Browns set to go wild, fans too

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:52 PM ET

Long suffering football fans in Cleveland rejoice.

There is on-field evidence that your football team is no longer content to bore you to death with its mind-numbingly tedious run-of-the-mill offence. You remember. The one that finished 29th in scoring last season.

Well, apparently those Browns are no more, at least that’s what everyone associated with the team is hoping, given what has been going on during off-season workouts.

The Browns, according to reports, are ready to go wildcat this year with their own spin on the formation that gave Ronnie Brown’s career in Miami new life.

Various wildcat formations have been on display during the Browns OTA’s this past week and are getting rave reviews from those that have seen them in action and those that have put them in action.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto, who has been begging the team since last October to give the Wildcat offence a real try hoping to take full advantage of Josh Cribb’s athletic ability, now has twice the reason with Seneca Wallace in the fold.

Cribbs, who was a quarterback at Kent State and one of the lone reasons to even watch the Brownies last year with his electrifying kick returns, is talking like a guy who never experienced last season’s grind-it-to-a-halt offence.

“It’s already evolved tremendously,” Cribbs told reporters during workouts. “The first day brought so many changes. We’re going to be a tough offence to stop.”

Wallace, who arrives in Cleveland along with new president Mike Holmgren via Seattle, is ready made for a wildcat offence with his own above-average athletic abilities.

“It could be deadly,” Wallace said of what the Browns are doing. “Cribbs is a heck of a runner and a great athlete. He can make plays and having both of us on the field, it can be a deadly weapon.”

Maybe all the confusion will even help Jake Delhomme, the consensus starting quarterback, take advantage and manage to hit his own receivers for a change rather than throwing to his opponents like he did much of last year in Carolina.

In any event, it’s a welcome change from the same old, same old.

Big day for Atogwe

O.J. Atogwe will learn today whether he’ll remain property of the St. Louis Rams or go in search of a new employer.

Either way, being out of work is not something the Windsor-raised free safety has to worry about, not after leading the entire NFL the past three years in interceptions and forced fumbles.

The Rams 2008 MVP is coming off season-ending shoulder surgery last December but is expected to be ready for training camp.

Whether it’s the Rams training camp or somewhere else remains to be seen. The Rams tendered him the minimum ($1.226 million US) and must decide today whether to bump that to almost $7 million to retain him or let him become an unrestricted free agent.

Fourth and inches

LenDale White’s tenure in Seattle was short and possibly costly. Already with a reported four-game suspension hanging over his head, White is now looking for a new team after former college coach Pete Carroll decided he had enough of White’s act and could do without him. It will be interesting to see how long he’s looking for work given all the extra baggage he’s now carrying ... On another White note, his departure from Seattle leaves the Seahawks a little thin at running back and has given new life to the Marshawn Lynch to Seattle talk. Prior to the draft the Seahawks walked away from talks when the Bills asked for a second-round pick ... Terrell Owens continues to look for a team to call home, but his presence is still being felt in Buffalo where James Hardy is looking to lock up the No. 2 spot on the receiver depth chart behind Lee Evans. “I learned how to practise every day, how to go all out every rep,” Hardy told the Buffalo News. “I learned how to watch film. He came to my house; I went to his house often. He showed me how to break film down, what to look at as far as defenders, how to read defences and how to have a certain communication with the quarterback on certain routes that you want to run.” As long as he didn’t give Hardy the “How-to-be-a prima-donna handbook” things should work out fine.


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