Cleveland Browns Rookie Madness: Don't Count Out the Veterans Either

Daniel WolfSenior Writer IJune 6, 2010

BEREA, OH - MAY 01:  T.J. Ward #2 and Joe Haden #5 of the Cleveland Browns run through a drill during rookie mini camp at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative Complex on May 1, 2010 in Berea, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The wonderful NFL offseason summer months, so little to talk about, so much to speculate on.

Especially when it comes to all the new rookies.

It is no different for any other NFL team, especially the Cleveland Browns where optimism is the theme around this time every year.

Right now, it is all just guesses and gut feelings, and nothing can be proven as hard fact until the pads are on and the young guys begin hitting.

So what is the one constant that can be speculated upon much easier due to a past track record of performances at the pro level?

The veterans.

Yes it is fun to talk about the rookies because they have not seen the field and Browns fans have no clue what they have with their newest members, but remember that it is the veterans that make up the foundation of this team—whether it's a vet who has been with the team or a vet who was brought on to bring more experience and leadership.

The Browns have a good veteran base that has been with the team for several years including: cornerback Eric Wright, defensive lineman Robaire Smith, offensive tackle Joe Thomas, offensive guard Eric Steinbach, running back Jerome Harrison, wide receiver Josh Cribbs, and kicker Phil Dawson (the only one since 1999) to name a few.

These guys ARE your Browns since they have seen it and been through it for more than two years in Cleveland.

They are the foundation of the franchise.

This offseason that foundation was built upon even more by adding more veterans including: cornerback Sheldon Brown, linebacker Scott Fujita, linebacker Chris Gocong, offensive tackle Tony Pashos, and quarterback Jake Delhomme to name a few newer vets.

These guys are the reinforcement of the Browns' foundation to also help out all the newer and younger pieces.

If there is something for the Browns that does not need speculation—it is that these vets, old and new, will contribute in 2010 in order to help the Browns be a better team than they have been in recent years (in theory).

There will be a few rookies who may contribute in 2010, but mainly the vets will get most of the reps and playing time—at least at first.

Some rookies may push some veterans for playing time such as: running back Montario Hardesty could push Harrison for more carries at running back, or cornerback Joe Haden could push Wright for more playing time at cornerback.

These are just two examples of rookies that could see more game time, but the bottom line is that unless they can outshine a vet during training camp, preseason, and practices then they will be taking a back seat for the time being.

Rookies are fun to talk about and predict, but let's not forget about the guys who have been there on game days and will continue to be there to produce for our Browns in 2010 and beyond.

Also posted on Dawg Scooper: THE Cleveland Browns Blog.)


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