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Free Agent possibilities for Cleveland

Discussion in 'Professional Football' started by GoofyBuckeye, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Rich's Rant: News and Views

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Rich Passan
    Date: May 25, 2005

    Rich Passan is back, with opinions on subjects that range from Winslow to Whizzinators. Here are Rich's takes on a number of Browns topics, including some thoughts on whether offensive tackle L.J. Shelton (pictured) would be a good fit in Cleveland...
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    News: The Browns try to win back fans by reaching out to the fans in order to get their seats back in the seats at Browns Stadium.

    View: Browns CEO John Collins says he wants the team to be more accessible to fans. He wants to please them. He correctly senses the paying customers have become a disgruntled lot, especially after last season’s collapse.

    Yes, there is a long list for season tickets. No problem there.

    Collins, however, worries that many season ticketholders don’t show up on game day. They are upset. Upset that the Browns have become a National Football League laughingstock.

    To lure back those upset fans, plans call for a weekly magazine featuring columns by Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel. (Wonder who’s going to ghost-write for them.) Linking up with the Great Lakes Science Center and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame on game days is a possibility. Building stronger bridges to corporations helps.

    Collins, a non-football man, is taking a non-football approach to his grand plan to win back a fan base that has sprung a few leaks. He looks at it from a businessman’s standpoint.

    In the business world, that’s fine. But in the eyes of the fans, the Browns are football team first, a business second.

    Collins’ grand plan is not going to work. One thing he fails to understand is that all only one thing will get the disgruntled fans back to Browns Stadium. It’s the same thing that lured baseball fans back to Jacobs Field after years of failed promotions and futility.


    The Browns can put out their pulp of pap for the fans all they want. That’s not going to get them to Browns Stadium 10 times a year. Neither are agreements with the Rock Hall or Science Center. The corporate community will not turn its back on the Browns no matter what.

    There’s only one way to reach out to the fans and have the fans reach back. Concentrate on putting together a winning team and the rest will fall into place.

    Nothing else will work.

    <HR width="75%" color=#ff8000>News: The Arizona Cardinals release veteran offensive tackle L. J. Shelton.

    View: A lot of Browns fans want to see Shelton in brown and orange. Why?

    Granted, the Browns need good offensive tackles. But Shelton, only 29, is not one of them. The 6-6, 335-pounder is corpulent and lazy. Don’t need anyone like that around here.

    Shelton was cut recently by Dennis Green, a coach who knows a good football player when he sees one, particularly on offense. The Cardinals need all kinds of help on that side of the ball, so why would he cut the former first-rounder?

    Simple. Shelton is not that good.

    Four years remained on his contract that would pay him $3 million a year. That’s relatively cheap for an offensive lineman. So money was not a factor.

    When Green arrived in Arizona last season, Shelton was the starting left tackle. Reporting overweight to training camp did not endear him to his new coach.

    Soon after the season started, Shelton was picking splinters out of his considerable butt. Injuries forced Green to stop the splinter-picking and the big guy was back in the lineup at right tackle.

    Now if Shelton had the work ethic of his father, then maybe the Browns would be interested. Lonnie Shelton was a hard-working, overachieving power forward who played 10 seasons in the National Basketball Association with the New York Knicks, Seattle SuperSonics and Cavaliers.

    He played here for three seasons during the World B. Free era, retiring after the 1985-86 season with the reputation of being a blue-collar guy who maximized his potential. He was primarily known for his rebounding, a skill that required hard work and determination.

    If the younger Shelton had his daddy’s work ethic, the Cardinals most likely would not have cut him.

    <HR width="75%" color=#ff8000>News: Kellen Winslow Jr. continues his silence.

    View: This has got to be killing the Browns’ daredevil tight end. A guy who likes to talk a lot has been silenced. Muzzled.

    There are those in Browns Nation who believe Winslow owes the Cleveland pro football public an explanation and an apology for his mind-numbing actions of a few weeks ago. They don’t understand the deafening silence emanating from Berea.

    Sooner or later, they say, he’s got to step up and face the fans. The longer this goes on, the harder the task when he decides to explain away his stupidity.

    That might prove more difficult than the comeback that lies ahead.

    <HR width="75%" color=#ff8000>News: Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith might be suspended for one year by the NFL for missing a drug test. Missing a test automatically results in a positive result.

    View: Let’s see now. That’s the same Onterrio Smith who was caught in the Twin Cities Airport mean carrying a Whizzinator, a device designed to help beat drug tests, and a vial of dried urine. That didn’t warrant some sort of punishment for the two-time drug offender?

    Any idea what message that will send to other NFL miscreants who don’t want to kick their habits? Whizzinators will become the rage around the league.

    Gotta believe Ricky Williams has already put in his order.

  2. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Weekend News Wrap-Up

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By NFL Scout
    Date: May 28, 2005 summarizes this week's Cleveland Browns news, including the team's possible interest in LB Peter Boulware and CB Ty Law (pictured)...
    </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=3>
    INTEREST IN VETERANS: Browns coach Romeo Crennel is exploring the possibilities of adding veterans Ty Law and Peter Boulware to his inexperienced defense. Both are coming off major injuries and their better days are behind them, but Crennel believes each could help the Browns.

    Law, 31, is the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback from the Patriots released in late February. He is recovering from a Lis Franc injury -- a torn ligament in the bottom of his foot. It is the same injury that sidelined former Browns defensive end Courtney Brown for the last 14 games of 2004.

    Crennel has deep respect for Law, having been his defensive coordinator in New England the last four years. Law made 634 tackles, 90 pass breakups and 36 interceptions over 141 games since the Patriots drafted him in the first round out of Michigan in 1995.

    "Ty knows how I feel about him and I don't think there's any question how he feels about me," Crennel said. "His injury situation is one that has to be resolved."

    Law is able to run, but still cannot cut as well as he did prior to the injury.

