What We've Been Told
NOT JUST THE NOSE: While it appeared nose tackle Jason Fisk was bounced about the line of scrimmage, bordering on being dominated during the Browns' 23-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers, there is a little more than the obvious. The Browns' linebackers again displayed significant inconsistency, starting with their failure to flow and fill at the line of scrimmage. Starter Andra Davis had his moments of solid play and recognition against the Panthers, but the defense needs more, and the coaching staff expects more. THE INVISIBLE LINEBACKER: The coaching staff remains intrigued with the athletic ability of outside linebacker Chaun Thompson, but intrigue will only provide limited results. Thompson has shown the tendency to make a play, only to subsequently vanish for an extended period of time. Look for the coaching staff to have Thompson rush the quarterback more often as the regular season closes in. STRUGGLING SAFETY: Second-year safety Sean Jones' inexperience was never more evident than during his questionable performance against the Panthers. Beaten on numerous routes and not showing the hard-hitting tag for which he has been known for when coming out of the University of Georgia, Jones is close to being slated as the backup to Chris Crocker. Crocker, rumored to be on the trading block, has had a solid training camp, and is easily the best cover-player at the safety position. He, along with Brian Russell provides the team with its best chance for success in the short term. CUTCH DISPLACED? Veteran cornerback Ray Mickens continues to impress not only the coaching staff, but players on the roster with his professionalism and work ethic. Mickens is slated to start the season opposite Gary Baxter and could hold the position even when Daylon McCutcheon returns. BODDEN BOUNCES BACK: One player which helped his cause against the Panthers was cornerback Leigh Bodden. In extensive action, the healthy Bodden was solid in coverage against Carolina wide receivers Steve Smith and Keary Colbert. GREEN NO-GO: Running back William Green has outplayed the competition during training camp, the coaching staff remains less than enthused in anointing him the starter for the regular season opener. One reason is the coaching staff believes Rueben Droughns will show much more when the games count in September and the other is the team wants to maintain what has been a very good competitive spirit between the running backs in camp.