Training camp postcard: Browns
Posted: Sunday July 29, 2007 10:08PM; Updated: Monday July 30, 2007 10:14PM
In Berea, Ohio, the longtime home of the Browns, just south of the Cleveland airport. Following the custom of many teams these days, the Browns hold their training camp at their permanent practice facility and configure their practice field with a big tent for the sponsors on one side and some bleachers for the fans on another. Today, there were about 2,500 fans watching their beloved Browns on a humid, 80-degree afternoon. There was only one practice today.
Five Things I Think
1. I think the Brady Quinn holdout is one of the dumbest holdouts in NFL history. And that's really saying something, given the idiocy of some of these work stoppages we've seen recently. The Browns and Tom Condon, Quinn's agent, have just about reached an agreement on the overall dollars and package -- now it's haggling over guarantees, many of which Quinn is going to receive regardless of how well or poorly he does, since this team is not going to cut the golden boy quarterback after a crummy year or two. Sometimes holdouts make sense, sometimes they're stupid. This one is definitely the latter.
2. I think the most impressive person in this camp has got to be running back Jamal Lewis. Not only is the guy in ridiculously good shape after a second ankle surgery in two years, he is mentally strong. He is also highly motivated to show the Ravens they made a mistake when they let him go in free agency following the season. "And," he told me after practice this afternoon, "I weigh 239, not 251 or 252, like I used to. This is the best I've felt in a long time."
3. I think the Browns are counting heavily on second-round cornerback Eric Wright, who has covered very, very well in the opening days of camp.
4. I think it's hard to come to this training camp and watch this team practice, and see the fans hang on every long spiral, without thinking: Wouldn't it be great if the Browns started winning again? I can't think of a town that deserves it more.
5. I think the Browns still have no idea what they're going to do at quarterback. Derek Anderson is probably in the lead for the opening-day start; but no one is fooled into thinking he'll be able to hold Quinn off for very long -- if the Golden Domer gets here before Christmas.
Did You Know?
Owner Randy Lerner greeted me in the cafeteria at the Browns' complex wearing a "Browns Backers of Sri Lanka" T-shirt. They're everywhere, those Browns fans. And I mean everywhere.
Insider Fantasy Tip
I know I've been accused in years past of screwing up fantasy drafts from coast to coast with idiotic suggestions, like my Danny Wuerffel recommendation a few years ago. But you can take this one to the bank: Jamal Lewis is going to run for 1,300 yards or my name is Lou Groza. This is a perfect place for him. A place that has just spent $40 million in guarantees on a drive-blocking left guard and left tackle, Eric Steinbach and Joe Thomas, respectively, a place with a coach (Romeo Crennel) who is dying to run the ball 55 to 60 percent of the snaps. In my opinion, 1,300 yards is the low end for Lewis.