Tales From the Inbox

The mail has been delivered, and Lane delves into the latest issues surrounding the team, including the trade winds swirling around Corey Williams...

Q: What is the deal with Shaun Rogers? Is this a case where the player is dogging it so he does not have to practice, or is this really an injury issue and the Browns are being precautionary?

LA: Shaun Rogers does not have a significant injury, as I have been told. If this were the regular season, Rogers would be on the playing field, according to my sources.

And, Mangini has been more receptive to a player's needs than anyone covering this team will report and the team is geared toward having a healthy Rogers for the duration, not for a handful of snaps in the pre-season.

Q: Is Corey Williams beginning to look like the standout lineman he was supposed to be upon coming here from Green Bay? I have read reports he is doing well, but would like to know if this is something he can build upon against top-tier talent on a weekly basis.

LA: Corey Williams may have shown more in the past three weeks than in his entire time in Cleveland combined, but I remain uncertain that he is a two-gap lineman.

Being healthy, as well as understanding and experiencing the position, has helped the defensive lineman. It also has been to his benefit that defensive line coach Bryan Cox and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan are more intense, attacking types at the position. 

Still, Williams has to continue to show he can be consistent on the playing field. With that, his presence and impact should improve.

Q: There had been some trade rumors that Corey Williams could be on the block. Is there any truth to this and would a move like this even appear to be remotely possible considering the state of the Browns defensive line?

LA: Interesting, the Carolina Panthers were represented during an earlier Browns pre-season game. 

I am mixed on the notion of dealing Williams and if this is even a possibility. Early in camp, I could easily see the Browns looking to do something; now, I am much more uncertain.

While Williams has not developed into the 'stud' defensive lineman former general manager Phil Savage envisioned, he has been practicing well and gaining a much better grasp of the position.

Williams is listed as the starter, but I am of the impression veteran Robaire Smith has had a better camp and performed better in pre-season game activities to this point.

Q: What's the deal with safety Brodney Pool? Not practicing still, is the rumored concussion a reality and when will he return to the playing field?

LA: TheOBR is of the impression Pool did suffer another concussion and is out indefinitely. That being said, we are hearing some rumblings that he may be ready by the season opener, but with head injuries you can never be too certain.

Q: All this Brady Quinn/Derek Anderson competition has gotten old. Why in the hell can't this organization make a decision at the position and run with it? Every year it's the same old story, the team never has a solid quarterback in place for the team to work around and develop with.

LA: Agreed, all the QB competition talk has gotten old. Making matters worse is neither player has simply grabbed the job by the throat and run with it. 

Consistency at the QB position is critical for long-term building and success. For the immediate, a competition such as this one can create a divide amongst the roster, which has not yet reared its head in camp.

But, the days are dwindling and the winner of this competition needs to be getting all the reps necessary to be well-versed in the offense heading into Week One of the regular season.

I am of the belief Mangini does have his starter in mind and is letting the process play itself out tonight against the Tennessee Titans.

This game will be the ultimate test for each QB -- and from what I have been told, Mangini fully expects the starter to emerge from this game.

And it better; this team, this offense needs a leader and a presence at the position.

Q: In looking at each of the quarterbacks, what is your biggest concern with each player and is this playing into the equation during this competition?

LA: My biggest area of concern with DA is that he continues to make the same mental mistakes over and over. You simply cannot throw into coverage in this league and expect to excel. Sure, there are going to be many successful plays, but it's those errors, turnovers, etc. that kill drives and scoring opportunities.

As for Quinn, he needs to get the ball into the end zone, period. I see less mental errors coming from Quinn, but I'm also see him not getting the team into the end-zone, which I know is a concern to this coaching staff. Quinn is getting better in letting the play develop; his fast pace in checking down to another receiver is slowing, but still a little too quick, according to those that have played and coached the game.

I often wonder if this competition is being overanalyzed by the coach and media alike.

Q:  What do you believe is going to be the biggest misconception of this football team in the 2009 season? What do you see as being the most improved area within this team?

LA: That the Browns are going to be a dink-and-dunk, power-rushing team. I really believe this team is going to attack vertically more than most envision, and that is with either DA or Quinn under center.

What I like is the coaches have taken the reins off the players, especially the QB's, and are letting them play the game as it needs to be in this age. A QB needs the room to change plays, as well as the ability to utilize their specific skills -- all of which were issues with the past regime in Cleveland.

I believe the offense has the ability to be much better than many expect. If the offensive line can provide adequate push in the running game and protect the QB, there is enough talent to be an interesting offense.

Hands down though, the coaching and preparation is on another level with Mangini in charge. I see the offense, defense and special teams all being improved from those of a season ago.

Q: Can you tell me who the starting running back should be and why? Same with the QB?

LA: Veteran Jamal Lewis should be the starter until someone can push him out of the role. Rookie James Davis has made quite a splash in training camp, but I need to see that Lewis either cannot be effective or another player is ready for the demanding role. Presently, Davis is a budding talent, but I would like to see him play a complimentary role to Lewis at the start of the season and see what develops from there.

At QB, I have debated this position back and forth for weeks. I actually chart the plays each run in sessions, noting the outcome and preferred outcome, etc.

I really like DA's ability to strike quickly, but I get very concerned when his first option is not available.

On paper, it's Quinn.

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