Q: When the Browns dealt Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets, I believed then (as I do now) the team did not get enough in return for the wide receiver. How can a team trade a legitimate number-one receiver - a deep threat - for a couple low draft choices?
LA: Outside of one season, Edwards never displayed the desire to be a number-one type receiver. Edwards also appeared to go through the motions throughout his time in Cleveland. The argument can be made that the inability of the Browns to field a viable option at QB and formulate a legitimate offense attributed to the pedestrian stats Edwards put up as a member of the team.
I spoke with Edwards on a few occasions and came away with the impression he would work hard and produce in Cleveland regardless of the situation. I also had the strongest of impressions that Edwards had his sights set on the bigger picture, the bright lights of somewhere where he could be visible at a national scale.
Edwards' play overall did the Browns no justice in attempting to secure a better deal. I've been told that, considering the player, his traits and inconsistency, the Browns received adequate compensation for a player who hadn't really achieved #1 receiver status.
Q: When listening to the Browns press conference announcing the hire of general manager Tom Heckert, I couldn't help but wonder about the Browns offense. Heckert and Holmgren both noted the lack of a passing game in Cleveland and suggest that throwing the ball is how you win in this league. How does this mesh with the grind-it-out approach of the present Browns offense. Should we expect to see wholesale changes being made?
LA: From discussions with those around the Browns and throughout the league, the Browns offense is expected to take on a much different look in the 2010 season. Much of the hard-nosed philosophy of running the ball is to continue as organization implements aspects of the WCO to help make the Browns passing attack more of a legitimate threat.
We will see changes on the offensive side of the ball. Anticipate a presence at WR to be added, while the organization looks long and hard at adding talent at TE and RB. Along with this, the organization has already identified the right-side of the offensive line as an area of concern.
Q: Playing musical quarterbacks seems to never work in the NFL, which has to be just another reason why the Browns are consistently bad. In the pre-season and in training camp these players appear to be competitive. Then, when the season comes, everything goes flat. Is situation at the position as bad as it appears with Quinn and Anderson or is this really reflective of the head coach and offensive coordinator having no clue how to use their players?
LA: One aspect which is often overlooked is that this team practices against itself day-in and day-out. The Browns defense turned out to be porous throughout the season. This is the same porous defense that the QB's practiced against every day. The lower competition in practice may skew the impression of each player in training camp and in pre-season games.
I am of the belief Derek Anderson can be successful in an offensive system with a vast number of weapons and protection in place to utilize his skill-set. If the Browns lean toward a WCO flavor in the 2010, I do not see him being a fit. As for Brady Quinn, I have yet to see him in an offensive set which has the talent surrounding him to really have an opportunity to be successful. Despite this, in the opportunities Quinn has had, I have not been impressed with his play, his pocket awareness and accuracy.
My impression is the Browns are looking for their QB for the now and certainly seek a QB to develop for the future. I am not getting a good vibe regarding the new regime believing that either Anderson or Quinn are that player.
Q: The Browns have been screwing around with the quarterback position for years and not a sole player has established himself as a competent player to lead this team. With Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert now in place, do you see it as them forcing change on Mangini, with possibly a player from that specific offensive background, maybe a Matt Hasslebeck or Donovan McNabb?
LA: It really isn't going to be about forcing a QB change on Eric Mangini. Mangini would be the first to acknowledge that the QB position is one in Cleveland that needs to be addressed if this team is going to become consistent and prosperous.
Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb is intriguing for many reasons. He is an established and successful player, something which the position in Cleveland lacks. McNabb is experienced in the WCO offense, though the Philadelphia offense has morphed from the WCO with a much more vertical flair. A vertical passing game also happens to be something Mangini is attempting to establish in Cleveland.
With one year remaining on his contract, I am very skeptical the Browns would deal a first and possibly third round draft selection for an aging vet who will require an astronomical contract. Also, nearing the end of his career, I wouldn't expect McNabb to be receptive to coming to a team that is not ready to compete as a playoff caliber team.
Matt Hasselbeck's days in Seattle may be numbered with the addition of Pete Carroll as the new head coach of the Seahawks. I believe Hasselbeck can be effective in the type of offensive scheme we are believed to see in the works with the Browns, but my initial concern is his health (back). Hasselbeck has spent time on the bench three of the past four seasons due to injuries.
I believe the Browns will add a veteran QB to the mix this off-season, as well as drafting a QB to develop to be the team's future field general.