Thoughts following the final game against the Bears and roster cuts...
- Injuries continue to be an issue for this team. OG Rex Hadnot (knee strain) will miss a week or two, WR/KR Syndric Steptoe rise took a hit when he injured a shoulder in the first quarter, while TE Darnell Dinkins landed hard on his hip, which took him out of the game.
The Hadnot injury is concerning due to the unknown regarding OG Ryan Tucker. Tucker, coming off hip surgery in early June has not been involved in full team practice sessions and has worked in individual drills. The veteran is expected to practice with the team no later than Monday.
Steptoe secured a roster spot due to his solid play in the receiving and return game. In his absence, WR Travis Wilson grasped the spotlight in the Browns loss to the Bears, but his play wasn't enough to justify a position or find a trade partner.
Dinkins has quietly put together a strong summer in Cleveland. Notorious for being a blocking tight-end, Dinkins has been relatively impressive in team drills, whether maintaining blocks at the point of attack or in the receiving game. The impressive training camp sessions of this veteran may earned him a roster spot.
- On the receivers on the Cleveland roster: The tight-end position appears set, following the release of Brad Cieslak (who should catch on somewhere). The WR's are an area of question with the release of Travis Wilson, Steve Sanders, Efrem Hill and Lance Leggett. Quite possibly, the team may be looking at adding another WR with experience to the mix.
- Speaking of Tucker, the offensive lineman is in good spirits and is ready to get on the practice field. The injury suffered by Hadnot opens the door for Tucker to slide back into the starting spot he held over the second half of the 2007 season. With Tucker coming off injury and Hadnot nursing a knee, initial 2007 starting RG Seth McKinney will be in the mix for starting consideration in the short term.
- Speaking of McKinney, training camp has not been a pleasant experience for the veteran. McKinney suffered an ankle sprain which sidelined him for a good portion of camp. Once healthy, the former starter lined-up with the second-team offense at center behind Hank Fraley. Between two rookies on the line, McKinney has not had a strong pre-season and there have been whispers that he could be expendable. The injuries suffered by Hadnot and Lennie Friedman helped make a roster spot available for McKinney.
- Coming off two sub-par performances, Fraley looked much more like the 2007 starting center of the Browns. Fraley had been abused by the size and strength of the interior defensive linemen of the New York Giants and Detroit Lions in recent pre-season games. Against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, the center held well at the point of attack and meshed well with offensive guards Eric Steinbach and Rex Hadnot.
- Rookie OG Nathan Bennett is a player we followed closely throughout the off-season sessions and training camp. Bennett moves well in space, is very receptive of coaching and provides a physical, yet agile presence. This young man worked diligently and now may have the opportunity to continue this very successful and unexpected year.
- The cornerbacks have been an issue throughout training camp, with a roster riddled with young players and undrafted free agents. With the release of A.J. Davis and Jereme Perry, the roster at the position remains youthful. The position will continue to be an area of focus, as the CB's have not appeared to settle in and provide much confidence that cornerback is not a weakness.
- The termination of veteran OLB Shantee Orr comes as a surprise, but in the larger scope of things probably shouldn't be. The emergence of seventh-round draft selection Alex Hall fills a role at OLB, and the team has high expectations of rookie LB Beau Bell. In the final judgement, the team preferred the ability of ILB and special teams player Kris Griffin over the pass rush potential Orr provided.