Will the Browns Get Wild?

Will the Browns Get Wild?

The acquisition of Seneca Wallace could mean interesting options for the Browns offense. Read about that, and a recap of the critical Browns news of the last week, below...

There could be some wild times on offense for the Browns this season. Or maybe that should be Wildcat times with Josh Cribbs and Seneca Wallace on the same roster.

Wallace and Cribbs are both quarterbacks at heart, but in the NFL Wallace had much more opportunity to fill that role as a backup to Matt Hasselbeck the last five years. The Browns last month traded a conditional seventh-round draft pick to the Seahawks for Wallace.

Cribbs was a quarterback at Kent State before signing with the Browns as an undrafted rookie in 2005. He never got close to backup quarterback status with the Browns; his role on offense has been mostly as a receiver.

But with the advent of the Wildcat offense, Cribbs' role expanded last year. And now with Cribbs and Wallace on the same team, coach Eric Mangini says there could be plays when Wallace and Cribbs are on the field together with no other quarterback in the huddle. Opponents would not know which player would be the quarterback until the Browns got to the line of scrimmage.

"I haven't dreamt about it, but I have thought about it and I think that'd be good," Mangini said. "Both guys can throw the ball. Both guys can run with the ball. We may want to run the option. You can do a lot of things with guys like that. It creates problems defensively.

"Seneca's primary position is going to be quarterback. That's where we want him to play, but he's a competitor and like Josh, he wants to do whatever he can to play football. His primary goal is to get on the field in whatever capacity. You do have to make those decisions if he is the two, how many of those plays are you willing to live with and roll the dice on."

Wallace and Jake Delhomme are competing to be the starter. Delhomme is 35. He suffered a season-ending elbow injury in 2007 after three games and had his 2009 season cut short by five games because of a broken finger.

Mangini wouldn't keep Wallace in mothballs just in case Delhomme is injured, but he isn't likely to wear out the surprise of a Wallace-Cribbs Wildcat, either.

Team president Mike Holmgren knows Wallace better than anyone in the Browns organization because he coached Wallace in Seattle.

"He'll do all sorts of great stuff," Holmgren said. "In talking with coach about it, he sees Seneca's value that way. The problem I had, and it's the problem Eric's going to have too, if he is your second quarterback, and your third quarterback is some young guy or someone you don't think is really ready. It's hard to play him a lot doing other things. That was the dilemma I had.

"I would have loved to have put him out there more. He practiced a fair amount at other positions. Whenever I put him in the game he did really wonderful things catching the ball as a wide receiver. Just about every time you threw to him, something good would happen."

For now Brett Ratliff is the Browns' third quarterback. That is likely to change when the Browns draft a quarterback.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Browns have invited Bruce Campbell, a tackle from Maryland, to their facility for a pre-draft visit. Campbell is projected as a first-round pick, but he is not expected to be taken as high as the Browns are picking. They currently have the seventh spot.

--Defensive back Mike Adams and tight end Robert Royal recently were among 77 NFL players taking part in the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

"I think all the players should do that," said Adams. "I thought it was a good look, very informative and I took away a lot. I'd definitely recommend it."

The annual program is part of an NFL-NFL Players Association initiative to assist players to prepare for their post-playing careers. The program began in 2005. Since then 502 players have participated.

--Geoff Sindelar, a fixture on Cleveland sports talk radio from 1991-97, passed away last week after suffering a stroke. Sindelar was always in tune with the NFL draft. Even after being off the air for more than 10 years, he would pop up on various shows at this time of the year to voice his opinion on what the Browns should do.

--The Browns will play three of their four preseason games against teams from the NFC North. They open their exhibition season in Green Bay and then host the Rams from the NFC West then get back to the NFC North with a game in Detroit. This is the ninth straight year the Browns and Lions meet in the preseason.

The preseason ends with a game against the Bears. Exact dates and times will be announced later this month.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think for one, I'm optimistic, I'm a glass half-full guy. Two, it's a fresh start for me. That's what I'm excited about." -- Jake Delhomme on why he thinks he can restart his career with the Browns.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

James Davis says he is 100 percent healthy after a shoulder injury in practice last September ended his rookie season after just two games. Davis will be competing with Peyton Hillis and Chris Jennings to back up Jerome Harrison.

