Adkins: What We've Been Told

With the clock ticking toward the start of the season, Lane digs into his bag of sources and comes up with the latest on several key positional battles...

- The offensive line, an area which many believe would be a strength of the 2009 Browns, has yet to materialize. The tackle positions appear to be set with Joe Thomas and John St. Clair; it is the interior of the line, though, that's leaving many scratching their heads.

LG Eric Steinbach was perceived as an early target of the head coach due to his inability to maintain weight, which is believed to hamper his ability to be a physical lineman. While Steinbach has added bulk, there are concerns that he is not the "physical" type and may continue to struggle in the role. If training camp practice sessions and the pre-season opener can be used to gauge his performance, yes, Steinbach has had some troubles against physical defensive linemen and has created little push.

- While Steinbach was a focal point early in the camp process -- which has quieted due to the injury to lineman Rex Hadnot -- the same cannot be said regarding veteran C Hank Fraley.

Fraley came into camp lighter this year, and in what he believes as being in very good physical condition. With first-round draft selection Alex Mack looking over his shoulder, Fraley has been average in camp and is yet another offensive lineman struggling to gain push. Due to Mack not coming out of the gate quick, the Browns coaching staff continues to work with and develop the rookie, while Fraley grasps at what could be his final calling as a starter along the offensive line.

Interestingly, Floyd Womack has been garnering the vast majority of reps at the RG spot, but there was an indication veteran Ryan Tucker would gain reps -- that was until the veteran mysteriously vanished from the practice field recently.

- Yet, Mack continues to play the role of the inconsistent and talented rookie. Head coach Eric Mangini expected such inconsistency in learning and relating the process to the playing field, but it has been the mental errors which turn into physical mistakes on the practice and playing field that has Mangini seeing red on occasion.

Rookie or veteran, Mangini expects these players to execute, understand their roles and play smart football. Mack has struggled with these facets, as his numerous laps around the practice field would attest.

- Quinn or DA. DA or Quinn The question that seemingly never dies will not go away until Mangini gains a true comfort level with either player. The inconsistency from series to series is what remains at the forefront of this QB competition. But Mangini was pleased with Brady Quinn's overall performance against the Packers and with the majority of what he has done on the practice field in recent days -- though the interceptions completely get under the skin of the coach.

Derek Anderson has had his fair share of solid moments, only to pull blunder after blunder out of his helmet. Heading into the pre-season game in Cleveland against the Detroit Lions, Anderson needs a very solid showing. If he doesn't deliver and Quinn again looks the part, for all intents and purposes the true competition may end Saturday night.

- Much focus has been placed on the rotations and roles of players in camp. Early in camp, players were playing multiple positions and playing with the starters, backups and lower depth chart participants. In recent sessions, the roles may be coming much more defined for some, while others are being thrust into the fray to see if they have something the staff may have missed during the first three weeks of camp.

For players like Beau Bell, Leon Williams, Isaac Sowells, George Foster, Fred Weary and Dustin Fry, the next week could determine whether they make the roster, or become training camp fodder. Some of the same could be in effect at the TE position, where veteran Steve Heiden, Martin Rucker and Aaron Walker could be battling for two spots on the roster.

Issues surround the three players battling for two potential positions as Heiden is having a mediocre camp coming off knee surgery, Rucker has yet to display his ability to make plays, and Walker has battled some inconsistency. 

- The WR position has been an interesting area to watch develop. Outside of Braylon Edwards, there were numerous questions surrounding the talent level at the position, as well as a lack of experience.

Now it's three weeks into camp and Josh Cribbs, Mike Furrey and Mohamed Massaquoi have had outstanding camp sessions and could arguably be viable candidates for the No. 2 receiver spot opposite Edwards.

Realistically, following the spring and early summer sessions, nobody associated with the team anticipated the efficiency and battle which has ensued at the WR position. With a couple weeks remaining to solidify the roster, expect Mangini to put these players into some tough game conditions to evaluate where the depth chart will ultimately land.


The OBR Top Stories