Can a team that plays the Cover-2 defense win a championship if it doesn't
have Warren Sapp and the league's most ferocious defensive line?
The Browns will join a lot of other teams in testing that theory this year.
Last season when the team brought in Dave Campo as defensive coordinator, it
went exclusively with the Cover-2.
It's a defense that Minnesota coach Mike Tice said he hates because he
doesn't think defenses can consistently stop the run playing Cover-2.
It's a sit-back-and-don't-give-up-the-big-play scheme, a scheme that relies
on the front four for pressure and the middle linebacker to patrol a big part of
It's also a defense that produces no answers if things aren't going well.
Witness the team's complete inability to stop Jamal Lewis last season. In two
games he ran for 500 yards against the Browns.
The Browns' rallying cry in the offseason was to improve against the run, and
they had to improve the tackling at safety.
Which seems to beg the question: By the time a back gets to the safety, isn't it
almost too late?
The Browns are backing on growth in the system providing some of the answers
as it tries to turn around a 5-11 team.
- Fans have been disappointed with the play of Gerard Warren, the third
overall pick in Butch Davis' first draft. Warren has at times been overweight
and lethargic, but the coaches insist that at other times he has done things
that have not been noticed.
- The Browns spent the offseason bringing in new people to play at Earl Little's safety spot. They never succeeded until draft day when they took Sean Jones in round two. Jones' torn ACL, though, means the team again will have to
rely on Little, who seemed to be the scapegoat for the defensive struggles
against the run in 2003.
- QUOTE TO NOTE: "I told the players that going into the fourth year (of
Davis' tenure in Cleveland), this is clearly the furthest along we've been
through minicamp. In more ways than one, the chemistry, the electricity the
feelings for each other, the way the veterans worked -- they set an
unbelievable practice picture for all the young incoming guys." -- Coach Butch
Davis at the conclusion of the team's offseason minicamp.