Taylor's Pregame Six-Pack: Goodbye Jamal?

JT pops the top on insights and scoops, including an inside revelation about Jamal Lewis. Check it out and then join us in Gameday Live at kickoff!

Thoughts, notes, questions, suggestions and random snottiness as the Cleveland Browns put the finishing touches on the 2009 preseason with a trip to the Windy City against the Chicago Bears.

  • As much as I or anyone else can sit here -- not literally sit right here where I'm at right now because it might get awkward depending on the individual -- and profess that we would be shocked if anyone but Brady Quinn was named as the starter, until Eric Mangini publicly announces his pick, it remains the decision carrying the most import for the 2009 season.

    Especially entering the fourth game of the fake season.  Without a starter having been named at QB.

    Usually in the fourth game, the starter would play one series then  sit -- if he's in there at all.

    Given the Browns' situation, they will have no choice but to leave one of the QBs who seemingly has a chance to win the job in against players who are fighting for their professional careers.  Players who will be looking to impress their coaches with a hard hit, regardless of whether or not the hittee is a potential starter at the most important position on the field.

    Grab those rosaries tight.  Put on the pads and hit your knees in prayer.  Whatever you do for a good outcome in a particular situation, do it in the hopes that it can ward off what could be a colossal blunder on the part of the Browns for allowing the QB situation to play out as long as it has.

  • Earlier this week in the ATI forum, someone asked the following question: "What % would you give that Jamal makes the final roster?"

    My response? "100% chance that Jamal Lewis is on the roster come Sept. 13."

    Fast-forward to today, and I got the following email from a Browns source who reads the OBR religiously: "You might want to adjust that % for Jamal.  It's not as cut and dried as you make it out to be."  The source refused to go into any further detail in subsequent conversations.

    So, in addition to the QB situation, you might want to pay attention to the RB situation as well tonight.  And a helluva lot more than I would've thought just four days ago.

  • So, let's see, what other starting battles do we have to look forward to tonight...

    Offensive line?  Nope, that's settled.  (Yes, Alex Mack will get the nod over Hank Fraley.)

    Defensive line?  That's going to be a rotation-heavy unit, so it really matters not who is listed atop the depth chart.  All of the players remaining after the last round of cuts will get plenty of opportunities as the coaching staff will look to keep their guys fresh.

    Secondary?  Nope, that's settled as well.  If Brodney Pool is healthy, he's starting.  If he's not, Mike Adams will.  The other safety and starting corners are set, although you could make a case that the nickel and dime defense plug-ins are worth a look.

    Special teams?  (chuckle)

    Tight end?  Robert Royal is the starter.  Congrats, Martin Rucker.  You blew a golden opportunity.  At least for now.

    All of the above leaves us with...

  • The linebackers and No. 2 wide receiver slot.  First, the former...

    Obviously, three of the four LB spots are locked up: D'Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton inside, and Kamerion Wimbley at one outside spot.

    As for the other outside 'backer, it's down to David Bowens and Alex Hall.  And, really, at this point in time, it's almost a certainty that Bowens gets the starting nod.  However, this defensive staff loves what Hall brings to the table, and he will get more than his share of reps, especially as they get deeper into the season -- provided Hall continues to progress the way he has this offseason and into training camp.

  • Even as there is no "official" starter opposite Braylon Edwards, Josh Cribbs has this spot all but locked up.  Perhaps the only player right now who could wrestle the No. 2 job away from him is rookie Mohamed Massaquoi, and that would likely take an injury to Cribbs to happen.

    The "crowning" of Cribbs/Massaquoi is not meant to slight Mike Furrey, either.  Based on what I know, he is viewed as the No. 3/third-down receiver, and it is a role in which he can absolutely thrive given how Brian Daboll's offense will operate.

  • I am not now, nor have I ever been, one to wish an injury of any degree of seriousness on anyone in any sport.  It's immature, asinine and a sign that you take this "fun" waaay too seriously.  However, if Jay Cutler were to go down tonight, you can be guaranteed that there will be no tears shed in the Taylor household over the development.  There might be a smirk or two somewhere, but it would be totally and completely involuntary.  For the most part.


LAST CALL: Bears 30, Browns 27.  Again, I don't know why.  And, I think more importantly, I really don't care.  Sept. 13 cannot get here fast enough.


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