Tales from the In-Box

With the preseason's bumpy ride almost over, it helps to have the counsel of the OBR's Lane Adkins to make sense of where we are and where the team is headed. Here are Lane's insights on subjects such as whether Joe Jurevicius will play again, the surprising problems with the team's offensive line, and the shake-up at wide receiver.

Q: Yet another Browns player has an issue with a hamstring. With Jamal Lewis missing the pre-season game against the Lions, does it appear that this team is going to be one which is snake-bitten heading onto the 2008 season?

LA: I wouldn't go to that degree just yet, but injury issues are always concerning. Lewis like a couple of the injured players could have played if this pre-season game would have been a regular season battle. This staff wants players ready for the season opener, and there is much less of a push made to get some ready that have been there, done that.

Q: The team has done a good job in not discussing wide receiver Joe Jurevicius and if he is going to play or miss the season. Is there anything going on with him do you see him coming back this season?

LA: I am skeptical about anything being said about Jurevicius right now. A player of lesser heart and desire may have packed it in; Jurevicius does want to play again and is working to see where he ultimately is physically. The Browns generally do not go out on a limb and discuss player injuries or health-related questions. I see it this way, if Jurevicius is physically able to get on the field, he will be there. Right now, I am not sold either way.

Q: The play of the offensive line has been quite offensive over the past two preseason games. Is this something that we should be concerned about, especially since Fraley and Hadnot appear to be the biggest weakness?

LA: The strength of the 2007 team roster has had a fair share of issues in the pre-season. Center Hank Fraley has struggled at times over the past two games, whereas Hadnot has been non-descript. Hadnot the practice player in training camp has looked better than Hadnot the starting OG right now. The coaching staff was surprised with the struggles, which were unexpected. I wouldn't say the team is doing anything differently since the poor pre-season start, but the emphasis on detail, etc, and knowing Ryan Tucker is expected to join the ranks soon should improve the situation.

Q: The Josh Cribbs injury certainly helps Syndric Steptoe's case to gain a roster spot. My question is should the Cribbs injury really factor in the thoughts of the organization as they look to pare players from the roster? Is Steptoe worthy of a role on this roster?

LA: There are plenty of snaps remaining prior to the start of the season, with WR Syndric Steptoe becoming a factor for this team. While being solid on special teams, the Browns offensive staff is coming away impressed with the way the second-year WR has come into camp and seized the opportunity. Steptoe has fared well in the return game, has been aggressive and confident in the receiving game and has shown an ability to play well in the slot.

Q: In the past two preseason games the only wide receiver that has shown us nothing had been Travis Wilson. Again Wilson teased us with his talent but couldn't get it done on game-day. Has he fallen to the wayside?

LA: WR Travis Wilson hasn't done himself any justice in the past two pre-season games. Those games did not show anything of the Wilson that I viewed in practice sessions, and is just one of the reasons why we note we want to see players in game conditions. This WR has displayed solid skill and fewer tendencies to mental errors in many practice sessions, but in game conditions he has not maximized the opportunity, some of which has been an inability to gain separation. Once again, it is going to fall on the WR to makes plays and gain the confidence of the staff.

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