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Saturday, November 21, 2009
Walker's weekend mailbag: Bad Brownies

By James Walker

Let's dig into the AFC North weekend mailbag.

Mike Pisano from Chicago writes: Is Brady Quinn's arm strong enough for the NFL? Can he make enough of the throws to play in the league?

James Walker: Quinn still has a lot to prove, Mike, and that’s probably the biggest thing Cleveland Browns followers have to look forward to in these final seven games. Living in Cleveland, I have seen Quinn a lot in training camps, practices and in preseason and regular-season games. And in every one of those instances he’s struggled to complete deep passes of 20 yards or more. Quinn says his arm strength is fine, but at some point he’s going to have to prove it against NFL defenses. He was 0-for-7 on throws of 10 yards or more last Monday against the Ravens.

J.Mo from Bed-Stuy wants to know who is the ideal candidate for Browns GM.

Walker: Ideal? Bill Parcells. But it’s unlikely the Browns will land “The Tuna,” despite some rumors on the contrary. Mike Holmgren also would be a good choice. Pretty much anyone who isn’t stepping into the GM role for the first time would be an upgrade for Cleveland. Everything I’ve heard so far is that former GM George Kokinis was in over his head.


Alvin from Bradfordsville, KY wants to know if the Browns will fire head coach Eric Mangini now to get a head start on the coaching search.

Walker: Browns owner Randy Lerner has no interest in firing Mangini during the season. I think in Lerner’s heart of hearts, he really wants Mangini to right the ship in these final seven games as a selling point to whoever gets the job as GM/Head of Football Operations. If the new football “czar” in Cleveland is someone like Holmgren, who is experienced and has a proven track record, chances are someone of that caliber at least wants the option to choose his own head coach or he’s probably not coming to Cleveland. But if the Browns finish strong, Lerner may have some bargaining chips to convince the new GM to keep the current coaching staff in tact. That will be something to closely monitor this offseason.


Shawn from Philadelphia, PA wants to know if I have any thoughts on running back Chris Jennings.

Walker: The Cleveland media is getting giddy --probably too giddy -- over Jennings of late. But I think that’s more of a product of having nothing else to get excited about. Jennings is getting a chance to show what he can do. But truthfully not many CFL guys turn out to be feature running backs in the NFL. I still think the Browns need to draft a tailback high next year.


Jason from NYC believes Cleveland's next win will be the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL draft.

Walker: It’s only a win if the Browns pick the right player. Consider the amount of guaranteed money that will be required to sign the top pick next year. It’s going to be through the roof. That’s why it’s important to get a head of football operations in Cleveland ASAP to begin this process, because the Browns have a ton of high picks and will be major players in next year’s draft. If the team screws up its top pick, it will set the franchise back several more years.


Brad from Atlanta, Ga. doesn’t get why most people feel the Baltimore Ravens are struggling, considering they’ve only lost to the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals twice.

Walker: That’s a fair point, Brad. But this isn’t college football. There is no point system and no such thing as a quality loss. The fact is the Ravens were beaten in four of their last six games. They had a chance to win all of them late with the exception of the second game against the Cincinnati Bengals, which was never close. I believe Baltimore is a good team. But the Ravens must beat some of the elite teams on their schedule at some point if they want to get to the postseason. A win Sunday against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts would be a huge step forward in that direction.


Becky from Galloway, Ohio writes: Is Kyle Cook one of the main reasons for the Bengals' offensive line being much improved this season?

Walker: He’s a major reason, Becky. Cook is playing as well or better than former center Richie Braham did when the Bengals were last strong up the middle. But left tackle Andrew Whitworth is playing some of the best football of his career protecting Carson Palmer’s blindside as well. This may be the most surprising unit in the division this year.


Collin from Illinois wants to know what happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers lack of a no-huddle offense against the Bengals.

Walker: The no-huddle has worked for Pittsburgh, but the team doesn’t want to turn it into a full-time thing. It’s working more as a change of pace right now in certain games. I’m not sure last week it would’ve help that much, because quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was not playing well. If anything, I thought the Steelers could have run the football more.