HADEN'S "ISSUES": There has been some published speculation in the national media that rookie CB Joe Haden has had trouble in OTA and mini-camp sessions. The comments, which were published on the league's website, were based on what has been perceived as an overall ‘speed' issue with Haden, including a slower-than-expected 40 time prior to the draft. As theOBR has noted previously - and according to those theOBR has spoken to within and around the organization - Haden is ‘progressing' in the early going. He is learning the scheme and reacting naturally. Additionally, Haden is learning the cornerback position is more physical at the next level and that a player like himself cannot simply make technical errors and get away with them. At this time Haden remains the 3rd or 4th CB heading into training camp.
- There has been little doubt as to who the starting cornerbacks of the Browns happen to be: Eric Wright and Sheldon Brown have lined-up as the starters and the expectation is they will remain starters during the 2010 season. Brown has brought vast experience from a winning organization and a tough mental approach, which has rubbed off on those around him. The Browns coaching staff wants to see the defensive backs improve their physicality, and the acquisition of Brown fits this mold.
STATUS QUO AT QUARTERBACK: Jake Delhomme is the starting QB and the expectation that he will remain the starter is solidly in place. Despite some ups and downs (mostly ups), Delhomme has instilled a confidence with those around him. Furthermore, his practice habits rub off on those surrounding him.
Former Seattle QB Seneca Wallace has come in and has been a bright surprise to the coaching staff. Wallace is grasping the offense rather quickly and is viewed as a capable player who has thus far pushed Delhomme and the offense to become more efficient. While Wallace is expected to be the backup in 2010, his immediate value to the offense could come with he and Josh Cribbs in a specialty package.
Rookie QB Colt McCoy has performed reasonably well in OTA and mini-camp sessions, but the staff prefers to have McCoy be the third QB in the 2010 season as he gains experience and develops. The odd-man-out in the QB equation appears to be Brett Ratliff, unless he is able to fill a role on special teams.
SAFETY NET: Heading into training camp, veterans Abe Elam and Mike Adams are the starting safeties. Despite the state of the early depth chart, the position could have a new look once the season kicks off. Both rookie safeties, T.J. Ward and Larry Asante, will gain looks with the starting defense and compete for an elevated role.
Early in OTA and mini-camp sessions, Asante jumped out of the gate quickly and performed reasonably well. Asante has displayed sufficient speed and quickness, but his ball skills to this point have been very good, putting him in a position to possibly play a greater role than immediately expected for a fifth round draft selection.
Ward, on the other hand, got off to a slower start in OTA and mini-camp sessions, but has come on strong until being sidelined later in the mini-camp sessions. TheOBR has been informed Ward is healthy and expected to compete for a starting spot in the defensive backfield in training camp.
Speaking of Lauvao, the rookie has looked very good in OTA and mini-camp drill sessions. When the pads go on and the hitting starts is when Lauvao could come into his own, as he is a physical presence. The Browns see Lauvao as the type of linemen that could emerge as a quality lineman at either position on the right-side, as well as at LG.