Lane's Camp Tidbits

Once again, Lane drops some training camp science on the OBR readers, offering up details on several key positional battles.

- Offensive lineman Rex Hadnot (knee), injured during practice on Thursday, was not in sight during the practice session.

Losing Hadnot with what is an apparent serious knee injury, the rotation along the Browns offensive line will be somewhat revamped in the coming days. Hadnot had been competing with Eric Steinbach at LG throughout the first week of training camp. When Hadnot was taking reps with the first team, Steinbach would gain reps with the second team at the LT and LG positions. 

During the Friday morning practice session, Steinbach was a fixture at LG.

- Isaac Sowells, seldom utilized and believed to be fighting for a roster spot, could be the beneficiary of the Hadnot injury. Seeking versatility along the offensive line, Sowells has primarily been lined up at LT in camp sessions. On this day, Sowells was at RT, next to Ryan Tucker with the second-unit, and received a limited number of reps at LG as well.

- In what may be a sign, the starting offensive line was LT Joe Thomas, LG Eric Steinbach, C Hank Fraley, RG Floyd Womack and RT John St. Clair. This group has had the most success and for continuity purposes, appears to be the most well-rounded at this time.

- Missing from the starting equation along the offensive line is Tucker and 2009 first round draft selection Alex Mack. Again on Friday, Mack was forced to run a lap due to a communication mishap in drills. The rookie has had some fine moments in camp, but has not displayed the ability to be productive on the same level as that of the experienced Fraley.

As we have viewed in prior sessions, Mack was pushed around at the point by Shaun Smith and Ahtyba Rubin.

A former starter coming off injury, Tucker is rounding into form and has gained consistency along the right side of the offensive line. If not for Womack and St. Clair having solid camp sessions to date, Tucker's involvement and prominence would be much more noted. Presently, Tucker appears to be gaining reps at the RT position with the first team, giving the appearance the coaching staff has targeted he and St. Clair as the likely RT's for this team going forward.

- At RB, Jamal Lewis is the starter, while Jerome Harrison and James Davis continue to rotate reps with the first- and second-team offense spelling Lewis. Rather than pushing Lewis early, the coaching staff is taking the opportunity to evaluate Harrison and Davis equally.

Davis has continued to practice well and added an explosive quality to the offense every time he touches the football. Whether out of the backfield in the passing game, or as rusher, Davis has been a threat in sessions.

Whereas Davis has been consistent throughout, Harrison appears to be overcoming some early drops. Harrison has become reliable coming out of the backfield, which is significant due to this team having limited experience and depth at the position. In the running game, Harrison displays patience and ample burst against a defensive front seven that has been improving in team drills against the run.

- If there was ever a model of inconsistency, the Browns QB position would be the likely target. The hot and cold streaks of Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn continued on this day as neither QB was able to capitalize on opportunities in the two-minute drill.

As has been the norm much more than the exception, each QB again displayed the ability to move the team, only to see the offensive momentum stall, resulting in lengthy field-goal attempts.

For Quinn, the story today was inaccuracy. Throwing behind receivers has been customary for the third-year signal caller. With Anderson, a dropped pass and missed connection in the short game was his undoing.

Nearly one week into camp and the song remains the same. Neither QB is grasping the job by the throat and running with the opportunity, which is disturbing to a degree as there has been far too many plays left on the field.

- An interesting development may be in the offing at the LB position. The youth and explosive first steps of Titus Brown and Marcus Benard are gaining opportunities. 

Brown and Benard have gained reps as camp has progressed, with each player displaying qualities to note. For a team looking to create pressure on the QB, the two young LBs are full of athleticism and enthusiasm -- while also gaining pointers from veterans Kamerion Wimbley and David Bowens.

Bowens, having played in the Mangini defensive scheme previously, has come on in recent days. Signed as a free agent to help solidify the position during the off-season, Bowens has consistently provided a push from his OLB spot in team drills.

- Second-year OLB Alex Hall has lost some reps due to the emergence of Brown and Benard. Hall pancake-blocked TE John Madsen in blocking drills early in the session and has been regularly working with the second-team defense and special teams the past few days.

- WRs Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs, Syndric Steptoe and Mike Furrey performed well, catching multiple passes in team drills -- while Braylon Edwards, Brian Robiskie and Paul Hubbard were not focal points in the session.

- WR David Patten privately worked with staff members in quick rep strength training as well as riding the stationary bike.

- The TE position is an area of open competition, and it was heavily utilized in the practice session. Starter Robert Royal and Steve Heiden caught numerous passes in team drills, while Martin Rucker and Aaron Walker each had an attempt thrown their way.

- In team drills, Hall would have been credited with a sack, possibly two, while Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams also made their way into the offensive backfield.

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