Offensive Linemen Thinking Big
By Zac Jackson
This report filed June 20, 2003
Browns fans aren't the only ones who enjoyed the
sight of William Green moving the chains and
finding the endzone last season. The Browns'
offensive linemen thought it was pretty cool,
Battling in the trenches can be a thankless job,
but the Browns' linemen say Green blowing up and
the team making the playoffs was plenty reward.
As the 2003 season approaches, the line's goals
include mastering the offense and continuing to
"Now, we're correcting little things," Shaun
O'Hara said. "Everybody has the system down.
Everybody knows where to go and who to block.
Getting down to the little details breeds
confidence and everybody on the offense is very
confident in what we can do."
Said Ryan Tucker: "Protections, calls.we're a
long way ahead of where we were last year."
Browns Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians said
starting LT Ross Verba "has worked his tail off"
this offseason and sees "good competition" among
the line as a whole.
"I really like how Jeff Faine is coming along,"
Arians said. "The competition at guard and
everywhere else is good--really good. I think
that within our interior we have the ability to
be very athletic and we have the ability to be
Faine, the Browns' first round draft pick in
April, is almost a lock to start at center. He
replaces Dave Wohlabaugh, who was released in
February and is now with St. Louis.
"Faine has come in and done a nice job," Tucker
said. "He's a smart kid, he wants to learn, and
"He is such a great competitor and he loves
football," Browns Head Coach Butch Davis said.
"He is a football junkie. Rookies that take that
attitude, they tend to come along pretty
PAYING THEIR DUES
Tucker, a team captain last season, his first in
Cleveland, thinks a winning attitude can be
"Everybody got a taste last year of what this
team can do," Tucker said. "And now we've got
what this team needs: high goals. It's hard to
set high goals and set a bar if you've never
tasted that (playoff) blood. This team has been
there and we can't wait to get back."
Said O'Hara: "We know how last year ended, and we
know we want to go further this season. And it
doesn't start in September. It starts in February
and March, and guys have really taken the
Tucker is one of seven players honored by the
coaching staff for extraordinary effort and
contribution throughout the offseason. He says
he's quicker, stronger, and hungry for a run deep
into the playoffs.
"I played at about 315 (pounds) last year and I'm
about 330 right now," he said. "I just cleaned up
a lot of things. I got a dietician, I'm taking 63
vitamins a day, and I'm eating right. I've
cleaned up my lifestyle all the way around and
I'm refocused. I'm ready to go."
The development of mammoth second-year player
Qasim Mitchell provides quality depth and
competition at the guard position. Mitchell spent
last year on injured-reserve after being
hospitalized in training camp with a punctured
lung and broken rib.
"Obviously, it was good to have Qasim for the
year last year," Davis said. "The downside to it
is the fact that, obviously, from a football
skill level, he got no better. Being on injured
reserve, his football skills didn't make any kind
"He came in here last year a very, very raw
football player from a small-college background,
and so he's the kind of guy that it's tiny little
baby steps. I mean, everyday, hopefully he's
getting better. He's got fascinating raw
potential. It will be interesting to see what
kind of training camp that he has."
"I like his upside," Arians said. "I think that
he brings something to the table. He showed us
right away, he had something inside of him that
he wanted to be good. He's a huge young man.
(Now) he's about 360, 370, but he ain't fat
anymore. He's a big boy."
a stronger, more confident O-line can only mean one thing...
Run William Run!!!