In-Box: What Camp Reveals

Now we're getting somewhere. With camp starting and some contact starting up, we can get a better sense of where the Cleveland Browns are in their development. Lane answers recent questions from fans, including the steps he would take if he were Phil Savage, and how to interpret Andra Davis' tackle numbers...

Q: Heading into training camp the Browns appear to have issues of depth at the DB, DL and WR positions. Which of these areas create some problems for this team in the event of injury, or do all of them cause problems?

LA: I have concerns due to the lack of experience in the defensive backfield, not with respect to the talent. When I look at the CB's, I see talented players that do not have the experience to really know when and how to get away from the tactics utilized by many of the best in the game. Terry Cousin was a very good signing by the organization, but I would be much more comfortable with a solid veteran added for depth purposes.

As for the DL'men, following the Smith's, Williams and Rogers on the depth chart, we are looking at a group of inexperienced players. Selected in the 2007 draft, Melila Purcell has bulked up considerably and it does not appeared to have had a negative effect on his initial quickness. Chase Pittman has also gained 25 pounds or so and is stronger at the point of attack. My concern with both of these players is that they can be led by the offensive linemen and have trouble getting pinned/trapped at the POA. Louis Leonard may be the most developed of the backups, and he is primarily an interior lineman, which makes him questionable as the team is rather end deficient. Rookies Ahtyba Rubin and Brian Schaefering are making an impression coming out of the spring sessions, with Rubin being a player that is expected to make the roster.

With the WR's, I don't see this area as nearly the issue that many in the media and fans do. Granted, Losing Joe Jurevicius for an extended period of time is going to be felt, but there is some emerging talent on this roster. I like that the organization is giving a long look to Travis Wilson and Kevin Kasper. While neither has been productive at this level, both players have been dedicated to the off-season program, have impressed in camp settings and continue to be solid through the first training camp practice sessions. If we see these two receivers begin to struggle, I would not be surprised to see the organization bring in a player such as Eric Parker, once he is deemed healthy, if the price is right.

Q: If you were sitting at the desk of Phil Savage and knowing what you do about this roster, what moves would you make to help this team possibly avoid a serious breakdown if a player does not perform as expected or hoped or due to injury?

LA: Add a viable CB, defensive end and potentially a WR. I would look at offensive tackle candidates, in the event Ryan Tucker's return is questionable in any way.

Q: Do you believe rookie Beau Bell is going to be starting and making an impact on opening day against the Dallas Cowboys?

LA: I don't believe he is going to be ready to be put in that spot by the opener. Having the defensive scaled down somewhat is going to make it easier for him to grasp, but he has quite a way to go before he can be expected to be the player the organization believes he can eventually become. At this time, the direction for Bell is to learn the system and play instinctively. Barring the unexpected, Bell will contribute on special teams at the least.

Q: I read an article on the site (The Orange and Brown Report) recently that suggested LB Andra Davis has been a better player than many give him credit in being. What is your opinion of the article and the player in general?

LA: Yes, I read the article and did not some away completely surprised. While numbers are a beautiful means of making a point, this game is much more than numbers. When I watch Davis, I see a player that does not fill quick enough, tends to take questionable angles due to an overall lack of speed and quickness. He will put up numbers, but it is the impact that lacks coming from his position, where tackles are expected in great numbers. Davis has been a mainstay in this defense and should be commended as such, but the time is here for players at a position such as his to make plays where they should be made, at or near the point of attack. We will see how Davis fares with an improved caliber of talent along the defensive line.

Q: After the first couple days of practice sessions, what are your impressions of Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn?

LA: Surprisingly, Anderson threw the short ball well in the 11-on-11 drills and struggled somewhat on the deeper routes. With only a very light breeze blowing, Anderson seemingly hung the ball and was not authoritative. The short game impressed me, much more finesse and less mechanical issues in these sessions.

Prior to his bad outing Friday, Brady Quinn basically was reading the short to intermediate game and threw the ball as expected. He did not standout in the sessions and simply took what the defense gave him. He forced a couple throws, but in all it was a workmanlike performance.

Through the first  two sessions, you could clearly see Anderson is confident and comfortable and still has the mentality to squeeze the ball into areas where he may better off avoiding.

With the drills heating up, the intensity rising and becoming increasingly physical over the next few days, I expect to then get a much truer read on the QB's in the actual team drills. Right now, issues with the flow and timing are coming together.



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