Quarterback Brady Quinn: Some quarterbacks need three years to develop. Some quarterbacks need three years to have a fair chance. Quinn is part of the latter group.
Quinn heads to training camp neck-and-neck with Derek Anderson for the starting job under first-year coach Eric Mangini. For Quinn, that is a good place to start. He eliminated himself from competition by holding out as a rookie in 2007. There was no competition last year because Anderson threw 29 touchdown passes and won 10 games in 2007. Anderson stumbled last year and Romeo Crennel was fired as head coach, so now Anderson and Quinn are even.
Quinn shows poise when he is on the field and commands the huddle. He will have one advantage Anderson did not have over the last two years; he will not have Kellen Winslow barking in his ear.
Neither quarterback looked sharp in the minicamps. Quinn has worked hard to digest the theories of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Daboll is a branch off the Charlie Weis tree and since Quinn excelled under Weiss at Notre Dame, Quinn should have an advantage. He still has to work on his accuracy, though. He completed barely 50 percent of his passes last season (45 of 89) while going 1-2 in three starts.
Running back Jamal Lewis: Lewis squeaked past 1,000 yards in 2008 on his final carry of the season. He rushed for more than 1,300 yards in 2007. He turns 30 in August.
Put those three factors together and the question becomes: How much does Lewis have left in the tank after carrying the ball 2,399 times in a career that began in 2000 with the Ravens? Coach Eric Mangini, apparently, believes Lewis can still be productive because the Browns did not sign a feature running back in free agency and they did not draft one until they took James Davis in the sixth round.
Lewis is arguably the most important player the Browns have on offense. If he shows signs of slowing down, if he is a split-second slow getting to the hole, the running attack will be woeful. Opponents could be in the nickel virtually all the time and make life very difficult for Quinn or Anderson. But if Lewis can regain the power that produced nine rushing touchdowns in 2007 - the Browns as a team rushed for only six last year - the offense will be improved, even with Winslow in Tampa Bay.
Lewis is coming off ankle surgery. He was rested in the minicamps. He might work slowly into training camp so he is fresh for September.
Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley: For three years, coaches have been saying how well Wimbley plays, even though his sack totals dwindled from 11 as a rookie to five in 2007 and four last year.
The Browns need to get more pressure on quarterbacks, and the 2006 form of Wimbley would help. He is slippery rushing around the corner, but defenses have grown wise to his best move. He has been working to develop other ways to the quarterback.
Position battle: Starting right cornerback: Incumbent Brandon McDonald and former Arizona Cardinal starter Rod Hood are the contenders. McDonald stumbled in midseason last year but righted himself. The Browns picked up Hood, a key player in Arizona's run to the Super Bowl, after the first rush in free agency. The winner could be the one that tackles best in run support. The loser will be the nickel back.
CAMP CALENDAR: Rookies report to training camp July 24. Veterans report July 31. The first full squad practice is Aug. 1. Training camp tentatively closes on Aug. 27.
--The Browns have suspended their Browns Legends inductions for one year. Since 2001, one player from the 1940s-50s, one from the 1960s, one from the 1970s and one from the 1980s and after were elected by a committee and by fans to what amounts to a Browns Hall of Fame. The process is being reviewed.
--According to his agent, Ken Zuckerman, fourth-round draft choice Kaluka Maiava has agreed to a four-year contract. The Browns have not made the announcement official because the contract isn't signed.
--Road construction around the Browns training camp in Berea, Ohio is causing scheduling headaches for training camp. The Browns announced the schedule for Aug. 1-9 on July 22. The schedule for the remainder of camp will be announced on the Wednesday before the next week of practice.
--Former Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., discussing details of the staph infection that jolted his career last season, told ESPN the Magazine that doctors drained fluid from his testicles so he could play against the Redskins on Oct. 19. After the game Winslow said the Browns treated him "like a piece of meat" while he was hospitalized. Winslow was suspended for the game against Jacksonville the following week because of his remarks. The suspension was later rescinded.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That is going to have to be worked out. He will get a lot of opportunities in different roles. It's important for him to develop a role." - Coach Eric Mangini on how Jerome Harrison fits in at running back.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
As of July 23, one day before the rookies report to training camp, top pick Alex Mack and all three second-round picks - receivers Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi plus linebacker David Veikune - remain unsigned. Fourth-round choice Kaluka Maiava, the linebacker from USC, has agreed to a contract but hasn't signed.
With eight days between the rookies reporting date of July 24 and the first practice Aug. 1 there is still time to work out the contracts, but progress is slow.
Robiskie and Massaquoi are vying for a starting job opposite Braylon Edwards. The winner could be the one that signs his contract and gets to camp first.