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Browns training camp: 10 questions


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1. Who's No. 1?


Anderson was 3-6 as a starter last year. Quinn was 1-2. Anderson completed 50.2 percent of his passes (142 of 283) and Quinn completed 50.6 percent of his (45 of 89). The league average was 61 percent.


Both quarterbacks were inconsistent in the minicamps. Mangini wants to split the snaps each receives evenly. It's the only fair way to run a quarterback derby, but the downside is it will be late August until the offense knows who its leader is.

2. How will Kamerion Wimbley and Shaun Rogers respond to the coaching change?


The rules have to be the same for every player on the team. If curfew is 11 p.m., it has to be 11 p.m. for all 80 players. If the price for fumbling or committing a penalty is running a lap, anyone guilty of an infraction has to run.


Last year, Mangini, as head coach of the Jets, proved he won't play favorites when he made Brett Favre run a lap for fumbling a snap.


But not all players should be treated the same. Some respond to a pat on the back and some respond to a kick in the butt.


For three years, Romeo Crennel patted Wimbley on the back, and Wimbley grew less productive each of the last two years.


This coaching staff has some butt kickers, particularly defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and defensive line coach Bryan Cox. Though Wimbley is a linebacker, Cox will cross his path and use words Wimbley never utters. This could be the year Wimbley regains the flash he showed as a rookie in 2006, when he produced 11 sacks, or it could be the year he disappears.


Rogers, on the other hand, responded well to Crennel last season after failing to satisfy the coaches in Detroit. Crennel did not push Rogers, and Rogers led the Browns with 4 1/2 sacks. He played so well teams sometimes triple-teamed him.


It will be a mistake to run Rogers into the ground in training camp or to dog him.

3. How much does Jamal Lewis have left in the tank?


This question won't be answered fully until mid-December, but if there are concerns, they will show in camp.


Lewis turns 30 on Aug. 26. He has carried the football 2,399 times in a career that began in 2000 with the Ravens. It can be safely said he has been hit at least 5,000 times — probably more than 10,000 times — because one player doesn't tackle him often, and he isn't the kind of player to dip out of bounds. More likely, he'll lower his shoulder and knock over the linebacker.


Whatever success the Browns have in 2009 depends on Lewis being healthy. If he is sidelined, teams won't have to respect the Browns' running attack, and that is bad news for whoever wins the quarterback battle.

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4. Who will be the second receiver?


The question is written assuming Braylon Edwards gets over whatever ailment is bothering him so he can be the No. 1 receiver. If Edwards isn't healthy at the start of the season, the quarterback battle could be between Rivers and Manning and it wouldn't matter.


The job for No. 2 receiver is wide open. Donte Stallworth was banished by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for driving drunk and killing a pedestrian, Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie are rookies and David Patten and Michael Furry are veteran one-year fixes at best.


One of the rookies should win the job. Robiskie is still unsigned.


5. How quickly will the offense catch on to Brian Daboll's schemes?


It seems like a lot more than two years ago that the Browns were stumbling around as they tried to learn the philosophy of their new offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski. Training camp was torture. Anderson and Charlie Frye looked like their job was to bounce the ball to the receivers.


The light went on in the second game of the season. The Browns scored 402 points. Whether they are nearly as productive this year depends on how quickly they grasp what Daboll wants them to do.Daboll says the game plans will differ according to the opponent. It will emphasize running against teams weak against the run and throwing against teams weak against the pass. We'll see how much variety there really is week to week.


Daboll will be calling plays for the first time in his coaching career. If he can get his players to line up properly and hold onto the ball, the Browns will be ahead of where they were last year.

6. Who will start at tight end?


Robert Royal, Martin Rucker and Steve Heiden are trying to fill the void made when Kellen Winslow Jr. was traded to the Buccaneers. None of the three has the athletic skill Winslow possesses, but Mangini and Kokinis knew that and still decided the team would be better without Winslow.


Heiden had surgery on his ACL and MCL in December, yet he plans to be ready for training camp. If he is, the battle for the starting job should come down to Heiden vs. Royal. Royal caught 33 passes with the Bills last season.


