Browns-Vikings: Coordinating a Response

Brian Daboll and Rob Ryan are fully aware of the challenge ahead of them. The two spoke to the local media today, among them the OBR's Steve King...

Make no mistake about it, Rob Ryan knows he's got his hands full on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings in the regular-season opener.

He admitted as much on Friday as he met the media for the second time since being named Browns defensive coordinator on Jan. 14.

"They've got the best running back in the game, he and LT (LaDainian Tomlinson)," Ryan said of Adrian Peterson, who last season became the first Viking to ever lead the NFL in rushing with 1,760 yards, 1,055 yards than the Browns had as a team.

"They've got a (Pro Football) Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett Favre. They've got a hot-shot first-round draft choice (wide receiver Percy Harvin). And they've got (guard) Steve Hutchinson, who has become a permanent resident of Hawaii (for the Pro Bowl).

"They've got great players. They've got a lot of guys to match up against."

Then he said, joking that it may be hard for the Vikings to figure out how to use all those weapons, "They've got only one ball."

As Ryan said, "Everybody knows Brett Favre," and knows how good he is. "There's only one Brett Favre. There's no other."

But the reputation of Peterson, taken at No. 7 overall in the 2007 NFL Draft, four spots after the Browns selected left tackle Joe Thomas, is just beginning to spread.

"He's got balance, vision, power, speed, athleticism and competitiveness. Did I forget anything?" Ryan said when asked to explain why Peterson is so good. "This guy is phenomenal. We have tremendous respect for him. If you're not where you need to be on defense, he'll embarrass you."

Ryan added, "But we've got a great plan, and we're looking forward to it."

Any success the Browns hope to have on Sunday centers around Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers, their best defensive player and maybe their best player on either side of the ball. However, he sat out almost all of training camp, and all of the preseason, with a supposed foot injury, so the Browns are wondering if he'll be healthy enough – or simply rust-free enough – to contribute, and if so, how much?

"We're going to find out what he can do," Ryan said. "We don't know what he can do until we see him play, and we haven't seen him play yet.

"But once he gets back to full speed, he'll be a special player – a tremendous player."

Another key player is outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, the 2007 first-round draft pick who starred as a rookie but then struggled the last two years.

"He's very smart, and he's athletic," Ryan said. "As I said when I talked to you guys the first time, we'll going to use him in a variety of roles. He's talented. I'm looking forward to getting a lot of good things from him."

Brian Daboll, also meeting with the media for the second time, then followed Ryan. In physical size, personality, age, experience – well, just about everything – Daboll and Ryan are completely different. Daboll, who had never been a coordinator before at any level, didn't give up information as freely as Ryan, but he was better – and much more relaxed – than the first time.

In keeping with head coach Eric Mangini's determination not to publicly announce the winner in the open competition for the starting quarterback job, Daboll would not even go as far as to simply separate Brady Quinn and Anderson when asked to evaluate them.

"I'm not going to try to compare and contrast them," Daboll said. "All I'll say is that they both worked very hard and I'm very happy in how they handled the situation."

He really wanted no part of comparing Quinn, in particular, to Favre and quarterback Tom Brady, two quarterbacks on teams Daboll has helped coach.

All we would say is that it's "a strength" for the offense that both Quinn and Anderson got so many reps in training camp and the preseason, thus making them supposedly well-tested and game-ready.

Daboll also said he's someone who likes to script the first 15 or so plays of each game, and added that he was going upstairs to do just that as soon as he finished his presser. He'll need to find some good selections out of his playbook, for Daboll had almost as much for the Vikings defense as Ryan did for the their offense.

As such, it's a tough way for both of them to begin in earnest their tenures with the Browns.

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