Cuts Show New Era Beginning

The list of players released last week clearly demonstrates that changes are at hand for the Browns. Scout.com offers some perspective...

A month into the job as head coach, Eric Mangini is making it clear that players who earned a soft spot in the hearts of the previous regime will not necessarily be working for the Browns with new bosses in charge.

The best example of how the recent past means little to Mangini and new general manager George Kokinis is that a couple prominent players were among seven Browns released Monday. At the top of the list is Ken Dorsey.

It turns out Dorsey was valuable to the Browns right up until the time he had to start at quarterback in December.

Linebacker Antwan Peek, cornerback Terry Cousin, quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, offensive lineman Scott Young, kicker Jason Reda and punter Mike Dragosavich were also axed.

Dorsey was acquired in a trade with the 49ers in 2006 for Trent Dilfer. The Browns also got a seventh-round draft choice in the trade. At the time their starter was Charlie Frye, and Derek Anderson was the backup. Some fans attending training camp that year were convinced Dorsey was the Browns' best quarterback. Former coach Romeo Crennel knew better.

Dorsey was considered a mentor for Derek Anderson in 2006 and a tutor for Brady Quinn in 2007. Dorsey played in one game in 2006 and threw one pass, which was incomplete. He did not take a snap in 2007. He continued in his role as third quarterback in 2008 and an unofficial coach in shoulder pads, but then Quinn was injured (finger) and Anderson was injured (knee) and both went on injured reserve within 10 days of each other.

With four games left, Crennel was forced to start Dorsey. The former Miami Hurricane, 38-2 as a starter in college, was 0-3 as a starter with the Browns. He did not produce a single touchdown, completed 43 of 91 passes, threw seven interceptions, was sacked five times and had a 28.5 passer rating.

Releasing Peek was almost as surprising, considering how weak the pass rush was in 2008. The Browns had 17 sacks, third fewest in the league.

Peek had the misfortune of tearing a patellar tendon the Wednesday before the season opener against the Cowboys. He was to be the rush linebacker from the left side, with Corey Williams in front of him as the new left end. The injury knocked Peek out for the season. He had four sacks in 2007.

Peek worked hard in his rehab and was looking forward to returning to the Browns in 2009. With Willie McGinest likely to retire the Browns do not have a legitimate outside linebacker for the left side.

Cousin was signed in May camp because the Browns were in dire need of a backup behind starters Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright. Cousin played in all 16 games. He intercepted one pass and broke up two others.

Gradkowski, like Cousin, was signed in desperation. He started the final game after subbing for Dorsey in the 15th game. Gradkowski's final numbers: seven completions in 21 tries for 26 yards (1.2 yards per pass attempt), no touchdowns, three interceptions and a 2.8 passer rating.


COACHES WANTED: Eric Mangini was hired as head coach on Jan. 8, but the Browns are still looking for four position coaches - wide receiver, running back, tight ends and linebacker.

RAC LANDING? There is a chance former head coach Romeo Crennel will be retained in some capacity, but it is unlikely it would be as a position coach. Last week Mangini and Crennel met for dinner to catch up on old times, as Mangini put it. They coached together for the Jets and the Patriots. A job for Crennel was not discussed. Crennel was under contract through 2011 when he was fired on Dec. 29.

WHAT ABOUT BILL? Coach Eric Mangini hoped to hire Bill Callahan as offensive line coach so Callahan could instill some West Coast offense in the Browns' offensive system. Callahan, though, is still under contract to the Jets and the Jets wouldn't let him out of it. Instead the offensive line coach is George Warhop. Warhop coached the 49ers offensive line the last four years.

SPOTTERS: If nothing else, the Browns should be strong and well-conditioned. Three strength and conditioning coaches are on Mangini's staff. Tom Myslinski was retained as strength and conditioning coach, and Alan DeGennaro was retained as his assistant. Rick Lyle, who coached under Mangini with the Jets, was also hired as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.

STAFF REDUCTIONS: The Browns have been busy shrinking their front office staff in recent weeks. The poor economy was blamed for dismissing more than 15 employees, including director of communications Amy Palcic and director of media relations Ken Mather.

Shaun Rogers arrived in Cleveland with the reputation of being difficult for the media to get along with when he played for the Lions. The media covering the Browns never had a problem with him. Rogers credited Amy Palcic with making him feel comfortable in his new surroundings. He thanked her by making her a guest of him and his wife at the Pro Bowl.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think there's any timetable you need to put on a team, I think it starts with day one. And then it goes to day two and you've got to improve every day." -- General Manager George Kokinis on turning the Browns around.


The OBR Top Stories