Tales From The Inbox: Dog Days Edition

Lane Adkins once again rifles through his inbox, giving OBR readers the inside dope as training camp lumbers into its second week. Included: more on the Peek injury, a TE making an unexpected positive impression, and more on the critical third WR slot.

Q: How severe is the knee injury suffered by linebacker Antwan Peek? Generally, when a player is injured, the team downplays the issue and we usually see such a player out for significantly longer than the team notes.

LA: Head coach Romeo Crennel stated he hopes to have Antwan Peek back prior to the opener against the Dallas Cowboys. I spoke with Antwan yesterday, he is in great spirits, notes the knee feels better already and he will be ready for Dallas. The surgery according to the team and player was to clean-up and remove loose cartilage, nothing more. Unless something unexpected was to occur, the time-table to recover from such a scope would be just about where the team noted he could be ready.

Q: With Peek out, the head coach noted there could be opportunities for players such as David McMillan, Alex Hall and Shantee Orr. Who do you think will step-up from that grouping or could there be another player brought in to compete for the spot?

LA: The organization is going forward with the belief Peek will be out for four weeks and ready to play in the opener. I have heard of no discussions taking place about adding another OLB to ease the load at the position in camp or to improve the experience and depth. McMillan will get some reps and this situation could help him make this team. Alex Hall, the rookie, is beginning to find his way behind Kamerion Wimbley at ROLB and will get some looks at LOLB. The player I see as the best fit, experienced and shown he can play in this defensive scheme is Shantee Orr. Orr has been a jack of all trades since coming to the Cleveland Browns. He works on special teams, has played ROLB, moved inside and now will see increased time at LOLB. My only concern is, Orr had been showing his ability playing inside and that work could be pushed back indefinitely with the Peek injury.

Q: I keep reading about tight end Brad Cieslak and how he is doing well in camp. Is there a chance he can make this team? There appears to be plenty of talent at the position and would the team entertain the notion of keeping him over Darnell Dinkins?

LA: Cieslak has had a solid camp thus far. He has dropped a couple passes over the past two days, but has been very good in running routes and his blocking has been improving. Cieslak has been a practice squad-type player, but a player that does appear to have the goods to play at this level. I agree, the depth at the TE spot is going to be tough for him to make this roster. You figure, Kellen Winslow is a keeper, Steve Heiden if healthy makes the team and without a doubt rookie Martin Rucker is going to stick. This leaves Cieslak and Darnell Dinkins. The Browns like Dinkins' ability in the blocking scheme, but the position may be at a point now where he is a potential cut. As much as I like what I see of Cieslak, I don't see him making this team.

Q: We keeping reading that the team is unsure of the 3rd wide receiver spot and depth at the cornerback position as well. I watched a couple of the camp sessions and do not see a visible need to deal for a veteran, as long as the young guys can contribute. Is there something I am missing regarding the talent and what to expect?

LA: I am much less worried about the 3rd WR spot today than I may have been a few weeks ago. Granted, you would like to have some experience coming out of that spot; in the case of the Browns, they have two players that have been around for a little while, but are limited in actual production and game-day experience. WR Travis Wilson has been outstanding in the training camp sessions. Whether he works with the 1st team or the 3rd team, he is making plays, getting open and catching the ball. He has made some very outstanding grabs and is running good routes. The staff is gaining confidence in the third-year receiver and that is something not easily done in Berea. If he continues to be solid in camp, Wilson will get an opportunity. Kevin Kasper had been the talk of the OTA and mini-camp sessions. He was quick and sharp in his routes, in and out of cuts hard, and was catching the ball. Unfortunately for him, he has a hamstring strain that has left him on the sideline. Kasper is expected to return to the practice fields very soon.

Q: We read blogs from writers and fans which notes all these amazing plays from the quarterbacks and receivers in the training camp sessions, but rarely read much of this play-by-play type of information in the notes about the sessions from you guys and the other media outlets. Why is this?

LA: I have had the opportunity to read many of the blogs out there talking about the 'camp experience' and some are very good. When sifting through a practice session, there are things you look for which leads to the readiness or development of a position, player, or unit. As an example, you may read about the QB's throwing to receivers in individual drills, but you have to look at the scenario. A pro QB throwing to a pro WR who is uncovered in a drill where there are no defenders and no pass rush. Sure, there can be an outstanding throw, reception made -- or a drop, which in this case we note such -- but we gain much less from this drill than we do others. Thus, that's why you don't read a complete or detailed report of such in the columns; you only read the notes or plays which standout, good or bad.

When a QB and WR are in drills where a CB is defending, we have something to better gauge the player(s) on. Same with the line drills and drills with the LB's and the TE's. When you have player against player, you gain a perspective that has value. You learn about the team, its makeup and those players battling on the field in drills which face off player against player or unit against unit.

If I sat there and basically attempted to do a play-by-play of the session, I would miss too much valuable information that I collect regarding specific players and positions.

Just like the old saying, any player can look good in shorts.

Basically, I look for the meat and potatoes of the practice.

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