Tales from the In-Box

Is Peyton Hillis really the answer at RB? What happened to the Rogers trade rumors? Why aren't the Browns showing Jerome Harrison the free agent contract love? And more!

Q: With the recent trade for RB Peyton Hillis and unknown future of Jerome Harrison in Cleveland, is it likely the Browns may be leaning toward Hillis being the feature back in Cleveland next season? What type of RB is Hillis?

LA: Hillis is a young, energetic and physical RB. He was productive in limited opportunities with the Denver Broncos. Hillis fell out of favor of the new coaching staff in Denver, as the Broncos sought a different skill-set at the RB position (quickness). Hillis is a power back – he's a down-hill runner that is very good coming out of the passing game. In Cleveland, Hillis is a viable option at RB, alongside a quicker back in what may be a two-headed attack with the Browns rushing scheme.

Q: Is the Browns lack of movement in getting RB Jerome Harrison signed to a contract extension as a restricted free agent any indication the Browns may select a RB in the upcoming draft?

LA: The Browns have been very slow in addressing the RFA players from the roster. There has been some discussion,  but the organization has been focused on FA and the college player draft. As for the draft, the Browns had scouted the RB's heavily prior to the changes within the organization and indications are the organization could very well select a RB at some point with Ryan Mathews, Jahvid Best and Charles Scott coming to mind.

Q: With the signing of Jake Delhomme and trade for Seneca Wallace, it appears the Browns are not going to add another veteran to the mix. With these moves, why haven't the Browns addressed the lack of quality and leadership at the WR position?

LA: At WR in FA, the viable options are limited. The talent level is not as strong as some of the name recognition appears. The strength at WR lies within the RFA players, which players come with a significant tender responsibility or baggage. The Browns had a passing interest in Brandon Marshall, but the Broncos want a first round selection in return. Vincent Jackson of San Diego remains an option, but the Chargers are expected to match nearly any offer on the WR, despite facing a potential league suspension.

Q: It's obvious the Browns are not going to sign one of the bigger names in free agency at the wide receiver position. Could a team like the Browns be a potential landing spot for Terrell Owens, nearing the end of his career he could help a team like the Browns for a year or so as (Mohamad) Massaquoi and (Brian) Robiskie develop?

LA: Owens was a topic of discussion of the Browns and they are believed to have not entirely closed the door on him, but it would likely be just before or soon as the draft commences. My concern with Owens is not his ability to be a disruptive presence, but more toward his presence taking time away from those players the team looks to develop, as well any other potential player the organization brings in from the draft. There is no question Owens can still be a productive player but the Browns are not on the verge of seriously competing for a playoff spot in 2010 and player development is the priority.

Q: Do you really believe there is some merit to the Mike Holmgren comments about QB Jimmy Clausen? Why would he openly state his belief and preference about any player, and especially one that could be high demand? Do you believe him and why?

LA: I do believe Holmgren - at this time - likes the potential of Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) more than he does Clausen (Notre Dame), but this can easily change after the lengthy interview process and Bradford's upcoming work-out. I wouldn't say Clausen is not on the Browns radar at all, it's going to come down to the way the early selections in the draft play out. I personally believe Holmgren enjoys talking football and at times he may say a little more than he intended and the media will use this to their advantage -- though I do know Holmgren is saying some things to maintain some PR and misdirection.

Q: The QB position has been an ongoing issue with the Browns and the newest players acquired doesn't relieve the situation. With that, do you expect the Browns to select a QB in the first round, and if not, what may we see the team do to rectify the situation?

LA: The additions certainly shouldn't be construed as solving the problem at QB, but rather providing some stability in the short term with potential upside in comparison to those on field a season ago. As for the draft, I am of the impression the organization will seriously explore the trade waters once all involved reach a consensus on one specific QB prospect - as well as another prospect or two expected to be unavailable with the seventh selection the Browns presently own. If a deal isn't made or a prospect is not available with their first selection, I do anticipate the Browns making a move somewhere in the middle portion of the draft.

Q: We heard rumors the Browns had been willing to trade defensive lineman Shaun Rogers. Have the Browns opted not to trade the defensive lineman and what position will be likely play next season?

LA: For a time there was some discussion about Rogers moving on in a deal, but appears unlikely at this time, though the discussions could heat-up as the draft approaches. The Browns like the development and emergence of NT Ahtyba Rubin, which enables the Browns to utilize Rogers at DE at times, and the quality of depth is improved. Something to consider is whether Rogers will still remain a presence once the team is expected to compete in 2011, this question could factor into any decision on dealing the veteran defensive lineman while the return value in trade remains solid.


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