    Boulware, the pass-rushing linebacker released May 9 by the Ravens, is coming off a knee injury that cost him the final game of 2003 and all of 2004. The Browns are interested because Boulware has 67.5 sacks in 111 games, and one thing the defense sorely lacks is a pass rusher.

    "He has experience in the 3-4 so he's familiar with the system," Crennel said. "Plus he's been productive in the NFL, particularly in the pass rush. If you think he'd be a good fit on the field and in the locker room, you go ahead and make that move. I think he could bring a proven dimension. He'd be a plus."

    The Jets, Steelers and Dolphins have shown interest in Law.

    The Browns expect competition for Boulware to come from Seattle because his brother, Michael Boulware, plays there.

    WINSLOW WRAP: Though Kellen Winslow Jr. will miss the 2005 season with a torn right ACL as a result of a motorcycle accident May 1, he continues to work out at the Browns' training complex. Part of his routine includes riding a stationary bike.

    Former Browns great Jim Brown, now working in the players relations department, played a role in encouraging Winslow to apologize to fans. Winslow took the opposite approach for close to four weeks.

    "The purpose was to have Kellen Jr. really state to the fans and the organization his remorse about the mistake he made -- and there's no question that a mistake was made," Brown said. "We in turn want to support him in his recovery and not beat him up when he's down."

    VERBA, LANG MAKE NEWS: Left tackle Ross Verba is skipping passing camp and might sit out minicamp June 13-15 in a contract dispute. Kenard Lang was not a regular in offseason workouts, but he is attending passing camp. Coaches are trying to convert him from defensive end to outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.

    LESSON NOT LEARNED: On the heels of Cleveland tight end Kellen Winslow injuring himself while riding a motorcycle, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan warned his team about dangerous off-the-field activities. A few days later, guard P.J. Alexander tore the ACL in his left knee while riding an off-road four-wheel vehicle.

    "I (warned the team about dangerous activities) three days before (Alexander's injury), to give you an idea how strong my speech was," Shanahan said.

    Alexander was supposed to compete for the starting right guard spot with Cooper Carlisle but he will miss the entire season with the injury.

    "I don't know if he was going to tip over or something, but he put his foot down and tore his ACL," Shanahan said. "It had nothing to do with football."

  3. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Take That Ross! Shelton Signs Deal

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Site Staff
    Date: Jun 3, 2005

    Quickly answering the holdout by starting LT Ross Verba, the Cleveland Browns have reached a one-year agreement with recently released OT L.J. Shelton (Cardinals). Published reports indicate that the Browns are considering several options relating to Verba's future. Developing....
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    According to published reports, the Cleveland Browns have reached a one-year agreement with recently released OT L.J. Shelton (Cardinals). The signing puts the future of erstwhile holdout left tackle Ross Verba in doubt

    Shelton was released by the Cardinals on May 19th, and the tackle had been pursued by a number of teams, including the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears. The signing comes quickly after last year's starting tackle, Ross Verba, went public with his decision to hold out of Quarterback School. Verba's holdout was ostensibly a response to what he felt was the team's reneging on a promise to re-do his contact following the 2004 season.

    Shelton, apparently like Verba, ran afoul of his last team after a change in leadership. Cardinals Head Coach Dennis Green didn't warm to Shelton, who was the team's #1 draft pick in 1999. Green started Shelton at right tackle for nine games last year, but benched him for three other games. The way he was used in 2004 was a change for Shelton, who has started 77 of the 82 games he's played in his six-year career, and who had spent his entire pro career playing left tackle.

    Ross Verba's future is undetermined at this time. The Browns would not absorb a cap hit for releasing Verba, his 2004 signing bonus would be spread over the next two seasons regardless of whether or not he played for the Browns. Trading or releasing Verba are options, as is keeping him on the club and potentially using him in a back-up role.

  4. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Browns Make Shelton Signing Official

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Browns Press Release
    Date: Jun 5, 2005

    Here is the press release sent out by the Browns signalling the official announcement of OT L.J. Shelton.
    </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=3>
    June 4, 2005
    For Immediate Release
    The Cleveland Browns signed free agent offensive lineman L.J. Shelton to a one-year contract the club announced today. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Shelton (6-6, 325, Eastern Michigan), a former first-round pick (21st overall) of the Arizona Cardinals in 1999, is a six-year NFL veteran who started 77 of 82 games for Arizona mainly at left tackle.

    “We identified the offensive line as an area we wanted to address this off-season,” said Browns Senior Vice President and General Manger Phil Savage. “We have made strides towards that by adding Joe Andruzzi, Cosey Coleman and now L.J. Shelton.”

    Shelton, who was released by the Cardinals last month, appeared in 12 games with Arizona in 2004 with nine starts at left tackle.

    The Browns will continue with their off-season passing camp next week before concluding the off-season with a mandatory three-day mini-camp beginning on Monday, June 13.

    Shelton’s Career Statistics:

    Year Team GP GS

    1999 Arizona 9 7
    2000 Arizona 14 14
    2001 Arizona 16 16
    2002 Arizona 16 16
    2003 Arizona 15 15
    2004 Arizona 12 9

    Totals 82 77

  5. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Lang Learns a New Position

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By NFL Scout
    Date: Jun 6, 2005

    Kenard Lang has changed how he eats, paring his weight back to 255 this summer, but a bigger change is in store. discusses how the 9-year veteran is making the shift to linebacker...
    </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=3>
    Kenard Lang is trying to learn a new position as he switches from defensive end to outside linebacker and he is trying to reshape his body at the same time.

    Lang, 30, changed his eating habits to lose weight. He cut fried foods and soda from his diet and is now a lean, agile 254 pounds. That's about 10 pounds lighter than he was last year and 23 pounds lighter than he was in 2002, his first season with the Browns.

