September 21, 2014

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Browns notes: Holmgren not sure Tebow has what it takes to be an NFL QB

INDIANAPOLIS – Browns president Mike Holmgren loves Florida quarterback Tim Tebow as a person and a football player.

As an NFL quarterback, he isn’t so sure.

“He’s a wonderful young man and he’s a great football player,” Holmgren said Friday at the scouting combine. “The question any organization has to answer is: Can his greatness in college translate to greatness in our game? It is quite different for quarterbacks.”

Tebow won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship, but he’s come under intense scrutiny after a poor performance at the Senior Bowl practices. He’s revamping his long, loopy throwing motion and may slip into the third round.

“It’s always been my opinion that the motion is the most difficult thing to change in any quarterback,” said Holmgren, who started as a quarterbacks coach at BYU and with the San Francisco 49ers. “He’s trying to change it, but it’s really hard to do, particularly in pressure situations.”

Tebow talked just minutes before Holmgren at the opposite side of the media room in Lucas Oil Stadium. He drew the largest media audience of the combine and smiled through question after question about his motion.

“It’s more like a tweak, it’s not necessarily changing my whole motion,” he said. “I am holding the ball higher, not dropping it, not getting that loop in my release is what I’m working on.

“I’m not scared of what people are going to say. If I need to work on something and change it, I’m going to work on it to the best of my ability and do it now.”

Some teams project Tebow as a tight end or H-back, because they don’t think he can play quarterback.

“I want to be a quarterback in the NFL,” he said. “That’s been my dream since I was 6 years old. I’m going to do whatever it takes to do that.”

Tebow will run and lift during the combine, but won’t throw. He’ll show off his new delivery March 17 at his pro day.

Talking Braylon

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said he will tender former Browns receiver Braylon Edwards a contract for the 2010 season. Edwards’ long-term future in New York will depend on how things go in the next year – starting immediately.

“Braylon did a lot of great things for us. We’re really glad he’s here,” said Tannenbaum, who acquired Edwards for receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik and third- and fifth-round draft picks. “It’s a really important offseason for him, being with us all the time. I really believe the guy’s gifted with the ability to be a much better player long-term by being in our program every day.”

Tannenbaum said he doesn’t know if Edwards will commit to the offseason program, but expects to talk to his agent this weekend. Edwards wasn’t a consistent participant in the “voluntary” offseason workouts during his tenure in Cleveland, but Tannenbaum is optimistic that will change.

“Have you ever been to Florham Park in March?” he said of the Jets facility in New Jersey. “It’s a wonderful place to be. I’ve been there, I’ve been to Berea, so …

“All I can say is Florham Park’s a real nice place. We’ve got a lot to offer, a lot to do.”

Edwards caught 35 passes for 541 yards and four touchdowns with the Jets. He had 10 catches for 139 yards and no touchdowns in four games with the Browns. He had big drops with both teams.

Open to the possibilities

Tannenbaum is close friends with Browns coach Eric Mangini, not to mention having been Mangini’s boss with the Jets. They executed two trades in Mangini’s first year with the Browns, but Holmgren’s calling the shots now, so the expressway between Berea and Florham Park might slow down.

“I’ve talked to Coach Holmgren a couple times already, as I do with a lot of my other peers,” Tannenbaum said. “I’m looking at the trades as a real viable way for us to improve our team. We’ve had a lot of trade partners, just not Cleveland.”

Sanchez lover

The first Browns-Jets trade last year occurred on draft day, and gave the Jets the fifth pick, which they used on USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets won two road playoff games before losing to the Colts in the AFC championship game.

“When we make a trade like that, you go back to what Jerry Angelo has said for years, ‘The tape sets the floor and character sets the ceiling,’” Tannenbaum said. “We were really impressed by Mark’s intangibles and his passion for the game. So we felt if it was within reason, we would go up and try to get Mark.

“Fortunately as we defined it, the price was reasonable. We were really excited to get him, we remain that way.”

The Browns received the 17th pick (they traded down again and got center Alex Mack), the 52nd pick (linebacker David Veikune), defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff. Mack started and had a good season, while the production from the rest was mixed.

Sanchez is considered by most experts a franchise quarterback.

“That trade will be great for both sides, when you factor in the extra picks and players Cleveland got and the value they can take in terms of resources to spend on other players,” Tannenbaum said. “For us, we just felt really fortunate to get Mark.”

Raving about Holmgren

San Francisco general manager Scot McCloughan was director of college scouting for the Seahawks while Holmgren was coach.

“I’m glad he’s back in the NFL,” McCloughan said. “The NFL needs him and deserves him.

“He has a way about him to be your buddy but also he puts you on your toes and makes sure you have to produce.”

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the addition of Holmgren strengthens the already difficult AFC North.

“Adding anybody of Coach Holmgren’s caliber is only going to enhance the division,” he said. “The AFC North is naturally based rivalries that bring out the best in all of us.”

Quotes of the day

“We need more players like Steven Jackson. We can’t be poop-canning him out of the building.” – Rams general manager Bill Devaney, when asked if he would consider trading the star running back.

• “If I went to Buffalo to live there, from my family perspective, I think I’d be the only one that’d go. My wife and kids wouldn’t go. Strictly to do with the weather, that’s it.” – New Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who was a candidate for the Bills job.

Extra points

NFL Network analyst and former general manager Charley Casserly loves the top of this year’s draft class. “It’s the best first round I’ve seen since 1983,” he said. Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly were drafted that year.
• Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said linebacker Rey Maualuga has taken “dramatic steps in order to deal with this kind of behavior.” Maualuga pleaded guilty to drunk driving recently and is expected to check into a rehab facility.
• The draft will start in prime time for the first time Thursday, April 22 at 7:30. The second and third rounds will be Friday, starting at 6 p.m. Rounds 4-7 will be Saturday.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com.