Brian Daboll is confident the drought the Browns experienced playing the last six games of 2008 without an offensive touchdown will have no carryover to 2009. The Browns were 4-6 before the tailspin and lost their final six games.
"I don't think last year has anything to do with what we are going to do this year," Daboll said. "We are going to do whatever we need to do try to win each particular week. One week it could be running the ball a bunch and the next week it could be passing the ball. In terms of our physical and mental approach, our aim is to be tough, smart, competitive and tenacious."
Daboll started his coaching career as a "restricted volunteer" at William & Mary in 1997. He was an administrative assistant/grad assistant at Michigan State the next two years and then was a defensive assistant on the New England Patriots staff in 2000-01. He moved to the offensive side of the ball as a receivers coach in 2002 and retained that position for five years.
Eric Mangini, then in his second year as head coach of the Jets, hired Daboll as quarterbacks coach in 2007. Daboll had the same job last year. Mangini quickly hired Daboll after being named head coach of the Browns.
"I've learned offense from a couple different people," Daboll said. I've been in this league for about 10 years. Some of it is from Charlie (Weis), some of it is from Brian Schottenheimer, some from Bill Callahan, Dante Scarnecchia, Tater (Carl) Smith -- there are a lot of guys.
"Our offense is kind of a conglomeration of a lot of different things. They are the things that we believe in as coaches on this staff to make up the Browns offense."
Weis was the Patriots offensive coordinator when Daboll was with New England. Schottenheimer is the offensive coordinator with the Jets and Callahan, a former Raiders head coach, is the Jets offensive line coach. Smith is the Browns quarterbacks coach. Scarnecchia is the Patriots offensive line coach.
Some bizarre circumstances affected that six-game drought at the end of 2008. Four quarterbacks started those games. Brady Quinn started the 16-6 loss to the Texans, Derek Anderson started the 10-6 loss to the Colts and Ken Dorsey started in the 28-9 loss to the Titans, the 30-10 loss to the Eagles and the 14-0 loss to the Bengals. Bruce Gradkowski started the final game. The Browns mustered only 126 yards of offense in a 31-0 loss to the Steelers.
Predictably, Daboll has little to say about the quarterback derby between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. If one is leading he isn't saying.
"The best player is going to win it," Daboll said. "They are smart, tough, competitive, and they can both throw the football. We are looking for someone who can get into the huddle, call the play, get the people lined up...understand the whole mechanics of the huddle operation.
"The next thing is decision making and who can perform the best under pressure. We've been out there without any pads on. We've been trying to put on as much pressure situations as we can, but when the pads come on that will kind of sort itself out."
Mangini said Anderson and Quinn will be dead even when training camp starts.
CAMP CALENDAR: Training camp opens for the Browns on Aug. 1. It is tentatively scheduled to close on Aug. 20. The Browns will stage an intrasquad scrimmage at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Aug. 9.