By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Photo/John H. Reid III
Readers of Hey Tony were a little puzzled by the addition of QB Brian Hoyer and wonder if Jason Campbell will be given a fair shot at the starting job currently held by Brandon Weeden. OTAs are in full swing and Browns also wonder about the state of the guard and safety positions.
Hey Tony: Do you think there may be rift or, at the very least, a serious disagreement between the coaching staff and the front office over Hoyer? He's not the prototype to run Turner's offense and Turner's very public statements in support of Brandon Weeden after Hoyer's arrival can't have been well received by the front office. Or do you think the front office could pressure the coaching staff into using Hoyer even if he doesn't fit their mold? Thoughts?
-- Paul, Seattle, WA
Hey Paul: It’s not unusual for a front office to bring a player to a team that is not necessarily the pick of the coaching staff. At this point, I don’t see a problem. I don’t expect Hoyer to be forced into a role not approved by the coaching staff. He is part of the competition and we will see how it unfolds.
Hey Tony: With the NFL moving the draft to increase their year-round presence, why not move the first preseason game to late May early June. If spread out over a few weekends, all games could be televised nationally. To prevent veteran injuries (who rarely play in the first preseason game anyway), the game could be open to draft picks, rookie free agents and try out players. This would be a great evaluation tool of the rookies and a chance to see try out players in game conditions (the tryouts benefit from being on film for the other teams as well).
-- Bill, Akron, OH
Hey Bill: My guess is that coaches, especially those in their first years with a team, don’t feel ready to stage a game – even an exhibition game – that early in the calendar. At that point, coaches are still exposing their offenses and defenses to their new teams. They likely feel their time is better spent on the practice field. Plus, who would buy a ticket to such an early team scrimmage?
Hey Tony: I purchased this play back internet package that will play back NFL games from up to 4 yrs. The guy I was interested in was Jason Campbell. The back half of his first year in Oakland and his second year in Oakland before he got hurt was very impressive. He's big at 6'5", has a really strong arm, can run effectively, (but would prefer to throw the ball)has good acuracy on his short and long passes but the thing that really impressed me about Jason Campbell was his ability to see the field and find the open receiver. Jason was very effective throwing to his backs and tight ends when it was obvious they weren't his first target. He did have a lot of talent around him but with his vision and accuracy those Raiders could really put some points on the board. I think it was the Denver game the Raiders had close to 60 points. What are your thoughts on Jason Campbell?
-- Greg, Middletown OH
Hey Greg: I happened to be in attendance at Campbell’s last game as a Raiders starting quarterback in 2011. He had piloted the Raiders to a 4-2 start before having his collarbone broken in a collision with Browns linebackers Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong. A true career-changing injury for him. Campbell’s career has been marred by constant change in coordinators and systems going back to his college years at Auburn. He has a lot of fine qualities, but I just think he would have emerged as a consistent winner by now if it was going to happen for him.
Hey Tony: What is the point of moving the draft back another couple weeks? This being the NFL, I am trying to figure out how they plan to spin this to make more money, but I don't see it. What I am seeing is another 2-3 weeks of ridiculous mock drafts, both hyping and trashing guys. Over the years, the media prognosticators have gotten really good at saying both good and bad about every player so they can claim credit for predicting their success or failure. If anything, move the up to the week after the Masters.
-- David, Joelton, TN
Hey David: Reports of moving the draft to the middle of May have not received good reviews inside and outside the NFL. Oftentimes, the league floats major changes through the media, gauges the reaction and then changes its mind. This one, however, seems like an inevitability. I’m at a loss to explain the reason why, other than to create an event for the otherwise quiet NFL month of May.
Hey, Tony: How much of this offense and defense is being built around the abilities of the players – individually or as a group? I always thought that the coaches who taught their “system” were actually just admitting that they did not really know how to coach the game. Smart coaching works with the talent it has and designs its playbook around that, I should think. Considering the faster pace that these coaches wish to play, is a real “no huddle” play book being installed? It seems an effective weapon, especially when facing some defensive personnel alignments between second and third downs. Thanks.
-- Dennis, Akron, OH
Hey Dennis: In this case, we have the 2007 Browns season as an example of Rob Chudzinski’s previous work on offense. I don’t know anyone who would argue that that wasn’t one of the Browns’ most prolific and productive offenses in the last 30 years. Defensively, Ray Horton meshes with the front office’s belief that everything revolves around pressuring the quarterback and that stopping the run is a secondary objective. The major shift in philosophy v. the defense already in place forced several personnel changes. The pressure really is on Horton and his defense, and pressure is what he intends to bring.
Hey Tony: Excellent OpEd on OC Turner on Monday, in particular at this point of the OTAs. Were you surprised with most experts assumed staring OGs exchange of positions between Lauvao and Greco ? Does this have to do with Lauvao needing to be between All Pros LT Thomas and C Mack to improve his game for Turner’s Run Blacking scheme? With a lot of Free Agency and Draft talk about the Browns needing better OGs to have the dominate O Line in the NFL given their Starting LT/C/RT, I would welcome your summary of how Turner and his Staff are approaching the Starting OG needs in the OTAs, as well as the O Line Depth Chart.
-- Alan, Manassas, VA
|John Greco Photo/Getty|
Hey Alan: I think there are experiments going on at OTAs at several positions. Seeing the guards at different spots is a good thing. Some of that had to do with Jason Pinkston getting limited reps during his early return after suffering a blood clot in a lung in 2012. I think the coaches are looking for more athleticism at the guard position, as they need the guards to pull on occasion. I’m not sure how it will wind up, but something tells me John Greco will be in the starting lineup at the end.
Hey Tony: One of the more intriguing reports - in my opinion - that I've heard coming out of OTAs is that Chudzinski and Horton are giving Johnson Bademosi a look at the free safety spot. He's certainly got the motor to cause some disruption in the secondary, and as a corner by trade his coverage skills should be respectable. Do you think there's a realistic chance that Bademosi could make noteworthy contributions at free safety in 2013, or am I just desperately searching for a diamond in the rough?
-- Josh, Bethesda, MD
Hey Josh: Bademosi’s physical traits and work and study habits are intriguing to the new coaches. I am planning an update on Bademosi very soon. He is being given an opportunity to challenge Tashaun Gipson at free safety and could work his way into much more playing time on defense.
Hey Tony: Has the new Browns regime given any indication as to whether or not they'll continue with the Ring of Honor program?
-- Terry, Westlake, OH
Hey Terry: There has been no indication of any new induction. I think it’s going to take another year, at least, for the new regime to resume the Ring of Honor because of other pressing issues.
Hey Tony: Free safety is still an area of need for us. Why not take a 1 or 2 year flier on Kerry Rhodes? He played under Ray Horton in Arizona and is only 30.
-- Robert, Paso Robles, CA
Hey Robert: The Browns are more intrigued with young safeties Gipson and Bademosi. Since Horton had Rhodes in Arizona, I feel it is a stinging commentary that the Browns elected not to pursue him.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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