Five key issues as the Browns open minicamp Thursday morning...
1. Who shows up? -- If you've been following the Browns at all this spring, you know the restricted free agents have mostly stayed away. Now, five days before the Browns can rescind their tenders, will they reconsider? And will Phil Dawson, who's quietly been asking for a new contract for a long time, make his first offseason appearance?
2. Offensive progress -- The veteran QBs have handled themselves well, and there's a feeling that Seneca Wallace will have a role in a version of the Wildcat package every week even if he can't unseat Jake Delhomme as the starter. Now, a QB battle is the last thing this team needs, so it needs Delhomme to be assertive and throw the ball to guys in white jerseys. Last year the Browns couldn't score on their own defense in practice...and it showed come September. The coaching staff wants to see Delhomme win in drills and raise the confidence of his young pass-catchers.
3. Stellar secondary -- The Browns drafted three defensive backs and gave a bunch of money to 31-year-old Sheldon Brown after trading to get him. Now, they need results. They need their safeties to do more than tackle ball-carriers who have already picked up first downs and they need their corners to challenge receivers on the outside. Improved depth and maturity should lead to improved competition and results, but these guys must prove themselves as the season approaches.
4. Running the rock -- Jerome Harrison has made a brief appearance so far, and the open practice sessions would indicate the starting job is very much open. Rookie Montario Hardesty has seen the bulk of the #1 reps the last two weeks, and as James Davis works his way back to health remember he passed Harrison on the depth chart last summer. This will be an ongoing battle but also an important one.
5. Results, not spotlight -- A year ago, everything was about Eric Mangini and his rules, his presence, his music at practice and his methods in meetings. It took everyone a while to adjust (and he traded away the team's two biggest talents). Now, he has his guys, his schemes, a team that's clearly more confident in what it's doing and a big guy (in title and in stature) looming over his shoulder. The Browns should be better, and they have to be. This camp provides them a chance to get some serious work done before departing and recharging the batteries prior to the season.
Follow Zac Jackson on Twitter @FSOhioZJackson, and check out his reports on all of Cleveland's sports teams on http://www.foxsportsohio.com!