WWBT: Rookies and the "Wright Brown"

What the team tells the media about their new players is always a sort of "reserved praise", stated carefully to avoid making headlines. But what does the coaching staff really think? Which players need work? And where do they need to work? Lane lets you know What We've Been Told...

- Rookie RB Montario Hardesty has received a lot of praise due to his preparation, physical skills and determination. The Browns organization is very optimistic, and of the belief the young RB can become a high quality player in the league. While the rookie displays excellent receiving skills, one concern has been his quickness coming off a cut. The upper-echelon NFL running backs do not lose speed or momentum when cutting. This is a learning point for Hardesty from the Browns coaching staff -- make the cut and go.

- With restricted free agent S Abe Elam not reporting to the OTA sessions, the coaching staff has had the opportunity to get 2010 draft selections T.J. Ward and Larry Asante on the field in roles comparable to starters. What intrigues most is the athleticism the rookies possess, as both have been flying to the football and gaining an understanding of the game. On the downside, there is nothing like actual experience at the professional level, as both rookies have had some rough moments in coverage scheme and recognition. But this is to be expected and should improve with each passing session.

- The Browns like the look they have with Eric Wright and Sheldon Brown as the starting corners. Early indications are defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is much more comfortable in mixing up the scheme. While Brown has been with the team a short time, his personality is rubbing off on the younger players in the defensive backfield. While the OTA's are basically non-impact/contact sessions, those in the defensive backfield have been "practicing hungry".

- First round draft selection Joe Haden has come on strong after a handful of early miscues in practice sessions. Haden is going to press for a significant role in the 2010 season, which can only improve a defensive backfield that was below-average a season ago. Thus far, Haden has played on the island, as well as a nickel and dime CB.

- Despite the OTA sessions clearly being a period which one cannot gauge a player throughly, rookie offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao has impressed so far. Lauvao has a wide base, sets quickly and gets his hands on a defender well. Most surprising is his footwork - the rookie has rarely been off-balance and could push for a significant role early. The Browns sought an offensive lineman that could create push in a man-on role. While the OTA sessions not geared toward the physical contact aspects of the game, the Browns staff has been pleased.

- Rookie WR Carlton Mitchell hasn't been able to find his way as of yet due to a nagging injury issue, but when able, Mitchell has not been a disappointment. The Browns staff has been working with the young WR to better utilize his hands, off the line, in routes and when catching the ball. The Browns do not see Mitchell as a project, but rather a player that requires some defining, This is very much the same thing said about Mohamed Massaquoi a year-ago in the OTA sessions.

- Defensive end Clifton Geathers is a unique specimen. His height and wingspan can create issues at the point of attack for the opposition. Geathers is quick for a 6'7" lineman, but has some aspects of his game to work on -- with recognition and playing with greater leverage being just a couple.

- As has been the story throughout the OTA sessions, the offense appears ahead of the defense and rookie QB Colt McCoy has participated in this success. There is little doubt McCoy is very mature and knowledgeable for a rookie. He has made some mistakes, but has not been tricked into throwing into coverage often and has displayed very impressive accuracy. Early in the OTA sessions, McCoy tried to do too much, but settled into the role and has impressed the staff with his accuracy and better-than0anticipated arm strength. The truth will begin to be told when the team is in pads and the hitting begins, but for McCoy, the start of his professional career has been solid.

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