John Taylor: Circling The Browns

John Taylor comes through AGAIN, with the answers you want: Is Brady Quinn getting more reps? Is Kellen Winslow really going to demand a trade? What's the status of players wanting new contracts? Get the goods exclusively on the OBR...

-- In light of the recent ESPN story on kicker Phil Dawson looking for a contract extension, here are a couple of things to keep in mind regarding this "situation": First, and most importantly, Dawson's agent is Neil Cornrich, who also happens to represent general manager Phil Savage. In situations such as these, where there could be a perceived conflict of interest, Savage removes himself from the process and allows cap specialist Trip MacCracken to run the negotiations. Secondly, there is not a more honorable man in the agent business than the Cleveland-based Cornrich. There have been some insinuations from fans and the media that Cornrich and Dawson are making/will make waves in regard to his contract. Simply put, that will not happen. That's not how those two men live their lives.

-- With Willie McGinest nursing a hamstring injury, look for Shantee Orr to start at left outside linebacker should the veteran be unable to go. And whither Alex Hall? The rookie has struggled with the speed of the NFL game and the intricacies of the Browns' defense. "It might be a case of a little bit too much, too soon," the source said, referring to the inexperienced LB being pushed into action due to injuries to Antwan Peek and now McGinest. Most of Hall's problems have centered around the running game, the source added, while he seems to thrive in passing situations. That's virtually the opposite of how most rookie LBs enter this league.

-- Speaking of Peek, a source close to the LB said he is "devastated by the injury and very much fearful his playing days are over." A Browns source tells The OBR that Peek's reaction is "a normal part of the process all of these athletes go through during the initial stages of such a devastating injury." The Browns are very confident Peek will put the requisite work in to come back from the career-threatening injury; whether his body will allow a comeback is another story, and one that won't be played out to its conclusion for another seven or eight months.

-- Even given his recent knee surgery, the Browns and the agent for Sean Jones have remained in contact regarding a new contract for the safety, The OBR has learned. Both sides would like to get a new deal done at some point this season, but the organization would likely have no problem using the franchise tag on the talented defensive back this off-season should it come to that. Jones, who is in the final year of his rookie contract and could be an unrestricted free agent next March, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Sept. 11. He is expected to be out until the middle of next month, although he is progressing well enough, a source said, that he "could be considered slightly ahead of schedule right now."

-- To buttress what Lane Adkins reported yesterday, there is no truth to the rumor going around that Brady Quinn was receiving more snaps – upwards of 50% by one account – than normal in practice this week. "Derek (Anderson) is somewhat struggling right now. He needs more work, not less," one source told The OBR.

-- The Browns have been very privately and very quietly getting into Derek Anderson's ear about trusting receivers other than #17 and #80. The coaching staff believes too many plays and too many yards are being left on the field because the QB doesn't have the same type of rapport with Syndric Steptoe, Steve Sanders and Josh Cribbs that he has or had with others. While it's an ongoing process that may not bear fruit immediately, it's something the staff will continue to insist upon as Anderson becomes more and more comfortable with his new targets.

-- Earlier this week, agent Drew Rosenhaus made waves – shock? – during a radio interview by stating that one of his high-profile clients currently on a losing team was contemplating going public with his trade demands. Rosenhaus represents Kellen Winslow, who certainly fits the criteria laid out by the agent in his interview. Especially given the talk earlier this off-season of the tight end wanting a new contract. However, based on every single person I have talked to in the last two days – and there have been several of them connected to the situation – Winslow is not the player Rosenhaus was referring to. Now, should the Browns continue their woeful ways and Rosenhaus continues to be denied in even broaching the subject of a new deal for his client, could things change? Of course, that could become a reality. As it stands right now, though, Winslow seemingly has no intention of throwing down an in-season trade gauntlet.

-- After struggling throughout training camp, the entire pre-season and even into the first game of the regular season, the Browns feel Corey Williams may have turned a corner during last Sunday night's loss to the Steelers. While he's still adjusting to being a 3-4 end after four years as a 4-3 tackle, the defensive lineman "showed well in the practice leading up to the Pittsburgh game, and then followed that up with a very, very effective game." With every practice, every game, a source said, it's becoming more and more instinctual and less and less "thinking, then reacting" for Williams.



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