Passan: Idle Thoughts from an Addled Mind

Passan: Idle Thoughts from an Addled Mind

The veteran writer and columnist ponders many subjects as the Summer drags on: whether LeCharles Bentley is doing the right thing, public relations statements on both sides of the looming Brady Quinn contract negotiations, and more...

Idle thoughts from an addled mind . . .

As much as LeCharles Bentley wants to play for the Browns, one has to wonder how smart it is to risk permanent injury in his desire to come back from knee surgery and serious post-surgery complications.

Now, one can understand the passion and fire that burns within Bentley to play for his hometown team. And one can also understand the frustration that still must haunt him following his freak injury in training camp a year ago.

The big center has been advised by the latest orthopedic surgeon who worked on that knee to "retire, go fishing, live your life." In other words, put football in your past. Become a fan.

Football is not a sport with which to trifle. It's far more than a contact sport. Dancing is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.

Perhaps Benetley strongly believes he owes the Browns something. Perhaps he believes he owes the fans something. Perhaps he really believes he can come all the way back.

And yet, there is a huge risk that he could get hurt again, this time permanently. Might even cripple him. Is it worth that? He says yes. Hopefully, he will have no regrets . . .


Brady Quinn has fired
the first salvo in the pending contract war with the Browns. "I have complete faith in the Browns getting this done," the rookie quarterback told a Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reporter last week. "I'd think they'd want to get me signed if they want me to compete for the starting job."

Great strategy. Put the team on the defensive. If they don't sign me, it's not my fault. I've got complete faith, but if I'm going to come in and compete for the starting job, the correct monetary numbers must be there. Nice.

Won't work . . .


I like what the Browns did
by bringing in Wes Chandler as receivers coach. Chandler is a no-nonsense guy who won't take crap from his guys. And if he can't straighten out the mercurial and loquacious Braylon Edwards, no one can.

Expect Edwards to run his routes correctly and crisper than the last two seasons. Chandler will demand it from him. And if Edwards is smart, he'll listen and play accordingly. That's the only way he has a shot to become a Pro Bowl receiver . . .


Very little was said
when Jerry Rosburg bolted the Browns to become special teams coach in Atlanta. His departure cannot be minimized. The one consistently good facet of the game with the Browns last season was special teams. And Rosburg was the mad chemist.

Ted Daisher replaces Rosburg, an energetic and creative coach who elevated the Browns' special teams to the top tier of the National Football League. Dashier has a very tough act to follow . . .


There are those who believe
the Browns will miss veteran safety Brian Russell. I don't share that feeling. It's time for the Browns to find out whether Brodney Pool can play free safety on an every-day basis. It's time to find out whether his selection in the second round two years ago was correct.

Pool and strong safety Sean Jones, who showed the greatest progress of anyone on the roster last season, have the talent to form one of the NFL's best safety tandems. With Russell on the roster, that wouldn't have been possible . . .


Speaking of the secondary,
everyone is excited about the possibility of second-round pick Eric Wright busting into the starting lineup. But don't rule out the possibility of the Browns starting two youngsters at cornerback.

DeMario Minter is a name to remember. A fifth-round pick last year, he's a tough kid out of Georgia, where he honed his skills in the rugged Southeastern Conference. Solid tackler, needs to work some on his backpedal in man coverage, plays hard. Had his knee scoped before training camp last year and missed the season.

Right now, Leigh Bodden, if healthy, will play opposite Wright. But don't be surprised of Minter offers a strong challenge . . .


How are the Browns
going to stop the run this season? It all depends on the performance of the defensive line and the only upgrade there is Robaire Smith at right end. Orpheus Roye has iffy knees, Ted Washington's best days are long gone, Shaun Smith is a cross-your-fingers kind of guy the Browns are counting on to ultimately supplant Washington and there is no quality depth to speak of.

So once again, how are the Browns going to stop the run this season? If they can't find a way, another long and frustrating season looms . . .


Is Isaac Sowells
another Enoch DeMar? Or is he a legitimate candidate to play guard for the Browns? Sowells (6-3, 325 pounds) and DeMar (6-4, 320) are similar in size and products of Indiana University. That's where the similarities end. DeMar was a free agent and Sowells was drafted in round four last year. DeMar started 13 games as a Brown. Sowells, plagued by injuries, appeared in one game as a rookie.

This year, Sowell has stiff competition for starting status in Seth McKinney and most likely Ryan Tucker if Kevin Shaffer moves over to play right tackle. Tucker is a more effective guard, anyway. If Sowells cracks the starting lineup, then my first meal the next day will feature crow as the main dish . . .


The Browns had better pray
Jamal Lewis remains healthy all season. If they intend to give him 20-25 touches a game, it might take more than prayer to keep him in one piece. It behooves Phil Savage to bring in a veteran running back in case Lewis goes down. If not, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has to tear up a good portion of his playbook . . .


Tim Carter is fast.
No one can argue that point. Might be the fastest guy on the Browns. Looked terrific in OTAs and minicamp. Got some fans excited. Now let's see what the wide receiver does with pads on and defensive backs all over him. Most likely just another case of great feet, lousy hands . . .


Running back Jerome Harrison
is about 20 pounds heavier. Does that make him a better blocker? . . . The offensive line this season will be stronger at pass protection on the left side with Joe Thomas at tackle and Eric Steinbach at guard and run mashers on the right side with McKinney and either Tucker or Shaffer, maybe all three if McKinney can beat out center Hank Fraley . . . Don't worry about Phil Dawson. He'll be fine . . . If Romeo Crennel goes into a coaching shell early on, if he coaches not to lose, it's time to start preparing resumes.


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