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Coaches,may choose to start Smith ahead of Coleman

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T.J. Ward’s speed coach sandals and 5-10, 211-pound size suggest he’s more of a free safety, but the Browns are willing to play him ahead of fifth-round rookie Larry Asante in the box. This means Abe Elam, a 16-game starter but low-impact contributor in ’09, will remain in centerfield. Because backup-level players like cornerback Brandon McDonald and versatile safety/corner Mike Adams have been compelled to start in recent years, this defensive backfield now has experienced depth.Though he may not do so right away, Haden will start opposite Sheldon Brown, the dependable ex-Eagle who has always been a stopper and recently discovered his playmaking gene (five interceptions in ’09). This relegates quick, firm-tackling fourth-year pro Eric Wright to nickel duties, a job slightly below his level of qualification but nonetheless important.
Another inside linebacker, last year’s second-round juicy couture outlet pick David Veikune, has lost 20 pounds (he’s down to 250) and is eager to prove he’s not a bust. But Veikune, a defensive end at Hawaii, will most likely need a few years before he can truly grasp the nuances of the position. Finding snaps for him could be tough if coaches decide they still prefer last year’s nimble fourth-round pick, Kaluka Maiava.Jackson will have plenty of chances to impress given the question mark at the inside linebacker slot next to him. Because Eric Barton spent the off-season slowly recovering from neck surgery, 33-year-old David Bowens is expected to start inside. The problem is that Bowens is too stiff to meet the lateral demands of this position and scheme.Cleveland’s inside linebackers must improve against the run in 2010. The return of undersize tackling machine D’Qwell Jackson should help. Last year, this defense really missed Jackson’s nose for the ball during the 10 games he sat out with a torn pectoral muscle. The fifth-year pro was tendered as a restricted free agent over the off-season but hopes to get a coach purses long-term contract. Making more of his tackles closer to the line of scrimmage will help his cause.That pass-rusher won’t emerge in 2010. There’s new blood at the outside linebacker position, but it’s of the wrong kind. Former Saints leader Scott Fujita is expected to start on the right side, and ex-Eagle Chris Gocong will compete with ’09 midseason pickup Matt Roth on the left. None of these three have the quick first step or sinewy athleticism that is required to consistently reach the quarterback. In fact, with the exception of the energetic but disgruntled Roth (he wants a new contract), all are better equipped for a 4-3 scheme. Booming athlete Marcus Benard (undrafted in ’09) or ex-Jet Jason Trusnik might actually be better pass-rushing options than any of the potential starters.The Browns registered a hearty 40 sacks last season (tied for eighth most), but a majority of them resulted from coordinator Rob Ryan’s crafty blitzes and zone exchange concepts. Ideally, Cleveland would like to feature at least one bona fide pass-rusher in their 3-4 scheme. cheap chanel handbags

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