According to a number of news reports on Sunday the Cleveland Browns have moved Mike Adams from free safety to nickel corner in favor of rookie T.J. Ward.
If this is true it shakes up the entire defensive secondary in a huge way and makes little or no sense in a lot of ways.
First of all, if it is true, where does the loser among cornerbacks Sheldon Brown, Eric Wright and Joe Haden go to play? As the dime back exclusively? Is Adams better at covering slot receivers than any one of them?
For the Browns to anoint rookie T.J. Ward the starting free safety without even seeing him cover a receiver in a single preseason game is premature at the very least, since coverage was the primary knock on Ward coming out of college.
There is no doubt that Ward has exceeded expectations with his pass coverage ability so far in camp but the players haven't even put on a single pad yet.
Adams is a fine football player, who is a renaissance guy in the secondary, but I don't know if he is good enough to just elbow the loser of the three way battle for the starting cornerback positions out of the way.
I am simply not buying it. While I would like to blame some rival AFC North fan, armed somewhere with a laptop and malicious intent, for cranking out this erroneous tale just to see how many die hard Clevelanders he could confound with his devilish plot, there is a far more likely and less sinister beginning to this tale.
In his Sunday column the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto wrote, "While they have upgraded at safety with rookies Larry Asante and T.J. Ward, they know it remains one of the team's weak spots. That's true even if restricted free agent Abe Elam signs. Asante and Ward have not been disasters in pass coverage, but it's obvious that they are best against the run. Michael Adams is the best cover safety, but they like him as a cornerback and covering slot receivers."
Nowhere in this piece does he say that the Browns have moved Adams to cornerback and given the job to Ward, but it was picked up by NBCSports, FoxSports, MSNBCSports and Rotoworld among others, twisted, and printed as gospel.
Adams is the best cover safety currently on the roster and that includes Elam if and when he signs. Haden, Wright and Brown form a potentially potent threesome at corner and it seems unlikely Coach Mangini or Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan would want to separate them before training camp even opens.
I say we forget about this nonsense, assume that Adams is still a safety, and the loser of the cornerback showdown will be the nickelback.