Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Gossi
Extra Points …
Recap: In the first part of our interview, Brad Childress talked about his mindset in joining the Browns as offensive coordinator after year out of the NFL, about calling plays on offense and whether he wants to return to the head coaching ranks.
Now we get into his observations about the offense that he inherited.
I suppose your first project upon accepting the job was to evaluate the quarterback position. What did you see in Colt McCoy?
“You know what you’re always looking for? You’re always looking for … do you have the quarterback, do you have the quarterback, do you have the quarterback? Because if you don’t have one, you’re always looking for one. I wouldn’t have ventured after one year to say this is what it is. Guys get better one lap around the track. But you need competition at that position too.
“Colt? Just a little bit erratic. You always want to know what kind of standard of performance you’re gonna get every time you step out of the gate. Does it mean a guy won’t have a stinker every now and then? No, that’s gonna happen. I always believe this, people have to play around the quarterback. Always the litmus in this league is going to be: Can the guy put a game on his back and win it all by himself? In terms of the quarterback. Could Colt have done that last year? No. But again you have to play around the quarterback. You’ve got to have people to help you along.”
Were you involved in the decision to acquire another quarterback?
“Sure. Are you on board with that? Yeah, a thousand percent. Yep.”
Your thoughts on Brandon Weeden?
“(I was asked) what do you think of the guy? Is he worth this? Can he do that? We all know the issues in terms of age. Those things aren’t coming off the board. But he’s got all the skills and faculties to be able to play this position in the National Football League.”
Now that you’ve seen your guys a little on the field in OTAs and minicamp, how would you size up the offense?
“I see pieces that … what’s the old Bear Bryant thing? Everyone is useful, no one is necessary. I see a (Mohamed) Massaquoi can have a better year, just by being out here now. I think that’s a talented individual. Greg Little, when you talk about playing 91 percent of the snaps as a rookie, to me that’s like an eye-opener. That’s hard to do, and that’s double hard to do to me when you didn’t play your senior year, and to be a productive guy. I think we’ve got great competition at the running back spot. Trent (Richardson’s) record speaks for itself. But you didn’t get to see a Brandon Jackson last year, who’s had a really nice string of practices in camp here, if he can stay healthy. I see Montario Hardesty being as healthy as they tell me he’s been since he’s been here. I see (Chris) Ogbonnaya, as a backup running back, you’ve got to play special teams and be able to get in there on a snap and function without having got a whole helluva lot of turns.
“I like the tight end group. It’s an interesting group. The addition of Jordan Cameron gives you some speed, some athleticism. Kind of a different guy. Does he have to grow? Absolutely. When somebody punches him in throat, how’s he going to be?”
Everyone assumes throw, throw, throw in the West Coast offense. Talk about the impact Richardson might have this year.
“I think Mike (Holmgren) ran a little bit more than given credit for. In Green Bay, he had some really good runners. The old West Coast, so many people have taken it in different directions. You kind of go with what you’ve got. Does it mean it’s forbidden to run the football? No. If you’ve got a good runner, you’re crazy not to hand it to him. That’s an explosive guy. They can use explosive plays here. It’s hard to go 13 plays down the field. Somewhere you’ve got to get a plus-12 (yard) run or a plus-16 pass.
Everyone is anxious to see Richardson perform when the pads are on.
“To me, he’s one of the more outstanding people in the draft that didn’t play quarterback. This guy doesn’t give you a lot of surface to hit him on. He’s got extraordinary balance. Sometimes the height thing is an advantage from the standpoint all those lineman are 6-7, 6-4, 6-5. People can’t see him coming at you and all of sudden he squirts through a hole and it’s hard to square on him. I don’t think we have an appreciation of him until we put on the pads and all of a sudden you go, “Wooo … wooo.”
Is he a three-down back?
“You’d like him to be. Can he be right out of the box? Remains to be seen. I know this, he’ll step up in pass protection and knock them dead. He ain’t bashful. I saw it at Alabama. I don’t know that anybody would get any more of the inside than Pat (Shurmur), who worked with (Alabama coach) Nick (Saban). The tape verifies it. The tape backs it up.”
You’re taking over an offense that ranked 30th in points, scoring 13.6 per game. How much can it improve this year?
“We were terrible in Philadelphia our first year. And then we went to the playoffs every year after that. It doesn’t have to stay that way. Here, they have a stronger defense, which bodes well for you. Would I like to score 29 points a game? Yeah Usually you’d like to say you can win games in the NFL if you can score three touchdowns and one field goal. And if you do that, you’re gonna win a helluva lot of games. We’re trying to get it one brick at a time. I don’t think there’s any doubt we’ll be improved. And I’m excited about it.”
|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 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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