Browns observations

Jason Cole
Yahoo! SportsAugust 9, 2006

More Browns: Into the Frye-ing pan

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Browns are being cautiously optimistic about the return of tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. and wide receiver Braylon Edwards, the high picks from the 2004 and 2005 drafts who have been dogged by injuries.

Winslow, the No. 6 overall pick two years ago, has been practicing all of training camp and said his right knee is getting used to the pounding of football again. Winslow injured the knee during a motorcycle accident in the 2005 offseason.

"Some days are better than others," he said. "Some days it's 100 percent, some days not."

Winslow, who was considered one of the most gifted tight ends to ever come out of the college ranks, said that he can functionally do all of the moves that he did before the injury, such as bending to make fluid cuts. During practices, Winslow looked sharp at times, but there was a sideline route that he couldn't accelerate to catch up to the ball during one practice.

Winslow has impressed the organization with his growing maturity. He got married to his childhood sweetheart in June, and during a recent interview, he was exceptionally polite and cordial after being known as somewhat moody.

The most important part is that Winslow, 23, still seems driven to be the best and follow in the footsteps of his Hall of Fame father.

"I wanted to be the best since I picked up a football and that's never going to change," the younger Winslow said. "If you're not trying to be the best, you shouldn't go out on the field."

  • As for Edwards, he started practicing against defenders this week as part of his rehabilitation from Jan. 3 knee surgery. While he won't play in the first exhibition game or two, Edwards took a very important stride in his recovery Sunday when he caught a slant pass in traffic.

A huge key to Edwards' game is the ability to run through the teeth of the defense. A big part of that is the confidence in your body to go through the traffic and Edwards appears to have regained that already.

  • Barring some significant change, the Browns have no interest in signing veteran quarterback Kerry Collins. The issue with Collins is two-fold.

First, Collins is a pocket passer who doesn't stand in particularly well against a heavy pass rush. Given that Cleveland has already lost Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley and backup Bob Hallen has back problems, the Browns will need someone who is a tad more athletic.

Second, Collins, while with the Raiders, played poorly in a game against Cleveland last season, completing only 14 of 30 passes for 132 yards in a 9-7 Oakland loss. Collins' play left the Browns' coaching staff decidedly unimpressed.

  • The Cleveland defense is shaping up quite nicely. In particular, rookie linebackers Kamerion Wimbley and D'Qwell Jackson, the team's first- and second-round picks, respectively, look like they'll be ready to start right away. Combined with five-year veteran Andra Davis and 13-year veteran Willie McGinest, the Browns could quickly have one of the best 3-4 linebacking groups in the NFL.