Skinny Tidbits: The Linebackers & More

Lane Adkins looks at the team's decision-making as it is evolving this off-season, and brings to light some of what is transpiring. What's happening with contracts, scouting, and leaking? Lane brings the scoop, as always...

- ILB D'Qwell Jackson continues to garner praise from head coach Eric Mangini and defensive assistants as they evaluate film of the team. The belief is Mangini is looking to place a veteran presence inside next to Jackson, in hopes of solidifying the interior linebacker play.

- Although last year's stats paint the Browns rush defense as porous, there is a belief that scheme and subtle changes in personnel will help the team resolve the issue. TheOBR has learned that the Browns have discussed changing the gap technique or strategy to utilize the strength of players such as Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams.

- Speaking of Williams: While the veteran defensive lineman does not appear to be in line to be a salary-cap casualty, there has been some discussion within the Browns organization regarding the possibility of restructuring some contracts. Williams has been named in these discussions.

- With free agency pending for starting safety Sean Jones, the Browns are not showing their cards, and their intentions remain unclear. The word coming from those around the game is, the Browns are wary of committing long-term to Jones, as injuries and inconsistency are an issue.

- From some in attendance at the Senior Bowl in January, theOBR has learned the Browns were very interested, spending considerable time evaluating the linebackers and defensive backs throughout the week. Presently holding the fifth selection in the first round, the Browns could very well target OLB Aaron Curry of Wake Forest. While Curry appears to be the top-rated OLB in the draft, scouts for the Browns kept a close eye on Clay Matthews and Rey Maualuga, both from USC.

- Recently there was a report that former Browns General Manager Phil Savage had been making some disparaging remarks about his former team and its owner, Randy Lerner. Multiple sources have informed theOBR that Savage alluded toward the organization being 'a mess' and without any direction. At the same time, however, it must be pointed out that Savage was at the forefront of many issues within the team structure, and was the man responsible for developing the football side of the organization.

- Most organizations around the NFL leak information from within the team - whether intentionally or unintentionally. As Lerner, team president Mike Keenan and senior vice president Lew Merletti found out (almost by mistake), high-ranking personnel within the Browns were spilling the beans to not only media but to members of other organizations. TheOBR has learned the issue came to a head during Senior Bowl week, when numerous communications were identified coming from within the organization and others within the NFL.

- Team owner Randy Lerner has basically given Mangini and general manager George Kokinis approval to do what is needed to improve the team. Don't look for the new brain trust to seek standing ovations for their moves. Instead, look for the new regime to make numerous less-flashy personnel moves in the off-season which to solidify both the team's core and depth. The expectation level from most outside the organization could be best described as "wait and see".


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