    Passing camp provides a stage for Lang to learn how to read offenses. For example, the read could tell him whether the player he must cover is going to run a route in the flat or go upfield. He has to pay attention to motion in the backfield. As a defensive end, all he had to worry was the tackle next to him and the play right in front of him.

    Lang said the most difficult part physically will be sticking with Ravens tight end Todd Heap and Colts running back Edgerrin James, among others. James, whom the Browns face in the third game of the season, caught 51 passes last year.

    "I'd be happy to cover E.J.," Lang said. "I'd be whispering in his ear the whole day. That means I'd be right on top of him. That would be cool.

    "I understand teams might (test me). If I was an offensive coordinator and I have a new person out there, I'd want to test him. Once he makes a couple plays, you might decide to throw that fish back in the water and try to find another fish."

    Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham says Lang is on schedule. Lang is competing for playing time with Matt Stewart, an outside linebacker acquired from Atlanta in free agency.

    "Nothing Kenard has done on the field has told me he can't do it," Grantham said. "Only time will tell, based upon what happens in training camp and how he performs in preseason games, but he's the kind of guy you want on your team because he's very unselfish. He might not do it right all the time, but he makes progress every day."

    Lang started the last 15 games at right end in 2004. He led all defensive linemen with 73 tackles, was second behind Ebenezer Ekuban (eight) with seven sacks and second to Ekuban (28) with 21 quarterback pressures.

    As an end in the 4-3 defense the Browns played under Butch Davis, Lang often lined up outside the offensive tackle to beat him around the corner. The ends in the 3-4 go head-on with the blocker. Orpheus Roye and Alvin McKinley, the projected starting defensive ends, weigh 320 pounds and 310 pounds respectively.

  6. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Browns Add OT Marcus Spears

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Site Staff
    Date: Jun 7, 2005

    Eleven-year veteran to add depth at the offensive tackle position.
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    The Browns added veteran offensive lineman Marcus Spears to the ball club today, further bolstering an offensive line which may soon find itself missing erstwhile holdout Ross Verba. subscribers were told via Ask the Insiders several weeks ago that the Browns had tried out Spears, a fact which was also mentioned on our radio program. No other media outlet had reported on the team's interest in Spears.

    Spears will be entering his 11th season since graduating from Northwestern State-Louisiana and has spent time with the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs, and Houston Texans. He has been a backup most of his career, and was a regular starter only during the 2001 season with the Chiefs. Spears started three games at right tackle for the Houston Texans last season. Over his career, Spears has appeared in 104 NFL games.

    The move provides the team with more flexibility at the tackle position, which was considered thin even prior to the likely replacement of Ross Verba with L.J. Shelton. Spears gives the team veteran depth at tackle, which previously had only Greg Robinson-Randall as a player with any significant experience in a backup role.

    In order to fit Shelton and Spears into the lineup, the team has elected to cut defensive backs James Boyd and Jamall Johnson.

    - BDMc

  7. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Newswire: Clock Ticks Down on Verba

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Barry McBride
    Date: Jun 8, 2005

    The Browns "elite" left tackle, Ross Verba, looks to be headed out of town, at least if this morning's Daily Newswire is to be believed. Here's a wrap-up of this morning's stories, presented with the usual flavoring of uncalled-for remarks from a guy who is still confused and uncertain about what he'll do now that there's less reason to complain about the team's offensive line...
    </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=3>
    Here are some opinions and links to news stories, as seen through the eyes of a Browns fan who deliberately booked himself on a plane flight during the 2001 Super Bowl so as to not see the Ravens moment of triumph. Fans reading this article via Yahoo! will want to head to to see the original version in all of its hyperlinked glory.

    Ross Verba, victimized by the Browns Scrooge-like spending habits, will be able to buy himself out of indentured servitude today by ponying up a mere $465,000 to repay his roster bonus. This tale of woe and redemption is atop the newswire on this hot and muggy Cleveland Wednesday.

    Verba, who had been struggling week-to-week on his paltry wages, will attempt to avoid buying a couple suburban houses (PD) by accident over the next 24 hours in order to ensure that the check doesn't bounce.

    Assuming he reaches escape velocity (ABJ, reg required) within the next day or so, Verba leaves behind him memories of four years of play as a Cleveland Brown, including his year on the team's offensive line during their surprising playoff run in 2002.

    His career can't turn into a memory fast enough for fans in the Forums, where his complaints about being paid like a average offensive tackle met with about the same level of approval as a "Britney and Cletus" reality show.

    Not even Verba's status as one of the team's resident party animals could endear him to Browns fans. Understandably, the fact that the offensive line as a whole had a tendency to be sieve-like and hazardous to quarterbacks during his stay here probably contributed to this lack of sympathy from members of the great unwashed such as myself.

    In his defense, however, Verba was not nearly the weakest link in that unreliable chain. But he did make the mistake of sounding out of touch with reality when telling the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot that he was among the league's elite left tackles.

    Phil Savage, meanwhile, continued his policy of strictly considering the approach to player acquisition established by his predecessors - and then doing the complete opposite (DDN, reg required).

    For example, the Browns not only have plugged the obvious leaks in the line with the signing of guards Cosey Coleman and Joe Andruzzi, but are even going to the previously unthinkable stage of adding veteran depth (News-Herald), via the signing of 11-year veteran Marcus Spears. Somewhere, Butch Davis is in a hot tub, scented with the aroma of $100 bills floating around him, and smugly snickering to himself about Savage's foolhardy ways (

    As we mentioned on last night's radio show, acquiring veteran offensive line help is the sort of behavior by Savage that we've found irritating when he was doing it with the Baltimore Ravens, in that it makes sense to us commoners and non-ex-Miami Hurricane coaches.

