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Savage's Presser: QBs, Draft, and More

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Browns general manager Phil Savage met with the media yesterday to discuss the state of the Browns. Over at the OBR, Fred Greetham has a very nice transcript available for those interested in digesting the whole thing. Here are my personal notes/thoughts from what Savage had to say:

  1. Satisfied: Overall, the organization is satisfied with the team's 2007-2008 season. A fair gauge is not to look at what could have been (playoffs), but a comparison to the team's expectations heading into the season. The consensus I recall is that the Browns needed at least seven wins, and we needed to win two of our three home divisional games. Well, we went three wins over our goal, and although we lost twice to the Steelers, we still went .500 in the division.
  2. Tough Schedule: Savage didn't deny that the Browns have a tough schedule next season. But, because our entire division has nearly the same schedule, you can void those type of excuses when it comes to a division title.
  3. Top Free Agent Priorities: Getting Derek Anderson and Jamal Lewis signed. Negotiations will begin no later than the start of next week.
  4. Anderson Situation: Getting a first and a third round pick for him is tempting, but unless we're about to get a top-5 pick in the draft, it'll be difficult for the front office to let him go. Savage feels that the expectations were set a little too high in the second half of the season for Anderson, because after all, this is the "same" quarterback that people wanted to see cut before the start of the season (in other words, he's still growing). The team would also hate to get rid of Anderson, only to see Brady Quinn suffer an injury, and force us into a season of pain at the quarterback position.
  5. Savage's Endorsement: "I think Brady is a team player and I think we would have to play out next season and see where it goes. I think Derek gets the first bite out of the apple as we take the field. That's a coaches decision, but I think he deserves to come into the season as the starter."
  6. Free Agents on DL: When asked how he thought the free agent additions to the defensive line did, Savage merely stated that both Smiths did a good job. Just from the general tone of the rest of the press conference, I'd get a vibe that it's the position that needs to be worked on this offseason (and rightfully so).
  7. Free Agency: Savage said the Browns want to be active in the free agent market again this season. Last year, the Browns made a splash with the signings of Eric Steinbach and Jamal Lewis. Moderate signings included Antwan Peek and Robaire Smith.
  8. April's Draft: Although the Browns draft 53rd in April's draft, Savage has instructed his scouts to draft as if the team had all of their draft picks. While it's not a surprise that the front office would say/do that, you also have to wonder if it indicates the Browns have some sort of plan to move up if there is a player they covet still on the board. Also, Savage did not rule out trading his 2009 first-round draft pick if he feels he's able to get one of the top-15 players on his board.
  9. Bye McKinney: The Browns were pleased with how their offensive line looked at the end of the season, and Seth McKinney is a free agent. Don't bank on the team brining him back.
  10. Surgeries: Joe Jurevicius had his knee scoped and Antwan Peek also had something done to his knee. Kellen Winslow is waiting to decide on whether or not to have surgery, possibly based on whether or not he makes the Pro Bowl as an alternate.
Coming soon, I'll have a look at all of the Browns' free agents and whether or not we should re-sign them.