BEREA - Rookie running back James Davis has been following Jamal Lewis for much of his playing career.
The two played for the same school, Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta, years apart and now find themselves on the same professional team.
According to Davis, Lewis set all the school rushing records and he broke them. ‘’I started three-and-half-years and Jamal started three, ‘’ Davis said. ‘’I got a little bit more playing than he did. He's always talking about that other (half) year.’’
Davis has opened his teammate's eyes with his performance thus far in training camp. Lewis said that he believes he's going to be a ''special'' player.
"I see a burst out of him and an aggressiveness out of him,’’ he said. ‘’We're from the same neighborhood back home, so he's got some fight to him. I just try to help him out as much as I can because I see the ability there.’"
The coaches see it as well as Davis' special team play has drawn raves from Coach Eric Mangini thus far, but the first-year Browns coach also likes one aspect of Davis' offensive game.
‘"James has done a really nice job. What I like about him is that he’s done it since the day that he got here. He understands the importance of special teams,’’ Mangini said. ‘’There have been multiple drills where he is the first one down on special teams. That’s what gets you noticed.’"
Dueling quarterbacks: It's the battle of the summer and there's little escaping it. To some it may even feel like a replay of last summer sans the coin flip. But Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson are duking it out for the job of starting quarterback. No one can obviously judge by a single day, but Anderson definitely had an advantage on the field Tuesday, hitting his receivers consistently and showing good judgment on more than a few occasions. Brady Quinn not so much.
On more than one occasion Quinn put a reciever in a difficult position to make a catch. While occasionally one of his playmakers, such as running back Jerome Harrison, would make him look good by leaping over a defender's back to make a play. On one occasion defensive back Abe Elam, who the Browns acquired in a trade from the New York Jets, picked Quinn off, after he under threw his receiver. Quinn has thrown three picks in two days.
Fitting right in: Mohamed Massaquoi flashed his skills on the field Tuesday, literally catching everything thrown in his direction. The rookie from the University of Georgia displayed sure hands and blazing speed, which he flashed after catching the ball as he ran away from defensive backs. The rookie, who played with the Detroit Lions' Matt Stafford, could very well offer the most impact of any rookie. With Braylon Edwards the only sure-fire starter right now, Massaquoi and fellow rookie wideout Brian Robiskie have a chance to claim the other.
Staying on the offensive side of the ball, even the casual observer has to like what they hear from rookie center Alex Mack, the team's first-round draft choice. Mack has made his share of mistakes since camp opened. A bad snap today cost him again as he had to run a lap around the team's expansive fields. Mack, however, recognizes that it's a learning situation and part of the deal of transitioning from college ball to the NFL.
Defensively, Shaun Rogers returned to practice after sitting out the past couple of days with an undisclosed injury. The svelte looking Rogers (he's reportedly dropped to 320 lbs. ) provided some impact during drills and in practice as he disrupted offensively flow on more than one occasion. Of course, there was still some rust as Rogers committed an offsides penalty and found himself doing a lap - if you want to call it that. He virtually tip-toed around the outskirts of the field drawing both applause and laughs from individuals in attendance at Tuesday's practice.
Something completely different: Josh Cribbs not being back on any kick return teams. He played on the kickoff teams.