    "Why couldn't the Browns do that?", we would ask ourselves as the Ravens acquired another valuable component part. Then we would make ourselves feel better by going off to the Rant to remind Ravens fans that Tony Siragusa took a cheap after-the-tackle shot at Rich Gannon during the team's Super Bowl run. So, you know, their 2000 Lombardi Trophy doesn't count.

    - BDMc

  8. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Verba Release Official

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Browns Press Release
    Date: Jun 9, 2005

    4:30PM As expected, the Browns released OT Ross Verba today as he paid back the bonus money given to him earlier this year. Here is the rather terse press release sent out by the team moments ago...
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    June 9, 2005
    For Immediate Release


    The Cleveland Browns terminated the contract of OL Ross Verba, the club announced today.

    “We felt this decision was in the best interest of both the Browns and Ross,” Browns Senior Vice President and General Manager Phil Savage said. “With the return of Ryan Tucker, Jeff Faine and Melvin Fowler, and the addition of free agents Joe Andruzzi, Cosey Coleman, L.J. Shelton and Marcus Spears, we’re excited and confident in our offensive line.”

    Verba, 31, played four seasons (2001-04) in Cleveland and started 47 regular season games and one playoff contest for the Browns. He missed the entire 2003 season after suffering a right bicep tendon injury in the final preseason game vs. Atlanta (Aug. 28, 2003).

    Originally selected by Green Bay in the first round (30th overall) in the 1997 NFL Draft, Verba has played eight NFL seasons with the Packers (1997-2000) and Browns (2001-04).

    He was signed by Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, 2001.

  9. tibor75

    tibor75 Banned

    “With the return of Ryan Tucker, Jeff Faine and Melvin Fowler, and the addition of free agents Joe Andruzzi, Cosey Coleman, L.J. Shelton and Marcus Spears, we’re excited and confident in our offensive line.”

    every defensive line they will face will be confident as well.

    They seem accessible enough to me...

  10. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Depth Chart of Peril: Offense

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Barry McBride
    Date: Jun 12, 2005

    Center Jeff Faine looks unhappy in this photo, but surely would be delighted with his #1 slotting in our early - and highly speculative - depth chart. Foolishly disregarding the danger inherent in a June depth chart, webmaster Barry plunges ahead and spins at a near-Butchian level in an attempt to throw off likely forum challenges to the first draft...
    </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=3>

    Here's our first depth chart, for anyone interested in some pre-season prognostication of the 2005 Browns fits together. One new feature that we're doing this year is that the depth chart will also be available in PDF format for easy printing.

    Of course, any depth chart at this time of year is highly speculative, and leads us naturally into discussing roster battles which will come into focus during training camp.

    Here are some thoughts about how players are stacking up on the Browns offense. Feel free to fire back with some of your own ideas in the Subscriber Lounge or elsewhere on the forums.

    Quarterback: Trent Dilfer is the team's clear starter heading into training camp, and the odds that he will be displaced are remote. The real interesting battle will be between Charlie Frye and Josh Harris for the back-up job, assuming that the Browns don't bring in another veteran to sit behind Dilfer. Lang Campbell has been talked up by the team, but the numbers game says that he's headed to the practice squad. Our speculation is that the team will gauge how Harris and Frye are doing before committing to a back-up.

    Running Back: A very interesting contest is likely to shape up for the first three spots between Reuben Droughns, Lee Suggs, and the resurgent William Green. We've listed Droughns first because he's returned to camp, has been working hard, and has a 1,200-yard season on his resume. We suspect Droughns is closer to the type of slashing runner the team likely favors now that the interior of the line has been built up. Joe Echemandu will have to create a reason for the team to keep him around for another year, given his injury history. Impressing on kick-off returns would help his case. Chad Scott is new to the team.

    Fullback: Terrelle Smith is the clear starter. Corey McIntyre was listed behind him at the end of last season, ahead of Ben Miller, and one will likely wind up being cut by the team. The multi-year investment in Miller was made by the previous administration, so he will have no choice but to impress now.

    Wide Receiver: I've listed Antonio Bryant and Andre Davis as the first two, with Bryant Edwards needing to push his way past them to emerge as a starter. Edwards is likely to be the #1 WR shortly into the season, although the timing will be dependent on how long he holds out of training camp. Edwards will have to earn the role, which is why we have him currently listed as #3 despite our confidence that he will emerge as the team's top threat. Dennis Northcutt is the third-down receiver and punt returner, based on his size and how we suspect the team will use him. Alston goes into the summer as the next receiver, simply because of his kick return skills, but no roster spot appears safe past Northcutt. The team brought in a surprising number of wideouts for a team which looks, at first glance, to already have been deep at that position. Keep your eyes open for a possible surprise move involving a veteran.

    Tight End: Kellen Winslow continues to make our lives as Browns fans more interesting. All bets are now off regarding a tight end corps that, on paper, doesn't look to have a huge gap between the #1 and #3 spots. With the new coaching staff essentially starting with a clean slate on player evaluations, Steve Heiden, Aaron Shea and Keith Heinrich will need to impress the new guys in training camp and during pre-season. All three players have a spotty injury history, although last year's production from Heiden and Shea put them #1-#2 on our depth chart for now. Paul Irons is a player to watch, particularly since his size gives him some potential for additional duty in a fullback role. Special teams play will be a part of the final roster decisions here.

    Left Tackle: With the Ross Verba soap opera quickly shut down thanks to poor reviews and a proactive front office, L.J. Shelton moves in as the undisputed starter at left tackle. We have Marcus Spears listed as his backup, although Spears has more pro experience on the opposite site. Kirk Chambers brings a lot of left tackle experience to bear from Stanford, but was tried just about everywhere but center last year by Butch Davis. He appeared to be getting reps at right tackle during a brief glimpse the media was allowed earlier this month. Lew Dawson gets a second shot to make the team, and Clint Stickdorn made it through rookie camp to get a chance to convince the team to continue their investment past August.

