Saturday, October 10, 2009
Walker's weekend mailbag: Edwards reaction
By James Walker
Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
The Cleveland Browns’ blockbuster trade that shipped receiver Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets was the biggest story in the AFC North this week. So it’s only natural our readers had tons of questions on the subject.
Richard from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: So the message Browns coach Eric Mangini's sending to his players is: Play really well one year, then fall off the map the next year, and we'll get you out of Cleveland as quickly as possible?
James Walker: Not exactly, Richard. The message from the Edwards trade is get with the new program or get out. Edwards’ personal conduct had just as much, if not more, to do with his lack of production in this trade. Every situation is different, but Mangini is looking for players who fit his values for building a team. It’s not all about statistics.
Bobby wants to know what to expect from new Browns receiver Chansi Stuckey once he learns the playbook.
James Walker: From the people I’ve talked to this week who are familiar with Stuckey, I’m told he is a smart receiver who excels in the slot. That leads me to believe Stuckey fits best as a No. 3 receiver, but I will reserve judgment until I see him with my own eyes in a Browns uniform. Sometimes players get labeled with teams and a change of scenery and offensive system could lead to different things. In the meantime, the Browns are hoping players such as Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie and Joshua Cribbs can step up and take over the two starting roles, at least until Stuckey catches up. Massaquoi had a breakout game last week against the Cincinnati Bengals with eight catches for 148 yards.
Vivek from New York City wants to know if people are being too critical of Mangini for taking in too many former Jets.
James Walker: Vivek, I agree there was premature criticism of Mangini’s Jets ties before he even coached in his first game. But now that we’re into the regular season, criticizing Cleveland’s performances on Sundays are fair game. It’s a fact that Mangini now has nine former Jets on his team and none have done enough to prevent the Browns from an 0-4 start. Safety Abram Elam, defensive end Kenyon Coleman and linebackers Eric Barton and David Bowens are starters and contributing. But through four games none of these acquisitions from New York have been impact players.
Chris from Cleveland, Ohio and Mike from Chicago want to know if I thought Cincinnati Bengals kicker Shayne Graham made the field goal against the Browns in overtime.
James Walker: Chris, when I first saw the kick last Sunday my initial reaction was that it may have sailed a little too far to the right. But after seeing the replay about a half-dozen times since, it's extremely close and I’m not sure. I know Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan feels it was a missed kick. I’m sure the Bengals' coaches feel it was a made kick. But the referees were the only people under the uprights and had the best angle. So you have to trust their judgment.
Craig from Lwood, Ohio, wants to know if quarterback Brady Quinn’s career in Cleveland is over.
James Walker: Craig, where is "Lwood" Ohio? I’ve been to every corner of the state the past six years and never heard of it. With Quinn, he’s fallen out of favor with the coaching staff with his performance the first two-and-a-half games. And similar to Edwards, Mangini also didn’t draft Quinn so there are no strong ties to keep him if the team doesn't feel he's the long-term solution at quarterback. But Quinn also has two years left on his contract and it’s an incentive-laden deal to the point where it doesn’t cost the Browns much if he’s not playing. There are reasons for both sides so it’s hard to say definitively four weeks into the season.
Hung Phan from Fort Worth, Texas, wants to know the deal with wide receiver Mike Furrey playing some safety last week.
James Walker: The Browns are lacking quality depth in the secondary so Mangini is trying different things. Furrey played a lot of snaps at safety in sub packages. Mangini learned from his days with the New England Patriots that sometimes a receiver can be effective in the secondary on a limited basis. Former Patriots receiver Troy Brown was successful as a cornerback in the slot several years ago.