"The rehab process went really (well)," Davis told Clevelandbrowns.com. "Right now, I made this my hardest offseason that I ever had because I'm making a comeback. I'm trying to get as strong as possible, stronger than I've ever been before. I know it's going to take a lot of work this offseason to get there and that's what I'm doing right now, working as hard as I can. Right now, I'm 100 percent, but I'm only getting stronger."

Davis gained 15 yards on nine carries before being injured.

TEAM NEEDS

1. Safety: This position is very thin on the current roster. Abe Elam, the starting strong safety last season, is a restricted free agent whom the Browns have given a second-round tender. Mike Furrey, who played some safety last year, is unrestricted. Brodney Pool signed with the Jets through free agency. The Browns could package draft picks for Eric Berry in the draft or hope he falls to them with the seventh pick.

2. Cornerback: The Browns need to upgrade right cornerback. Brandon McDonald started 10 games there last year, but he was benched three times for a total of six games. Browns G.M. Tom Heckert says Joe Haden might be the best cornerback in the draft. Haden could be available when the Browns pick seventh.

3. Wide receiver: This isn't as pressing as safety or cornerback, but if Jake Delhomme doesn't get another weapon he might end up regretting his decision to sign with the Browns. Team president Mike Holmgren said he wants a receiver with speed to complement Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie and Josh Cribbs.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--WR/DB Mike Furrey was valuable because he could play both sides of the ball, but the Browns won't break the bank to re-sign him.

--TE Michael Gaines was one of three tight ends signed after the season started. He won't be back unless the Browns can get him at a bargain price.

--CB Hank Poteat is a player opposing quarterbacks picked on constantly. His pass-interference penalty with no time left caused the Browns to lose in Detroit. He will not be back.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)

--*S Abe Elam (tendered at $1.759M with second-round pick as compensation) led the Browns in tackles, but he wasn't the game-changer they hoped he would be. The Browns are very thin at safety, though, so they are not likely to let him go.

--*RB Jerome Harrison (tendered at $1.759M with second-round pick as compensation) could end up as the Browns' starter in 2010 after rushing for 561 yards in the last three games if they are willing to pay him enough.

--*LB D'Qwell Jackson (tendered at $1.759M with second-round pick as compensation) led the NFL in tackles in 2008. A pectoral tear in the sixth game ended his 2009 season.

--*LB Matt Roth (tendered at $1.809M with second-round pick as compensation) was claimed on waivers from the Dolphins on Nov. 25. He started all six games he played for the Browns and was a boost to their pass rush.

--*FB Lawrence Vickers (tendered at $1.759M with second-round pick as compensation) was the lead blocker for Harrison's fantastic finish in 2009. If the Browns want to be a running team they have to re-sign Vickers.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--LB Marcus Benard: ERFA; terms unknown.

--LB Blake Costanzo: ERFA; terms unknown.

--TE Greg Estandia: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.

--RB Chris Jennings: ERFA; terms unknown.

--LB Jason Trusnik: RFA (tendered at $1.684M with second-round pick as compensation); $1.684M/1 yr.

--FS Raymond Ventrone: Not tendered as RFA; $2.2M/3 yrs.

--C/G Billy Yates: UFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--QB Jake Delhomme: FA Panthers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

--LB Scott Fujita: UFA Saints; $14M/3 yrs, $8M guaranteed.

--FB Peyton Hillis (Trade Broncos).

--OT Tony Pashos: UFA 49ers; $10.3M/3 yrs, $4.5M guaranteed.

--QB Seneca Wallace (trade Seahawks).

--TE Benjamin Watson: UFA Patriots; $12M/3 yrs, $6.25M guaranteed.

PLAYERS LOST

--C Hank Fraley (released).

--G Rex Hadnot: UFA Cardinals; $9M/3 yrs.

--TE Steve Heiden (released).

--RB Jamal Lewis (released).

--*S Brodney Pool: Not tendered as RFA/Jets; $1.3M/1 yr.

--QB Brady Quinn (traded).

--WR Donte' Stallworth (released).

--OL Ryan Tucker: UFA; retired and will be on league suspension for first eight games of the 2010 season.

--DE Corey Williams (traded Lions).

--LB Kamerion Wimbley (traded Raiders).

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