    Left Guard: Joe Andruzzi is the starter, and we have Enoch DeMar listed as his backup. We'll learn more about who the team is going to try out at this position when we see mini-camp and the early days of Training Camp in late July. Right now, we are only listing those two at left guard.

    Center: Jeff Faine's work to hold onto his starting center role will be one of the mini-dramas at training camp. Melvin Fowler impressed the previous coaching staff once doomed experiments to move him to offensive guard were scuttled in 2004. Crennel spoke positively when asked about Faine's off-season work. The Browns head coach wants to compare the two in game situations - it should be noted that he has no ego or draft investment in Faine. Craig Osika remains on the roster as the #3 center, although he struggled with adjusting to different quarterbacks during last season's training camp.

    Right Guard: Cosey Coleman is the obvious starter here, and we have Phil Bogle listed behind him. We will watch to see who else the team tries in this role, particularly as there are players we've listed at both tackle positions who will likely see time here. We're not sure who the team will try at RG yet, and we'll modify the depth chart once we get a chance to see the team practice.

    Right Tackle: Ryan Tucker was the only offensive lineman to start every game in 2003, and he is an underappreciated mainstay on the Browns offensive line. He's listed as the top guy here, and will stay in that role. We've listed Greg Randall behind him, as Randall and Spears are the team's experienced offensive tackles, although fans would probably be more comfortable with both in at RT than LT. Javier Collins, Sterling Harris, and the massive rookie Jon Dunn round out the deep listing at RT. One or more could be thrown into the mix at guard - versatility is always a great way for a non-starter on the offensive line to make the roster and will be needed as the Browns figure out the back-ups at guard and tackle.

  11. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Minicamp "Picks Up the Tempo"

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Barry McBride
    Date: Jun 14, 2005

    Browns head coach Romeo Crennel said that the Browns are picking up the tempo during this week's full-squad mini-camp, and challenging players both mentally and physically. Barry offers up our first report from camp, with more on the way!
    </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=3>
    Browns Head Coach Romeo Crennel is looking to "pick up the tempo" at the team's full-squad mini-camp which started on Monday.

    Crennel feels the full-squad sessions challenge the team mentally by requiring them to pick up the installation of the team's offensive and defensive schemes, and challenges them physically by requiring practice twice a day.

    The team is practicing in shirt-and-shorts (NFL code for "no pads and no hitting) and opened up the Monday morning session to the press. During camp, the Browns are focusing on first-and-second down situations during the morning practice, with more passing activity during the closed afternoon session.

    While the team's practice didn't seem particularly intense on Monday morning, the players we spoke to seemed to appreciate the efficiency of practice and Crennel's approach to keeping it down to 90 minutes in each session. Under Butch Davis, practices were known to linger on for two hours or more.

    COMPETITION, COMPETITION, COMPETITION: In his comments to the press on Monday, Romeo Crennel gave an indication of the level of competition he expects for starting jobs - and to make the cut.

    Even when referring to such seeming roster locks as Terrelle Smith and Reuben Droughns, Crennel made reference to players as "likely to be competitive" or "going to be competitive", with comments like "if he makes the team" applied to all players.

    The message to returning veterans and early first-teamers is very clear: the team expects to make a lot of changes on the depth chart once training camp begins. The head coach used the specific example of recievers, who can look very good going over the middle with no contact, but have an abrupt change of approach once the pads are on and hitting begins.

    The team's early depth chart is based mostly on the coaching staff's appraisal of film and players game experience.

    ROSS WHO? The Browns recently departed left tackle Ross Verba was the subject of some questioning during Crennel's press conference and in the locker room afterward.

    Romeo Crennel made what may be the most revealing comment on Verba when he told the press corps that Verba had "an off-the-field history that we weren't too excited about". When questioned on what he meant, Crennel half-jokingly responded "Do you read the papers?".

    Later on, Crennel dismissed notions that losing their left tackle would hurt the team's chemistry.

    "Not in this case", he quipped.

    SEAN JONES RETURNS: There were a lot of factors which contributed to Butch Davis' demise in 2004, but one has to be the former head coach's awful fortune with the team's 2004 draft selections. Sean Jones and Kellen Winslow were both knocked out of action early, helping to cripple a team which was counting on them to be valuable contributors.

    Romeo Crennel seems to be having better luck, at least with Sean Jones. After recovering from a torn ACL, Jones was on the field Monday morning and looked solid. At one point, Jones made a nice read on a pass from Josh Harris and wound up with an interception.

    Crennel is reserving judgment on his safety, however. "Sean is doing pretty decent", Crennel relayed, "His athletic ability shows up... also what shows up is that he really is a rookie, since he didn't play last year."

    In particular, Crennel is concerned about some of Jones' reads, and has the coaching staff working with Jones to improve his ability to quickly read developing plays at the NFL level.

  12. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Tuesday Mini-Camp Update

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Barry McBride
    Date: Jun 14, 2005

    The Browns had a more-inspired practice, but two tight ends go under the knife. Keith Heinrich (pictured) joins Winslow on the operating table...
    </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=3>

    As mini-camp entered its second day, the Browns found themselves without their top two draft choices, Braylon Edwards and Brodney Pool.

    Let's see... an play-making stud the team hopes will ignite the offense and a highly regarded safety who will help short up the secondary are drafted. Neither are available.

    Where have we seen this before?

    The Browns aren't worried about a repeat of the season-ending injuries which claimed TE Kellen Winslow, Jr., and S Sean Jones in 2004, however. Edwards missed camp in the morning due to a personal matter (a death in the family) and will be returning to Berea tonight. Pool is still recovering from a hamstring pull and will be worked back in slowly.

    Edwards is also coming back from a muscle strain, which is not serious. Head coach Romeo Crennel said today that the team would "ease him back in".

