Browns Hope to Find Roster Help

HELP WANTED: NFL quality players for struggling franchise. Just bring talent, helmets are provided.

Five to 10 players for a five-and-10-cent cure.

That's what this season has deteriorated to for the 1-7 Browns as they enter the bye this weekend.

Head coach Eric Mangini said Wednesday that the Browns will have tryouts on Thursday as they look for help for the second half of the year.

NOTE: OBR subscribers interested in learning who the team ultimately worked out should click here

"I don't know. It's different over different points of the season," Mangini said when asked how many players might be invited in. "It could be five. It could be 10. I'm not sure yet. We'll finalize the number here."

Don't hold your breath. Unless the miracle of all miracles occurs and football's version of Roy Hobbs suddenly appears out of thin air, the Browns aren't going to find a Jim Brown, a Paul Warfield, an Ozzie Newsome or a Len Ford to solve their problems. Those types of players aren't out there. If they were, then they'd already be on a team.

The kinds of players the Browns will find – if they find any at all – will be of the dime-story variety to put at the very bottom of the roster.

It is as newly-hired team consultant Bernie Kosar said the other day in that while the Browns don't have much talent, there's not anything they can do it until the end of the year when free agency and the NFL Draft roll around. So they're stuck with the players they currently have.

And that number is getting smaller. Mangini refused to substantiate a report that Eric Barton's neck injury is serious, saying only that the inside linebacker continues to be evaluated. But if Barton is eventually declared out for the year, joining fellow inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (shoulder) in that regard, then the Browns will have lost their two top tackles leaders. Barton is first with 58, followed by Jackson with 57.

That's not the kind of news the Browns want to hear right now.

The news may not be a whole lot better on Thursday when Mangini sits down with his coaches and go over personnel and offensive and defensive schemes with a fine-tooth comb in a top-to-bottom evaluation of the team.

Foremost among those discussions will be what to do at quarterback. Derek Anderson has struggled mightily since taking over 5½ games ago for Brady Quinn, and the Browns seem to be thinking seriously about switching back to the Dublin, Ohio native in an attempt to bolster an offense that has headed south as well.

"I'm really going to look at that in context of the last eight games, look at the next eight games and evaluate it up to this point and also looking forward," Mangini said.

The players went through their last practice of the week on Wednesday and then took off for the bye.

"I think it will be good for the players to get away and re-charge themselves," Mangini said.

The coaches will join them at the close of business on Thursday. Mangini said he will spend Thursday night at parent conference meetings at his children's school. After that, he will be with the two boys for the rest of the weekend.

"It will be great to play with them and do the stuff you don't normally get to do during the football season." Mangini said.

But come Monday, everybody will be back on the job. That could also be the day Mangini names a starter at quarterback. He said he will do so at some point early in the week.

Now, whether he announces his decision or not right away, remains to be seen.

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