Lane Adkins has written extensively in recent weeks about challenges within the team in 2002 and the road ahead in 2003. Using questions asked in the <A HREF="http://insiders2.ezboard.com/fbrownsinsiderfrm10">Ask the Insiders</A> forum as a starting point, Lane offers further details about reasons behind off-season changes, as well as his thoughts on the development of the team's defense.
Recently, we published an article that touched on some
issues that arose within the team during the 2002 season. Among the subjects
covered were Butch Davis' lack of comfort with certain aspects of his team and
the play and thoughts of veteran safety Robert Griffith.
Naturally, the fans in our
Ask the Insiders
forum had some follow-up questions.
We'll touch on some points from
questions posed by one of the loyal Browns fans who chat with us in the forum,
"Redright". One of the things I like about writing for
BerniesInsiders.com is the ability to follow-up stories by talking with fans,
especially ones as knowledgeable as the dawgs in the Ask the Insiders forum.
"Redright" asked some excellent questions, which we felt we should expand
Why was Butch uncomfortable with the DBs?
The Browns defensive backs were not a good coverage team in 2001 with
basically the same cast of characters. The DB's did not show consistency in
practice and Davis is more of a zone type coach (especially when he does not
have a true cover corner on the roster). At the present time a pure cover
corner has not distinguished himself.
What coaching was suspect?
There were issues within the ranks on the defensive side of the ball, as we
mentioned throughout the 2002 season. Obviously the changes on the defensive
side of the ball we made to address the perceived problem. Davis had defensive
backfield coach Chuck Pagano on his staff at the University of Miami, and he was
one coach that struggled under the direction of former defensive coordinator Foge Fazio.
Communication, scheme, preparation, respect, etc. While there was respect
between the head coach and defensive coordinator, there was something missing
within the ranks of the coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball.
Why couldn't Butch get them to communicate?
Lets just say that Davis had his hands on the defense. Davis did not control
or run the defense in theory, he did have an involvement that cannot be
questioned, or that is what some of his players and former players/coaches
Why can we expect Grif to be a leader when he was lost and adrift last year?
Griffith wanted the challenge then, wants it now, and believes that he has
much to prove. He was outspoken at the end of the 2002 season and he is being looked upon to provide veteran leadership along with
his experience. Since he was new to the team in 2002, and the team had veteran players on the roster
that had been with them for several seasons, he did not actively
attempt to grasp the leadership role.
OK, what have you seen or expect to see that will indicate this year's defense
will be on the same page? Be able to play as a team?
The addition of Campo will be good for the Browns. The team will be more
aggressive and play more to the perceived talent on the roster. It doesn't
hurt that Davis is extremely comfortable and trusting of him. Campo comes to
the Browns as a successful defensive coordinator that has shown the ability to
utilize players to their ability within the scheme.
I'd like to be more positive, but on last year's play there was no one that
was a team or even a defensive leader on the D-line, Linebackers or DBs. Whom
do you think will take charge of these three areas--D-line; LB; DB?
I believe that Warren will rebound well. The youth, athleticism, and increased
quickness at linebacker should help this team, once they really get their feet
wet. At DB, well, that's a crapshoot.
Injuries, turnover, less than desirable results from free agents, and so
robbed this defense of an identity. The young players will have struggles, but the
goal is to consistently improve throughout the 2003 season. A tough task is
ahead for basically a group of rookies and rather inexperienced players.