Browns postcard (cont.)
On the Menu
The Browns have one of the finest kitchens in sports history. How lucky are these players to have food that's good for you and hand-prepared for three meals a day? I was stunned to hear Edwards say he liked going out for meals. I'd never tire of this food.
Even the breakfast of oatmeal and hash browns, with 100 percent-grape grape juice, was divine, and who would ever think oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar could be anything special? Whoever spices those hash browns, you're doing one heck of a job. Perfection.
Breakfast grade: A.
Looking At The Schedule
"When I first saw the schedule,'' Winslow told me, "I said, 'Damn!' ''
No wonder. Week 1: Dallas on national TV at home. Week 2: Pittsburgh on Sunday night football. Weeks 6 through 8: Giants, at Washington, at Jacksonville. Weeks 14 through 17: at Tennessee, at Philly, Cincinnati, at Pittsburgh.
Cleveland and Pittsburgh have the toughest slates in football, and there's a real possibility that the winner of the AFC North will be 9-7.
Memorable Image From Camp
The beef on the defensive line. Cleveland allowed 4.5 yards per rush last year, and the Browns are determined to play far, far better against the run. To see 325-pound Shaun Smith, 335-pound Corey Williams, 315-pound Robaire Smith and 359-pound Rogers rotating on the line, with Rogers playing the nose, is reason for any Browns fan to think the team has done as much as it could to fix what's been a major ill since the team re-entered the NFL in 1999.
"I don't want to be the whole solution, just part of the solution,'' Rogers said.
He will be if he and Williams, who will play one of the ends in the 3-4, can adjust to the differences of the scheme. You can see, watching practice, that they're still feeling their way. In the 4-3, you spring off the line and attack the line and try to get into the backfield. In the 3-4, Rogers said, "you're a lot more flat-footed'' and you try to occupy blockers, then move forcefully forward. It takes some getting used to, and Williams and Rogers both said it was still a bit of a struggle.
The Browns love wide-eyed and totally raw 22-year-old rookie linebacker Alex Hall, their seventh-round pick from St. Augustine (N.C.). Some in the organization think the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Hall, who's two inches taller and five pounds heavier than Kamerion Wimbley, will eventually be a candidate to rush the pass like Wimbley.
Fantasy Sleeper of Camp: Don't go crazy on Kevin Kasper, but if the season started today, the 30-year-old journeyman would likely be the Browns' third wideout. Forgotten third-year wideout Travis Wilson from Oklahoma made a beautiful sliding catch this morning and will press Kasper for a job.
Willie McGinest thought seriously of retiring in the offseason. He didn't look like the retiring type this morning. At 36, in his 15th training camp, he's spry and quick.
Brady Quinn hasn't accepted being a backup for a year or two more, but he's not going to make noise about it.
Emotional day for cornerback Gary Baxter, who practiced for the first time in 21 months today. Baxter tore two petella tendons on the same play against Denver in October 2006. "You're writing a book out here,'' coach Romeo Crennel told Baxter as he ran painlessly through drills. Talk about a popular player. Baxter is beloved by fans and his teammates like no other Brown.