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Holmgren Shares His Thoughts as Training Camp Closes In

Browns’ president Mike Holmgren (with a cast on his right foot from recent surgery) addressed the media today on many topics, but mainly addressed the upcoming training camp. Veterans will be in camp starting on Saturday for the beginning of two-a-day practices that will be open to the general public.

Holmgren stated that he gets very excited every year around this time because the possibilities are endless. He also stated that he is looking forward to seeing this improved football team compete. He got a positive vibe out of the o.t.a.’s and mini-camp especially in the quarterback position.

Right now Jake Delhomme is slated to be the number one guy behind center with Seneca Wallace in the number two spot. He said that Delhomme is a “fine” player with some past success and a natural leader who has worked very hard on the offense so far.

Wallace is expected to also be used in other capacities besides the quarterback position. Third round draft pick Colt McCoy and veteran Brett Ratliff round out the rest of the q.b.’s the Browns have in camp. Holmgren said, “If everyone plays the way they are expected to, then everything will fall in line”. When addressing the defensive secondary he said that they brought in the rookies to compete for jobs right away, and there should be some good competition between them and the veterans when training camp begins.

The Browns go into camp with three players on the physically unable to perform list in defensive lineman C.J. Mosley, defensive back Coye Francies, and nose tackle Shaun Rogers. He stated that at some point during camp they all should be able to pass a physical and start practicing.

When asked about the league possibly punishing Rogers for his concealed weapons charge, he said only that the commissioner Roger Goodell will be in Berea next Thursday to discuss the matter. He a;so said that he can’t determine what will be done, but he thinks that considering Goodell’s track record something will come of this. He mentioned that the commissioner will also be making a decision on Robaire Smith’s situation.

When asked about ticket availability Holmgren said that there are P.S.L.’s and season tickets still available, and he expects a push of ticket sales to happen through training camp and pre-season. When the point that seven of the eight draft picks are already signed prior to camp starting, Holmgren credited Matt Thomas and general manager Tom Heckert for getting that done.

The only draft pick still unsigned is first rounder Joe Haden. Haden is expected to sign after the other first round picks that were drafted ahead of him are signed. Holmgren said, “it’s a domino effect”. He hopes in happens soon because it is important to the rookie’s development and it’s really hard to catch up when practices are missed.

When discussing the coaching staff he said, “I want to do this right”, and “it’s their deal”, meaning that he wants a certain type of scheme on the field but the coaching staff has the final say on how to do it. He said he asks himself, “What kind of president do I want to be for MY coach?” On the subject of second year wide out Brian Robiskie, he likes him as a player and thinks things will “click” for him this season.

He also thinks this year’s abundance of line backers is a nice problem to have, and head coach Eric Mangini likes to use them in veresitile ways and puts a value on using them in special teams. Holmgren loves the prospect of playing in the AFC Central this year and trying to knock off the established leaders in the division lwhen they play late in the season.

He said, “Those games should count for all the marbles”. At running back he thinks Jerome Harrison and Monario Hardesty should both stay fresh in a two-back system. Finally, he said that “Family Day”, on August 7 at Cleveland Browns Stadium, will be played and coached like real game, and he is looking for some sharpness in the passing game, an active defense, and he is keeping his fingers crossed that there are no injuries.

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