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Confessions of a Browns beat writer

By Nate Ulrich Published: February 17, 2011

Once in a while, I'll use this blog to get some things off my chest. This is my third confession:

  • One season down: The Browns finalized their coaching staff earlier this week, so now it's time to catch a breath and reflect on my first season on the beat. I found my job to be fun and challenging. I tried to bring new ideas to the Browns coverage in print and online. Some worked, some didn't. I will make changes next season, so stay tuned because the coverage is only going to improve. A point of emphasis will be making this blog more interactive. During the season, I tried to routinely feed the blog with news items, polls, videos and transcripts. But we need to talk more, so let's do it. Answering a "question of the day" didn't pan out in this space because I didn't receive enough questions, and I would have struggled to find time to answer all of them anyway. My goal is to dedicate one day a week next season to answering questions on this blog. As always, you can e-mail me questions at or by using this blog's contact form. I also need to make more confessions. It's been far too long, and I apologize for keeping quiet.

  • Next week: I'll be at the NFL Scouting Combine with Beacon Journal and sports columnist Marla Ridenour next Thursday through Sunday. We should have plenty of coverage in the newspaper and online. This will be my first combine, so I'll use this blog in part to give you a taste of my experience. I'm hoping to catch up with Browns coach Pat Shurmur at the combine. The Browns beat writers have only had two opportunities to talk to him, so I'm eager to learn more about what he's really like. The first time I met Shurmur, he told me he would have a great relationship with the media. Sounds good to me. Coach Eric Mangini is a good person, and I like him a lot. Still, he had a reputation for failing to directly answer questions. I know reporters aren't the only ones who noticed, either. Joe Grisola of Beaver Falls, Pa., sent me a message during the season, questioning why Mangini sidestepped certain topics in his answers. I think it's just the way he was taught to deal with media, though his recent string of television appearances might lead to him opening up more in the future.

  • Unfinished business: Dan wrote the best (and funniest) caption to go with this photo of Browns kicker Phil Dawson. Please accept my belated congratulations, Dan. ... Check out my favorite feature and favorite game story of the year. ... Thanks to my co-workers who helped with the Browns beat this past season -- sports writers Marla Ridenour and Stephanie Storm, gurus Dan Kadar and Jim Arnold, sports editors Ron Ledgard and Scot Fagerstrom, designer Brian Shellito and the entire copy desk. ... Also, thanks to the readers who keep up with this blog and the other Browns coverage on and in the Beacon Journal. I want your feedback, so please contact me anytime and feel free to answer some of the questions below to help me plan for the future.

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