- The Browns defensive coaching staff, as well as head coach Eric Mangini, have been pleasantly surprised with the play of rookie defensive backs, Don Carey and Coye Francies. As reflected in comments from the head coach this afternoon, both had done well in practice sessions. The rookies have each picked-off numerous passes in these sessions, are displaying the ability to get their hands on the ball and show improving awareness.
While they won't say this to the press, the team knows that their quarterbacks (Quinn, Anderson and Ratliff) have been on a roller coaster ride throughout the practice sessions. Ups and downs in performance are noted, with the number of downward turns seeming to lessen over the past weeks. One potential differentiator between the players to watch is the manner which the quarterbacks attack the defense. Quinn will look down-field, but turns to the shorter game quickly, whereas Anderson and Ratliff are more open to going down-field.
- At this point, the Browns coaching staff likes the competitiveness of the players along the right-side of the offensive line. Floyd Womack, John St. Clair and Ryan Tucker have jumped around between the guard and tackle spots, with Tucker having the early edge to be listed at the top of the depth-chart at either position heading into camp.
- In the base defensive sets, inside linebackers D'Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton have been mainstays and for good reason. Both ILBs have displayed strong awareness and quickness to the point. The Browns defense, in general, seems to be reacting quicker than last year.
- Rookie LB David Veikune has been inconsistent like most rookies in practice sessions. With Kamerion Wimbley, Alex Hall and David Bowens gaining plenty of reps at OLB, and Jackson and Barton at ILB, Veikune does not get significant time with the first team defense. Despite all this, the Browns staff says they are quite satisfied with Veikune.
- The Browns coaching staff has spent time researching what players do best. They're looking for special on-field attributes which they can take advantage of within their new defensive scheme. This has been a work in progress on the defensive side of the ball, where the customary 3-4 base defensive look may have some wrinkles added due to the specific talents of individual players.