"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. In today's edition, I take a look back at where we would normally be in our posting schedule if it weren't for the lockout, and some other headlines from this past week.
We'll talk about the lockout a little bit more later today. For now, it is fitting again to take a look back at where we would have been at this time last year on DBN. At this time last year, I started my first "training camp preview" post of the summer, featuring the Cleveland Browns' top two quarterbacks, Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. Unfortunately, it is difficult to do those previews in the same manner this year. The exciting part of many of the articles, at least to me while I was composing, would involve the undrafted free agents or low-key veteran free agents. Getting to know more about those players before training camp started made it easier to root for the unknown players in camp since I had a good understanding of their backstory.
We might be set on two of our three quarterbacks this season, but there is too much uncertainty. I just don't see Jake Delhomme accepting a role as a third-string quarterback at a reduced rate this year, but you never know. Mike Holmgren indicated before the draft that he wants a developmental quarterback on the team (not referring to a starter). There are a lot of undrafted free agents Holmgren will surely have his eye on. Or he could spend a pick in next year's draft to get Terrelle Pryor (I'll pass).
We are already past the typical first day of mandatory mini-camp. Last year, the first day of mandatory mini-camp took place on June 10. Peyton Hillis seemed like an afterthought at this time last year. He missed mini-camp with an illness, and the presumed starter, Jerome Harrison, decided to attend rather than hold out. He needed to show up to fend off competition from Montario Hardesty. What a difference a year makes, as Hillis is a fan favorite and on the cover of Madden, Hardesty didn't get to play last season due to injury, and Harrison will be a free agent pickup for someone this offseason as a backup.
We jump started our free agent reviews again this week with veteran defensive end Robaire Smith. 78% of fans think the Browns should try to retain Smith, and I agree with the majority. He didn't receive quite as much support as Jayme Mitchell did, but I think there is a good chance Smith will return next year unless the team finds out he is not as healthy as the doctors indicated. We are giving D'Qwell Jackson a shot to come back and start, and Smith fits the bill as a potentially bargain player who can get the job done.
Lastly, I wanted to draw attention to a comment that was made by burntorangeandbrown in our post about the Browns' third offensive mini-camp. He listed the facilities where other teams are practicing, compared to the Browns mostly using Colt McCoy's alma-mater. Here it is:
Falcons: (a public park)
Lions: Detroit Country Day School
Bengals: “somewhere in the Cincinnati area”
49rs: “an undisclosed gym”
Panthers: Charlotte Christian High School
Ravens: Towson State University
Cowboys “an undisclosed location”
Titans: Father Ryan High School
Jaguars: Atlantic Coast High School
Eagles: “a remote location in South Jersey”
Redskins: Northern Virginia high school
Bills: “Sahlen’s Sports Park” in Elma
Chiefs a Kansas City area high school
Raiders Buford High School in Buford, Georgia
Jets: “an undisclosed location in New Jersey”
Giants: Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey
Rams: Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO, then “in the Phoenix area”(?)
Vikings: “IMG football academy” in Bradenton, Fla.
Bears: “an undisclosed high school field”