Throughout the Browns' training camp in Berea, Bernie's Insiders will focus on players' thoughts as they get ready for the 2005 National Football League season.
We will bring you periodic bytes as the players conclude practice and meet with the media. These will include the words of veterans and rookies alike as coach Romeo Crennel and his staff puts together the best 53-man roster.
Q – It seems that from what coaches are saying, there's wide-open competition back where you play at safety?
A – I'm just trying to go out there and do what I'm supposed to do, know what I have to do first. And when you know what you're doing, you're able to play fast and your ability is able to be shown. I just go out there when my group is called and try to have no mental period and try to make plays on the ball and go from there. The only we can do as athletes and players is push each other to get better and play and let them (the coaches) handle how they want to handle it.
Q – How spirited is that competition?
A – It's real spirited. In the meeting rooms looking at film or out here on the field, we're high-fiving each other. We all just want to win. It hasn't been that way for a long time around here and I just want to win. I've been here through the lows and a couple of highs and I'm tired of the lows and whatever it takes to win, man, I just want to be a part of it.
Q – How does the new (3-4) defense impact on what you do?
A – We've got more coverage calls. We can make more adjustments to certain formations. All in all, it's still football. It's X's and O's and the faster we can get down how they want us to play our techniques and things like that, the better we'll be able to run the defense.
Q – What do you think you have to work at the most to impress the coaches?
A – They just want guys to play hard, show great effort, know what you're doing. We're not always going to get everything. But if you play hard, show good effort, hustle to the ball, they can coach you on everything else. They want physical guys, aggressive guys, smart guys. You can go on out there and show them things, then I think you have a good chance of making the team.
Q – And you're all of the above?
A – I'd like to think so.
Q – What's been the hardest part of the transition (from defensive end in college to outside linebacker)?
A – Going from a three-point stance to a two-point stance, learning how to bend at the knees, stuff like that. The whole transition of covering (receivers out of the backfield). Getting good technique. Just try to be the best at your position.
Q – Do you see a difference between the two positions?
A – It looks a lot different. You have to learn all the formations, the routes, stuff like that. Know which zone you have to protect.
Q – Knowing that you have a chance to be a pass rusher on this team, does that help you work into that position?
A – Oh yeah. That's one of the things I got recruited for, being a good pass rusher. That will add more to what I'm capable of doing.
Q – Did other teams besides the Browns look at you as an outside linebacker?
A –A lot of teams were talking about that because of my size (6-3, 262) and my speed. That's why they had me do outside linebacker drills at the (Indianapolis) combine. They weren't the first to act on it.
Q – Can you run with the backs? How fast are you?
A – They had me clocked at 4.5. Plus, I was 260 when I ran it and I've slimmed down a little bit. I'm hoping for the high 4.4's.
Q – Were you a track man?
A – In high school. Did sprints and the triple jump.
Q – How would you categorize your comfort level?
A – It's really high, but it's not too high. I don't think I know everything and that I can do everything. I know I can do what the coach asks me to do. I'm just going out there and play hard and do what I'm supposed to do. I'm not the messiah on defense.
Q – What about you as a football player do you bring to your position that's going to make you that much better and make this team that much better?
A – One, I hate to lose. Two, I'm not going to give up. Three, I'm going to run to the ball. I'm going to play hard and know my assignments. Everything else will take care of itself.
Q – Do you feel more comfortable at outside linebacker as opposed to inside?
A – It's hard to say. This is the first time I've been in a 3-4. To me, everything is going to be comfortable. They gave me the opportunity to play outside. I like it, I enjoy it, I have fun out there.
Q – What about it is so much fun for you?
A – Because for the offense, it's a guessing game. You never know where the
blitz is coming from, you never know where the rush linebacker is coming from.
(The coaches) make everything look the same.