    Both Pool and Edwards have some additional opportunities to work, despite their inability so far to be involved in mini-camp. While veterans leave after Wednesday's practice, rookies will remain in Berea for the next several weeks to continue workouts.

    WINSLOW GOES UNDER THE KNIFE: The Browns did not have an update on the status of tight end Kellen Winslow after this morning's practice. The team hopes to hear from the surgeon, Anthony Miniaci, later in the day and should have more information about Winslow's status.

    FAMILIAR STORY AT TIGHT END: The Browns corps of tight ends, while capable, continues to have a difficult time with injuries. The team revealed today that tight end Keith Heinrich also suffered an ACL injury during passing camp and was also receiving treatment at the clinic.

    Heinrich had similar bad fortune last year, when he was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list due to an ankle injury suffered during passing camp.

    With the loss of Heinrich, the Browns have youngsters Paul Irons and Keith Willis behind veterans Aaron Shea and Steve Heiden. The team also added Roger Robinson and was working him out at the tight end position.

    PICKING UP THE INTENSITY: As we noted yesterday, Monday morning practice wasn't perhaps as intense as we expected it to be. Crennel noted this as well, saying that the team's practice was a "little sluggish, a little going through the motions". The coaching staff spoke with the team prior to practice and Crennel was pleased with the up-tick in activity today.

    CRENNEL KICKS BACK: Romeo Crennel will also get a brief respite from reviving the Browns during the six-week hiatus for veterans. Crennel will be attending his daughter's wedding in early July and informed the press that he will take some time off, at his wife's request, following the ceremonies.

    - BDMc

  13. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Terrelle Smith "Lightens the Load"

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By NFL Scout
    Date: Jun 19, 2005

    The Browns fullback (pictured, last week) hopes to do more with less...
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    Fullback Terrelle Smith has lost 22 pounds and plans to lose eight more before the season begins in September if he does not lose it by the start of training camp next month. "I want to lighten my load," Smith said. "I'm going to be used more down by the goal line this year. I'm proud of that. If opportunity knocks, I'm going to open the door and say hello. If they give me an inch, I'm going to take a mile."

    Smith wants to play at 235 pounds, which he says is close to his rookie weight. Enjoying what he admits is a pizza and beer diet in the offseason while at home in New Orleans, he weighed close to 260 last season. He hopes the trimmer, slimmer Smith will make him quicker without losing any effectiveness when he blocks a linebacker.

    One of the mysteries of last season was why Smith was not used more in short-yardage situations, especially behind an ineffective offensive line. As often as not, Smith was on the sideline when the Browns were inside the 10, which really was not very often. That is expected to change under first-year offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon.

    The Browns had 41 possessions inside the 10 in 2004, or about 2.5 possessions a game. Only the Raiders and Ravens with 40 each had fewer in the AFC. The Browns were tied for 14th in the conference with 19 touchdowns from inside the 10 and they ranked 31st overall in third-down efficiency, a statistic that includes all third-down plays regardless of field position.

    "As long as they give me the opportunity to be on the field, I'm going to be the best player I can possibly be," Smith said. "This is a show-me business.

    "The offensive coordinator is a former fullback with the New York Giants, and he won two Super Bowls. However he did it I guess is how I'm going to do it."

    It also helps that the running backs coach is Dave Atkins. Atkins was the Saints running backs coach from 2000-2004. Smith was a Saints fullback from 2000-2003 while blocking for Ricky Williams and Deuce McAllister.

  14. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Browns Sign QB Doug Johnson

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Browns Press Release
    Date: Jun 20, 2005

    The Browns today announced that they have signed QB Doug Johnson, a move that was not entirely unexpected. The team also announced the release of five undrafted rookie free agents and 2004 seventh-round pick Adimchinobe Echamandu. Here is the press release and several helpful links...
    </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=3>
    The Browns today announced that they have signed QB Doug Johnson and released a number of undrafted rookie free agents signed late in April. There were no major surprises among the players released, although Adimchinobe Echemandu, a seventh-round selection a year ago, was thought to have an outside chance to make the club.

    The team's move to acquire a veteran quarterback has been anticipated for well over a month. Below is the team's press release.

    See also:
    Updated Active Roster
    Updated (and speculative) Depth Chart

    <HR width="80%" color=#ff8000>June 20, 2005
    For Immediate Release


    The Cleveland Browns have signed QB Doug Johnson to a one-year contract and have waived DL Larry Burt, DB Charles Byrd, WR Bradley Chavez, RB Adimchinobe Echemandu, WR Bill Flowers and DB Justin Fraley, the club announced today.

    Johnson, 6-2 and 225 lbs., played in the final two games of the regular season with Tennessee in 2004 and was six-of 12 passing for 68 yards and a QB rating of 68.4.

    During his five year NFL career with Atlanta and Tennessee, Johnson has played in 25 games, with 11 starts and has completed 218-of-384 for 2,600 yards with 13 TDs and 18 interceptions with a career QB rating of 69.4.

    A native of Gainsville, Fla., Johnson had his most experience in 2003 with Atlanta as he appeared in 10 games, including eight starts and completed 136-of-243 passes for 1,655 yards and 8 TDs and 12 interceptions for a QB rating of 67.5.


    Height: 6-2
    Weight: 225
    College: Florida
    Birthdate: Oct. 27, 1977
    How Acquired: FA – ‘05
    Year with Browns: 1st
    Year in NFL: 6th

    Games Played/Started: 2000 (4/2); 2001 (3/0); 2002 (6/1, 1/0); 2003 (10/8); 2004 (2/0).

    Career Games:25 games, 11 starts.

    Postseason Games:1 game, 0 starts.

    Career Transactions:Originally signed by Atlanta as an undrafted rookie free agent on April 17, 2000…Signed by Jacksonville as an unrestricted free agent on April 28, 2004…Waived by Jacksonville on Aug. 30, 2004…Signed by Tennessee as an unrestricted free agent on Sept. 7, 2004…Signed by Cleveland as a free agent on June 20, 2005.

