro game and he thought he was starting to play very well. Obviously, the surgery on his hand was a major setback for him.

I think moving Fowler in at center is an obvious choice. He is the future at that position and the time in the lineup would help his development. I think Andra Davis should see some more time at middle linebacker. I've been impressed by his work ethic and his intelligence. He has played well when pressed into service as a nickel linebacker, and I'd like to see what he can do on first and second downs.

I would also give Zukauskas some more time at right guard. Another obvious move would be to give Darnell Sanders more time at tight end. I talked to Sanders yesterday and he said he expects to see more action in the second half.


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