Defenses will be able to concentrate on Edwards more now that they don't have to worry about Winslow. The locker room is going to be different. The huddle will be different without Winslow. This is a classic example of addition by subtraction.

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7. Who will start at right cornerback?


Brandon McDonald and Roderick Hood are the contenders. Hood has more experience. The Kokinis-Mangini regime did not draft McDonald, so McDonald is on his own.


This should be one of the best battles of camp. Hood started 30 games for the Cardinals over the last two years and helped them get to the Super Bowl, but defense proved Arizona's undoing. The Cardinals allowed 426 points — 76 more than the Browns allowed — and won a weak division with a 9-7 record. They allowed 36 passing touchdowns — twice as many as the Browns — and fired defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.


Hood was part of that secondary victimized 36 times. McDonald had his own problems, but righted himself with a month to play.


The Browns will be the ultimate winner in this battle because the loser will be the nickelback. The Browns are deeper at cornerback than a year ago with rookie Don Carey and veterans Hank Poteat and Corey Ivy. Rookie Coye Francies is on the active/non-football injury list. When he will practice is unknown.


8. Who will start on the offensive line?


The line is unsettled after left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack. Mangini wants left guard Eric Steinbach to play at about 300 pounds. Last year, Steinbach was closer to 275.


Staying with the bigger is better theme, Floyd Womack (328 pounds) and Ryan Tucker (320) are going to battle for right guard. John St. Clair (315) and George Foster (328) are contenders at right tackle.


The Browns scored only six rushing touchdowns last season. In 2007, Lewis rushed for nine touchdowns.


The bigger offensive line is designed to make the Browns a better running team. That has to be the reason for such a dramatic overhaul, because, despite playing from behind most of the season, the Browns allowed only 24 sacks in 2008, eight fewer than the league average. Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski were sacked nine times in four games, so the pass protection for Anderson and Quinn was very good.


The Browns are deeper on the line than they have been since their rebirth in 1999, so deep Hank Fraley, the starting center for three years, is in a fight for a backup job.

9. Will the linebackers improve?


Mangini did not have to critique the linebackers in words. He did so by signing two former Jets linebackers in free agency — David Bowens and Eric Barton — and drafting Kaluka Maiava and David Veikune. Interestingly, he could have drafted any of the three prominent USC linebackers — Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews or Rey Maualuga — but drafted Alex Mack instead.


Linebackers are supposed to be the backbone of the 3-4 defense, but it was a weakness under the Phil Savage-Romeo Crennel regime for four years. Barton and D'Qwell Jackson, the Browns hope, will finally make the run defense respectable.


The Browns still have to find a starting outside linebacker to pair with Wimbley. It could be Alex Hall, Bowens or Veikune. Titus Brown was active in the minicamps. Don't be surprised if he gets significant practice time in camp.

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10. Can Corey Williams rebound?


Williams did not deliver last season. The Browns traded a second-round draft pick for him to the Packers, paid him a ton of money and got half a sack and 58 tackles. He played with a bad shoulder all year. To his credit he didn't miss a game.


The defense under Mangini and Rob Ryan could benefit Williams. The Browns will play more four-man fronts this season. That would allow Williams to line up as a true left end. He did not adjust well to being an end in the 3-4 defense.


But Mangini isn't taking chances. The Browns signed Kenyon Coleman and C.J. Mosley, both former Jets, in free agency. Mosley can play inside or outside. Coleman is a run stopper first.


Robaire Smith is trying to play again after rupturing his Achilles tendon last September. He will be brought along slowly in training camp.

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Who wrote this? The author obviously has no idea about the runningback situation.

Why do you say that?. None of the other backs have yet to establish much of anything. I see potential for sure, but nothing I would bank on, or is there something else?

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also doesn't realize Robiskie is signed..or it was written prior to his signing




Jerome Harrison.... all i gotta say.







As far as the receivers, its a contract year for BE... c'mon now.

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