    Fun Facts:Drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the second round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft and played infield in their minor league system during the summers of 1996 and 1997.

    Seasonal Reviews:

    2004: Signed with Jacksonville as an unrestricted free agent, however was waived at the end of training camp…Signed by Tennessee the week before the start of the regular season and served as the 3rd QB for the Titans behind Steve McNair and Billy Volek…Saw action in the final two games of the regular season, coming off the bench to relieve starter Billy Volek in both contests…Totaled 6-of-12 passing for 68 yards with no TDs or interceptions…Inactive 3rd QB in nine contests, did not play in five others…Was 4-of-7 passing for 26 yards vs. Denver on Dec. 25, and 2-of-5 passing for 42 yards vs. Detroit on Jan. 2.

    2003: Started eight of 10 games in place of the injured Michael Vick, completing 136-of-243 passes for 1,655 yards, 8 TDs and 12 interceptions, a 67.5 QB rating…In season opener vs. Dallas on Sept. 7, completed 16-of-27 passes for 228 yards, 2 TDs, including career-best 41-yard scoring strike, with 1 interception, and also added 1 rushing TD…Completed 16-of-36 passes for 197 yards with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions at Washington on Sept. 14…Had his best day as pro vs. Minnesota on Oct. 5, completing 28-of-40 passes for 352 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions…Set career highs in yards (352), completions (28) and attempts (40) and tied career-high with 2 TDs…Started at Houston on Nov. 30, and completed 12-of-27 passes for 116 yards and 1 interception before being replaced in lineup by Michael Vick with 2:14 to go in 3rd quarter.

    2002: Played in six games, including one start, completing 37-of-57 passes for 448 yards and 2 TDs with 3 interceptions and a 78.7 QB rating…Started at N.Y. Giants on Oct. 13, due to a shoulder injury to Michael Vick and completed 19-of-25 passes for 257 yards with 1 TD and 1 rushing TD for 15 yards for a career-high passer rating of 121.6.

    2001: In his second season with Atlanta, played in three games and served as the 3rd QB behind Michael Vick and Chris Chandler…Completed 3-of-5 passes for 23 yards and 1 TD and added 5 carries for 12 yards…Was backup QB at Arizona on Sept. 30, due to a back injury to Michael Vick, and came in late in the 4th quarter and rushed 4 times for 13 yards…Backup vs. Dallas on Nov. 11, due to an injury to Chris Chandler, and alternated with Michael Vick in the second half on every series, completed 3-of-4 passes for 23 yards and the game-winning TD pass to TE Brian Kozlowski with 5:28 remaining in the game for a 20-13 win…Rotated for a series with Michael Vick late in the 4th quarter vs. St. Louis on Dec. 2…In the regular season finale at St. Louis on Jan. 6, backup to Michael Vick.

    2000: In his rookie season, opened the season as club's 3rd QB behind Chris Chandler and Danny Kanell, but moved up depth chart as season progressed…Played in four games, including two starts and totaled 36-of-67 passing for 406 yards and 2 TDs with 3 interceptions and a 63.4 QB rating…Started consecutive games vs. Seattle on Dec. 3, at New Orleans on Dec. 17, due to injuries to Chandler…Made his NFL debut at Denver on Sept. 10, as he took over for starter Chris Chandler in the 4th quarter and completed 3-of-7 passes for 43 yards, and connected on his first pro pass to WR Shawn Jefferson for a 25-yard gain…Began the second half in relief of Chandler at Oakland on Nov. 26, and completed 11-of-17 passes (64.7%) for 85 yards and 1 TD for a 96.4 QB rating, and added his first TD on a 4-yard pass to TE Brian Kozlowski…Made his first NFL start vs. Seattle on Dec. 3, and completed 17-of-33 for 233 yards with 1 TD and 2 interceptions…Started at New Orleans on Dec. 17, however was replaced by Chris Chandler in the second half.

    College: Started 22 games for nationally-ranked Florida Gators from 1996-99…Only Shane Matthews (74, 1989-92) and Danny Wuerffel (114, 1993-96) threw more TDs in school history than his 62 career scores…Completed 504-of-907 attempts (55.6%) for 7,114 yards, which ranked sixth-best on school's all-time charts…Threw 7 TDs in single-game vs. Central Michigan as sophomore and passed for 460 yards vs. Vanderbilt during his junior season…As senior, completed 190-of-337 passes for (56.4%) for 2,574 yards with 20 TDs in nine starts…Majored in sports management.

    Personal: Married to wife, Tara, and the couple resides in Gainesville, Fla…Attended Buchholz (Gainesville, Fla.) High where he was a first-team All-America selection and was named the Gainesville Sun Area Offensive Player-of-the-Year in 1995…Led Buchholz to state semifinals in Class 5A…Born Doug Johnson on Oct. 27, 1977 in Gainesville, Fla.

