Saturday, June 13, 2009
Browns unsettled following minicamp
BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns walked off the field following their final minicamp Saturday with more questions than answers.
The quarterback position is still unsettled. Braylon Edwards is the only established receiver on the roster, and he was mostly a spectator during the three-day camp because of an undisclosed injury.
The tight ends are unsettled following the trade of Kellen Winslow and the knee injury to Steve Heiden and both the offensive and defensive lines remain in flux. At nearly every position on the roster, jobs are up for grabs.
All of that's fine with new coach Eric Mangini.
As the Browns take seven weeks off before training camp begins Aug. 1, he's not searching for answers yet.
"This isn't a time when any questions get answered," Mangini said. "This is more of a time for gathering information. Until we get to a point where we cut down, it's going to be a constant evaluation. This is just another step in the process."
Before the first voluntary workout, Mangini said Brady Quinn held a slight lead over Derek Anderson in the quarterback competition, based on the offseason program. Mangini amended that Saturday, saying the two will enter training camp dead even.
"Done that before," Anderson said. "Not really anything new to me. Come back in July and get to work and see where it takes us."
Anderson practiced Friday and Saturday with a sleeve on his right calf, although the wrap on Saturday looked thicker than Friday. Both he and Mangini declined to clarify the injury. Mangini would only say he'll be fine for training camp.
The same goes for Edwards, who sat out Thursday and Friday, but did get in for a few plays on Saturday and even caught a pass. With Donte Stallworth facing DUI manslaughter charges in Miami, rookie receivers Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi are the leading candidates to produce behind Edwards, who led the NFL in drops last season.
"I think it's the most fun I've had going into a training camp because you look at every position and you have guys in competition, guys who can get the job done," Edwards said. "It's a matter of picking and choosing. Whoever wins I know is definitely going to be able to play on Sundays."
Browns legendary running back Jim Brown, now a team adviser, watched the three days of practice from the sideline. He was part of the last Browns team to win a championship in 1964.
"Ultimately you've got to have certain talent," Brown said. "If you look at the receivers, if all those youngsters come through, if our running backs perform on a certain level and if our quarterbacks perform on a certain level -- right there you have three positions that are highly important, but we don't have superstars at any of them. If you can coach Robiskie and Massaquoi and Braylon is on his game, that's what has to happen."
It's an awful lot of "ifs" for one team, but then again, the Browns won just four games last year and overhauled the coaching staff for the fourth time since returning to the league in 1999.
"I think we've got a pretty good grasp on what we're doing, what they want us to do and what they expect of us," Anderson said. "That's the biggest thing we're trying to get done in June. When we come back, we'll hit on all cylinders."