Here's what's happening today that may be newsworthy to those of you with orange and brown in your blood...
It seems like Romeo Crennel wanted to add some competition for Lawrence Vickers after all. The Browns signed free agent fullback J.R. Niklos to a deal, after spending the past three seasons with the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe. This past spring, Niklos had 38 carries for 136 yards, a 3.57 yards-per-carry average. He also ran for one touchdown.
Niklos first entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2002. It appears that the only time he was on an active roster came during a brief stint with the St. Louis Rams in September of 2002. After that, he has spent most or all of his time as a free agent or a practice squad player on teams such as the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. Niklos has reportedly been a fan of wrestling all his life, and has practice the sport before.
In other news, Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga had this to say about not selecting quarterback Brady Quinn:On Cameron not drafting Brady Quinn: "I knew on Wednesday [before the draft] he wasn't going to take Brady Quinn. He told me why he wasn't going to take him, but he said, 'if you tell me to take him, I will.' I said, 'No I'd never do that. You guys pick the guys.' That was their plan. I've got to give him all the credit in the world. They could have taken the easy way out and made the popular decision. He had the courage and nerve to stand up and do it. I think that was an aggressive thing to do. He knew they were going to get bashed. He did the right thing, rather than the popular thing. It takes a lot of courage, I wish some of our political leaders would do that. ... I give him all the credit."If Cam Cameron felt that strongly about not taking Quinn, then Ted Ginn Jr. better pay off for them. Although they did select quarterback John Beck, a flourishing career for Quinn in Cleveland added with dismal drops by Ginn would haunt Miami fans forever.
Mike Harmon of FOXSports reviewed the AFC North's offseason moves. I always know that people that aren't Browns fans have difficulty understanding all of our positional strengths and weaknesses, but this portion of Harmon's article seemed a little off to me:The team lost several members of the defense, most notably three members of the secondary (Brian Russell and Ralph Brown to the Seahawks and Cardinals, respectively, and Daylon McCutcheon failed his physical). Cleveland replaced them with Mike Adams from San Francisco and Kenny Wright from Washington.We did not replace Russell or McCutcheon with these guys. I can't say the same for poor old Ralph Brown, because quite frankly, I think Adams and Wright will play to about the same level that he did. In reality, the Browns are replacing Russell with promising safety Brodney Pool (and possibly even Gary Baxter. McCutcheon didn't even play last year, so saying that we are replacing him is not really a fair statement - however we did receive a possible upgrade in the second round of the draft with cornerback Eric Wright.
Finally, in John Clayton's ESPN report from yesterday, he mentions his top five questions heading into training camp. The Browns top the list at No. 1:1. Can Romeo Crennel turn the Browns into a winner?Overall, this seems like a fair assessment from Clayton. The cornerback certainly remains a major issue, due to the fact that we're depending on the rehabs of Leigh Bodden and Baxter going smoothly, as well as Wright living up to his potential.
No coach has more pressure on him than Crennel. He can't afford to get off to a slow start. The Browns' bye week is after Week 6, but his season and future will be determined in September. The team's first four games are AFC North home games and a potentially winnable game against the Raiders. Going 2-2 might not be good enough.
Even though Derek Anderson might appear a little more efficient running practices, Charlie Frye will be the starting quarterback. Frye has the confidence of Braylon Edwards and the returning starters, and any little bit of confidence is important.
Still, during camp -- regardless of whether Brady Quinn holds out -- Crennel has to develop the team's first-round quarterback. Making everything tougher is the new offense being installed. Lots of balls hit the ground during minicamp. Crennel has to break in a new running back, Jamal Lewis. He has to get the most out of a defense that has trouble stopping the run. The Browns have major question marks at cornerback.