    <TABLE id=table1 style="BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=3 border=1><TBODY><TR><TD>Year</TD><TD align=middle>GP-GS</TD><TD align=middle>Att.</TD><TD align=middle>Comp.</TD><TD align=middle>Pct.</TD><TD align=middle>Yards</TD><TD align=middle>TD</TD><TD align=middle>Int.</TD><TD align=middle>Long</TD><TD align=middle>Sacks</TD><TD align=middle>Yards</TD><TD align=middle>Rating</TD></TR><TR><TD>2000 (Atl.)</TD><TD align=middle>4-2</TD><TD align=middle>67</TD><TD align=middle>36</TD><TD align=middle>53.7</TD><TD align=middle>406</TD><TD align=middle>2</TD><TD align=middle>3</TD><TD align=middle>26</TD><TD align=middle>13</TD><TD align=middle>75</TD><TD align=middle>63.4</TD></TR><TR><TD>2001 (Atl.)</TD><TD align=middle>3-0</TD><TD align=middle>5</TD><TD align=middle>3</TD><TD align=middle>60.0</TD><TD align=middle>23</TD><TD align=middle>1</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>14</TD><TD align=middle>2</TD><TD align=middle>13</TD><TD align=middle>110.8</TD></TR><TR><TD>2002 (Atl.)</TD><TD align=middle>6-1</TD><TD align=middle>57</TD><TD align=middle>37</TD><TD align=middle>64.9</TD><TD align=middle>448</TD><TD align=middle>2</TD><TD align=middle>3</TD><TD align=middle>63</TD><TD align=middle>3</TD><TD align=middle>11</TD><TD align=middle>78.7</TD></TR><TR><TD>2003 (Atl.)</TD><TD align=middle>10-8</TD><TD align=middle>243</TD><TD align=middle>136</TD><TD align=middle>56.0</TD><TD align=middle>1,655</TD><TD align=middle>8</TD><TD align=middle>12</TD><TD align=middle>86t</TD><TD align=middle>19</TD><TD align=middle>121</TD><TD align=middle>67.5</TD></TR><TR><TD>2004 (Tenn.)</TD><TD align=middle>2-0</TD><TD align=middle>12</TD><TD align=middle>6</TD><TD align=middle>50.0</TD><TD align=middle>68</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>33</TD><TD align=middle>1</TD><TD align=middle>6</TD><TD align=middle>67.4</TD></TR><TR><TD>Career

    </TD><TD align=middle>25-11

    </TD><TD align=middle>384

    </TD><TD align=middle>218

    </TD><TD align=middle>56.8

    </TD><TD align=middle>2,600

    </TD><TD align=middle>13

    </TD><TD align=middle>18

    </TD><TD align=middle>86t

    </TD><TD align=middle>38

    </TD><TD align=middle>226

    </TD><TD align=middle>69.4

    <TABLE id=table2 style="BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" cellSpacing=4 cellPadding=0 border=1><TBODY><TR><TD>Year</TD><TD align=middle>GP-GS</TD><TD align=middle>Att.</TD><TD align=middle>Comp.</TD><TD align=middle>Pct.</TD><TD align=middle>Yards</TD><TD align=middle>TD</TD><TD align=middle>Int.</TD><TD align=middle>Long</TD><TD align=middle>Sacks</TD><TD align=middle>Yards</TD><TD align=middle>Rating</TD></TR><TR><TD>2000 (Atl.)</TD><TD align=middle>1-0</TD><TD align=middle>1</TD><TD align=middle>1</TD><TD align=middle>100.0</TD><TD align=middle>14</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>14</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>118.0</TD></TR><TR><TD>Career</TD><TD align=middle>1-0</TD><TD align=middle>1</TD><TD align=middle>1</TD><TD align=middle>100.0</TD><TD align=middle>14</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>14</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>0</TD><TD align=middle>118.0</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
  15. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="98%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Levine: Vets Like What They See

    </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff>[​IMG]

    </TD><TD noWrap width=3></TD><TD vAlign=top>By Les Levine
    Date: Jun 22, 2005

    Les Levine was at mini-camp last week, and reports back on some conversations he had with Browns veterans who have been through several coaching changes. Plus... early returns on the 3-4 defense and what the signing of Johnson says about back-up quarterback Josh Harris.
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    There aren’t too many Browns players who have been around for all three head coaches (four, if you include Terry Robiskie) since the return of the franchise in 1999, but the few who remain are very happy with what they see. To the best of my knowledge, there are only six or seven players who will be on the opening game roster, who have seen, first-hand, all of the head coaching changes. Those six or seven were here when Romeo Crennel was an assistant coach under Chris Palmer in 2000.

    One of those players, who at this point will remain nameless, told me that Romeo’s personality hasn’t changed a bit since then, despite the success that he achieved after going to New England. In addition, the locker room has never had a better atmosphere than it has now, and that is not just because the players have to say that.

    Clearly there were personnel problems in the locker room before, along with a lack of trust of the coaching staff. But that is no longer the case. That could change if the wins and losses don’t change, but right now, according to my conversation, everybody appears to be on the same page.

    In addition, the veteran players have really taken a liking to owner Randy Lerner. Lerner has earned that respect because he has figured out when to be around, and when to stay away. I don’t think players, for the most part, could less who the owner of a team is, as long as the checks clear, but it must be comforting for Lerner, Crennel and Phil Savage that the atmosphere has turned around so quickly.

    Isn’t it interesting, that as of today, there are ten Mid American Conference players on the Browns roster, and only one, Kenard Lang (not including Kellen Winslow, Jr.) from Miami (Fl). There aren’t many from Florida or Florida State, either, although newly acquired QB Doug Johnson played at Florida.

    <HR>The signing of veteran QB Doug Johnson is not an indictment against Charlie Frye as it is against Josh Harris. Frye, who was great in games at Akron U., never was an impressive practice player, wasn’t really expected to step in to the backup QB position right from the beginning. Harris, who was on the Baltimore Raven roster last year, might have been, but it looks like his fate is sealed with the signing of Johnson. That, of course, could change during training camp, as there is no guarantee that Johnson will be the right fit, but he probably will be.

    <HR>Even though the real hitting hasn’t started yet, some of the offensive players are very impressed with the early stages of the 3-4 defense.

    According to one veteran offensive player that I talked to, the hard part is to figure out where the fourth rusher is coming from. There are keys to look for, but in those early stages, the Browns defense is learning how to ‘mask’ those keys.

    According to several players, Orpheus Roye has been extremely quick to adapt to end position in the new defense. When much of the defensive line wound up in Denver, there was some concern about what was left. So far, the adaptation of Roye and LB Chaun Thompson has been impressive.


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