Ask the Insiders. Lane, Dave, and Mike field your questions and provide an inside look at the decisions which will be made during the coming off-season."> Ask the Insiders. Lane, Dave, and Mike field your questions and provide an inside look at the decisions which will be made during the coming off-season.">

Highlights from Ask the Insiders

For those of you who want the inside scoop but don't have time surf the forum, here is yet another condensed version of <A HREF="">Ask the Insiders</A>. Lane, Dave, and Mike field your questions and provide an inside look at the decisions which will be made during the coming off-season.

ChiTwnBrown: It is becoming obvious that the playoffs aren't a real possibility this year. So I start to wonder about next year and if the players we have will be good enough to get us 'there' next year so here's my Q... Do we have the right players to get us to the playoffs, will one more year with the system produce the results we were hoping for or do we need big changes throughout the team? In short what can we expect to transpire in the offseason?

Mike McLain: Carmen Policy asked the question yesterday: "I'm going to talk to Butch Davis to see if we need an overhaul or some tinkering."

My feeling is that it will be something in between. The biggest changes will be on the offensive line, where center Dave Wohlabaugh is almost certainly gone because of ineffective play and salary-cap purposes. Guards Barry Stokes and Shaun O'Hara wll likely be replaced, and it's possible that Ross Verba might move to left guard.

I'm convinced there will be a new starter at tight end.

Dwayne Rudd is likely gone at outside linebacker. Earl Holmes might not be on firm ground, either.

I have to believe that the poor safety play Sunday didn't sit well with Butch. In particular, Robert Griffith's swing-and-a-miss attempted tackle of Mungro was a joke. Griffith doesn't make enough big plays.

JonSheep: If you haven't read it, there is a good article by David Carducci on the front page questioning the coaching staff. I happen to share many of the same thoughts. My question to David or any other insiders: Who could we get to replace the elderly Foge Fazio? I'm sure there are plenty of capable guys out there, but what about Dick LeBeau? He will most likely be fired by the Bengals, and he's known for putting together some great defenses that play to a players strenghts. His head coaching experience (albeit with the Bengals) and knowledge of the division are a big plus. Any thoughts?

David Carducci: I think Davis needs to explore any and all options.

Good coaches make changes in their staff when things are not working. Coaches like Bill Cowher, who cut loose Kevin Gilbride when that expirement didn't work out. When his special teams were a joke, Cowher removed Bobby April.

I'm not necessarily saying Foge Fazio needs to go. With this team, I am not completely sure who is accountable. We have all heard how much Butch Davis likes to micromanage, and because of that, we don't really know who is accountable. I guess we will find out with what moves are or are not made in the offseason.

That said, the current philosophy is not working.There is too much invested up front on the D-line to accept just average production.

I think it would make sense to explore a number of different options, and if LeBeau is available, he would be an interesting option if his philosophy fits. LeBeau was a good defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh. If nothing else, he was very aggressive. His blitzing style, however, may not necessarily fit with Davis' desire to play cover-two and expect expect natural pressure from the D-line. Maybe the change needs to come at the D-line coach.

Some of us talked with Carmen Policy after the game and he talked about not knowing what needed to happen, and whether Davis and his staff just needed to "tinker" a bit or if the team needed to re-tool.

In the case of Courtney Brown, what you see might just be what you get. He may not have the aggressiveness to be a great DE. I don't see accepting that from Warren, however. Warren has the skill and the demeanor on the field to be an impact player. The question with him going back to Florida is how hard he is willing to work to reach his potential. If the current staff is not inspiring him to tap into that potential, then maybe a change needs to be made in favor of someone who will light a fire under him.

DCBrowns: During the last series White was in and Green was out? With Green in teams have to respect our running game, even if we don't have a lot of time left to run. What is the reason for this? 

Mike McLain: I agree that Green should have been in for that final series. Although the Browns were out of timeouts, they started the drive at the Colts' 48 and with 2:52 remaining to play.

Add the two-minute warning into the mix, and there was no need to make exclusive use of a passing set. I think a couple of runs by Green were called for, which might have opened up the passing lanes.

I have to believe that if Green is on the field for the third-down call from the five (there was more than one minute left at the time), the Colts are thinking run as much as pass.

Play-action might have worked in that situation, just like it did on Manning's 3-yard TD throw to Marvin Harrison. Free safety Earl Little bit on the play fake, and Harrison broke wide open.

There was little imagination by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on the most important possession of the season.

James_t_h: Hey insiders, I was wondering if it is at all possible for the browns to get McKinnie from the vikes? Maybe trade the oft-injured Courtney Brown? I am probably hoping for too much, but any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated...
ArtBtz: I'll defer to the people who actually know what they're talking about, but all concerned feel that McKinnie's contract is structured such that he could be traded. A package of Brown and draft picks would be likely to be in play. I suspect that this is very much within the realm of possibility and will be one of the key stories we're tracking this off-season.

Mike McLain: I agree with artbtz on this one. (Note: Mike needs to be careful about admitting these things)

I think that Butch Davis wants to center his offseason attention on the offensive line, which includes the goal of landing McKinnie to play left tackle and moving Ross Verba to left guard.

The problem is that the Vikings are playing better down the stretch and might think that they'll be a playoff team next season. Mike Tice likes McKinnie. If that's the case, why trade a stud left tackle who has a cap-friendly deal, unless there's something we don't know?

Since it took McKinnie so long to sign, he might have had an agreement with the Vikings in which he would sign for less than he wanted with the provision that he be traded. Just a hunch.


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