Savage Speaks, Part 2

Phil Savage spoke to the press for over an hour on Monday afternoon. On Monday, we brought you Savage's impressions and status coming out of last week's front office fracas. In the second part of his recap, Fred Greetham details Savage's statements on personnel and plans for 2006...

BEREA - Browns General Manager answered many questions at his State of the Browns press conference on Monday. Here are some of the questions that weren't addressed in Monday's story.

Q: What were you thinking when you heard all of the rumors going around?

Savage: I have a great family, a lot of great friends in football and out of football. I have a great faith and I do feel my faith is unshakeable. It has certainly been a learning experience.

Q: Do you need help?

Savage: It's hard to say you need help when you're going to be significantly below the cap going into next year, you've rolled forward a lot of dead money, we were able to win a number of games in spite of that and we've operated above board all year.

Q: What about spending a lot of of time scouting instead of in the office?

Savage: How many times do I need to go out there and watch our guys run through the bags when I can be at N.C. State or Carolina or Tennessee or wherever? I thought it was very important, especially in the first year of being GM, to establish that we're going to be a scouting first, player acquisition type of outfit.

If that's the skill or talent people think I have, why would I stray away from that to go watch us run through the bags or answer the telephone? I need to play to my strengths, and that's what I did.

There have been things said about scouting. We all have different styles. I come from a scouting background and I'm not ashamed of that. On Sunday we play the game, We have a review on Monday and on Tuesday we work out free agents. On Wednesday or Thursday, generally Randy was here. You have to realize the college season is 11 weeks long. Generally, Tuesday to Thursday are the important days on a college campus with the restrictions imposed on us.

Q: Do you have any more or less duties than you did two weeks ago?

Savage: Everything has remained intact. I have my duties and there is nothing to be added. I'm not interested in any other areas as I have enough to do."

Q: Were you ever offered an ultimatum to reduce some of your responsibilities?

Savage: It's never gotten to a point like that. There was never some point of contentions where it's either this or that.

I know what duties were laid out for me as general manager and those duties remain the same. I'm quite confident in those areas that we've made quite a bit of progress this year."

Q: Thoughts on Charlie Frye...

Savage: We drafted Charlie and felt fortunate to get him in the third round. He's shown the ability to bounce back with grit and determination. I think Charlie has certainly earned a strong look (at being our starting quarterback). I think he's going to get a strong look. He ended up 2-3 and we feel good about him.

Q: On evaluating the coaching staff...

Savage: I think you evaluate the coaches just like you do in player personnel issues—in everything, mini camp, training camp, practices and on game days. The coaches hiring are under Romeo's umbrella.

Q: Relationship with Jim Brown...

Savage: As Jim always says, he has his own opinion. Jim and I have a good relationship. He's coming up here and Romeo and I will talk to him. He has his own opinion. Very few people were privy to all the inner workings of the contracts.

Q: On the support of Browns fans...

Savage: It makes you feel pretty good because I've built a track record. I think I received over 1,000 e-mails of people who were taking a shot at e-mailing and got through. I think I'm a believable person and I think the coaches and people here think they can believe in Phil. That makes you feel good.

Q: On the recovery of Braylon Edwards...

Savage: I think there's a good prognosis for him and I think we should be excited about his return, but I think it would be a false sense of security to think he's going to walk out there Labor Day Weekend and be the stallion athlete that he is. We need to temper that a little bit.

Q: On Rueben Droughns getting a contract extension...

Savage: I think we're really doing to try to get something done with him. We've given him assurances that we can at least talk about it and really try to hammer something out.

When you really look at the Browns, there have been so few things to celebrate. I sensed when he got to 1,000 yards, everyone sighed a relief. He brought a competitive spirit to our team and he appreciated being the bell cow. We're going to try and get a deal done.

Q: On re-signing L.J. Shelton...

Savage: L.J. for the most part played adequately. He's an NFL left tackle and there's not a whole lot to choose from out there. I think L.J. would like to come back here. We would not be opposed to that.

Q: On re-signing Antonio Bryant...

Savage: On some days, in some games, in some practices, he looks fantastic and other times he leaves you scratching your head a little bit. He has NFL talent. He has incredible athleticism and very good hands, but he has inconsistent hands.

We're not opposed to bringing him back, and I think he would actually like to come back if the price is right. It comes down to money generally in these situations.

Q: What about Orpheus Roye...

Savage: Orpheus is in our plans. We want him back. I think he'd like to be here. We had enough money to get it done before the season was over and (his agent) Phil Williams came up here and we said we'd put it on hold until after the season.

Q: On Trent Dilfer...

Savage: Trent did what he would do and take the leadership it and establish what it is to be a professional. I said before the season I hope Trent can get to double digits because that will give Charlie time to learn while watching. Trent's an easy target. He's been just terrific as a mentor. I don't know what Romeo's plans are, whether it's going to be open competition or not

Q: Thoughts on second day draftees...

Savage: If you would've asked me on draft day I would've said our second day players would probably be red shirted this year. We didn't want to be forced to play rookies. Free agency allowed that. Generally, if you get three starters from a draft, you're doing well.

Q: Assess the second day draft picks now...

Savage: If Antonio Perkins has a strong off-season, he can help us. It would be fantastic if he could be the forth corner. David McMillian played defensive end at Kansas. We stood him up and he flashed some in practices. He could become our nickel rusher.

Nick Speegle played special teams from the first play to the last play. He will at least be a backup next year. Andrew Hoffman, we'll see where he fits in. John Dunn, if he would've stayed healthy would've got a lot of practice. He's going to Europe and get experience. You got to hit on the first three rounds and everything else is icing on the cake.

Q: How much `dead money' was there this year...

Savage: Twenty-four percent of our cap was dead money-- over $20 million. By doing that and still getting six wins and going forward we have a lot of flexibility and know what we need. It's much more clearly defined now.

Q: What are your goals this off-season...

Savage: In 2006, we want to add a real difference maker or two or three or four or five.

We were 30th in sacks 30th in rush defense, 32nd in red zone scoring and points scored.

The general rule is you need three difference making players on each side of the ball. We want to improve our depth and get our injured players (Kellen) Winslow, (Braylon) Edwards and (Gary) Baxter back.

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