Tales From The Inbox

Lane Adkins touches on several issues in his latest attempt to wade through his mailbox, including RAC taking it "easy" on some of his vets; DA feasting on T-bones while BQ starves on Spam; and exactly which direction some key roster battles are heading.

Q: I have been out to a few of the practice sessions this week and have noticed the team does not appear to work very hard in drills. Is this a product of the staff not wanting to overwork the players, possibly taking it easy on a select few or is the team in that good a position to take it a little easier?

LA: I wouldn't say that head coach Romeo Crennel and his staff are taking it easy on the players. What I see is a veteran coach and staff getting quite a bit of work done in spurts. One thing you will notice in the sessions is that the team does run a lot and there is less beating on one another. I believe some of the reasoning comes from the players themselves working hard in the weight-room and coming into camp in good shape.

Personally, I don't see any issue with the head coach giving some of the veterans a break in training camp. When you have veterans on this roster that have been around the game, they know how to prepare and ready themselves for the season. Giving these guys a break is healthy and it also provides the coaching staff the opportunity to focus a little more on the players fighting for a roster spot.

Q: At the practice session at Cleveland Browns Stadium, the play of the quarterbacks appeared far less than equal. I mean, Derek Anderson gets the opportunity to work with and throw to the likes of Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow while (Brady ) Quinn gets (Syndric) Steptoe, (Travis) Wilson and (Steve) Sanders. One QB gets the starting offensive line and the other the backups, how is this a fair way to determine the development of the backup?

LA: I don't disagree with you that the starter has the advantage due to the talent he is surrounded by. Anderson is the starter; in the eyes of this organization he earned that right coming off his 2007 season and does need reps with this unit.

Granted, I would like to see a little more of Brady Quinn with the first-team, one to see what he can do and two in the event something would happen to Anderson and he could not play. Needless to say, the organization stated there would be no QB competition and there hasn't been. Anderson has been the clear-cut better of the two in practice sessions.

Q: Corey Williams was a pretty high-priced acquisition for this team and he has been injured basically the entire training camp. Due to his injury, do you think it is going to become a problem for this team heading into the season since he is new to the system?

LA: At this early stage I don't see it as a problem or an issue. Yes, Williams is learning a new scheme which is quite different from what he played in while a member of the Green Bay Packers. Though Williams has not been in on all the drills, he noted to us that he has had the opportunity for extra studying, been in on the film work and meetings. He is comfortable from the standpoint of having the knowledge and workings of the scheme. Now, he just needs to get on the field and work with his teammates.

While we haven't been given a timeline for his return, Williams made it sound to us that he would be back in the relatively near future, and he returned on Tuesday to team drills. There is no reason to push a player with an injury such as Williams has at this time.

Q: There hasn't been too much coverage on players like Lance Leggett, Nathan Bennett and James Lee. What chance do they have in making this team in the 2008 season?

LA: If you read the Orange and Brown Report, you should have noticed I have had notes about all three players mentioned. Leggett is a long and lean WR, he can catch the ball and has adequate speed. The problem for Leggett is a numbers game due to the number of receivers in camp. Maybe he can land on the practice squad for the 2008 season.

Bennett has been a surprise in camp, which he started getting noticed back in the June mini-camp. This is a tough kid that has a nasty streak about him and isn't afraid of mixing it up inside. If this team didn't have the experience and depth it has, he would be a legitimate prospect. Right now, I don't see him making the team.

James Lee on the other hand has worked his way into contention, mainly due to his athleticism and ability to play the tackle position. If there is an area of the roster that is questionable, it is depth at tackle and he has been reasonably solid in most instances. Surprisingly, Lee has been better at LT than RT, which is the opposite of what generally occurs with young players. If he can continue to progress, improve his punch and balance, he may make this team.

Q: If you had to make a choice right now, which players would you go with from these choices: Wilson or Steptoe or Eric Parker; Andra Davis or Beau Bell; Ryan Tucker (healthy) and Rex Hadnot; Brandon McDonald or Ty Law?

LA: Wilson as we don't really know where Parker is with the injury. Andra Davis as he has looked fairly good in drills, but we need to see him in game conditions. Bell has done nothing really in practice sessions and again we need to see him in game conditions, as this is where he is expected to excel. I think Tucker provides quality in the running and passing game, whereas Hadnot is a strong run-blocker and average in pass protection. As for the CB spot, I like McDonald, but would have no qualms if Ty Law came in to provide depth and experience for this team, as it wasn't at the expense of McDonald.

Q: What are your thoughts on cornerback A.J. Davis and rookie Damon Jenkins?

LA: I like Davis, the young man is cat-like quick and needs experience. A knock on the CB was that he did not like or would not initiate contact, which is extremely important in getting a receiver off the route. In the training camp practice sessions, Davis has been doing a better job in this area. He is now getting plenty of reps sgainst the likes of Edwards and Winslow in the passing game, which should begin to refine his coverage ability, rather than depending on pure speed and quickness.

As for Jenkins, this is a young man we singled out early in the rookie and OTA's. Jenkins is not as flashy as rookie CB Mil'von James, but his technical skills and coverage skills have been better throughout the training camp practice sessions. The young man can get a solid punch off the line -- which can throw a receiver off his route -- he can pick-up the ball in flight and has the speed/quickness to make-up ground when beaten.

At this time, Davis and Perry are battling for the #4 and #5 CB spots, with Jenkins a hair behind.

Q: With Peek's knee surgery and Willie McGinest well past his prime, what makes this team think the outside linebacker spot is going to be good enough heading into the season? Also, knowing McGinest has been around as long as Father Time and Peek is an injury waiting to happen, why didn't the team protect itself in the offseason?

LA: Football is football, you expect players to be injured at some point. Injuries are simply in a cold sense, collateral damage. You know they are going to occur at some point, and hopefully you have sufficient depth to carry a team through any rough times ahead.

Peek has had injury issues in his career, but I would not state those to be chronic or career threatening-type injuries. Peek had his knee scoped and, barring complications, he will return in four-weeks.

I have said this many times, McGinest is a pro, the man knows this game inside and out and makes those around him better people and players. Granted, McGinest is the not the same player he was while a member of the New England Patriots, but this does not mean he won't be a valuable player for this team in the 2008 season. If this team is going to rely on him to line up 70 plays a game, he is going to wear down and his value quickly diminishes.

Over the course of the off-season, the organization did talk with many free agent OLB's in the hopes of solidifying the depth and pass rush ability from those positions. The signing of Shantee Orr basically flew under the radar, as most knew very little about his ability. Orr has impressed this coaching staff to the point where they are looking at ways to get him on the field. An OLB by trade, Orr has practiced at ILB and OLB since his arrival with promising results. Expect Orr to garner additional playing time, not simply due to the Peek injury, but due to his versatility and high-energy effort.

The OBR Top Stories