Fortunately for me and every NFL fan out there, next week starts the beginning of preseason football games. So while the Notre Dame athletes are busy going from class to practice to CJs to bed, my home Dawgs are hard at work running through plays and cranking out media material.
And, fortunately for our Quote of the Week segment, a few Notre Dame players happen to be in the lime light of the preseason media binoculars, so I can find a way to tie in the Brown and Orange with the Blue and Gold.
While most late round draft picks (let alone undrafted free agents) rarely experience any media coverage while trying to make the team, former Irish running back Travis Thomas is making his presence known enough in practice to merit his own write up on the front page of the Akron Beacon Journal sports section this morning.
For all of you potential Notre Dame recruits reading this, Thomas credits playing for Charlie Weis as one of the reasons for his success:
Thomas said he feels comfortable in the Browns offense, primarily because Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis ran a pro-style attack.''I thought the offense was similar to what I came from in college, and also, it was a good opportunity, and it seemed to be a good fit for me,'' he said of signing as an undrafted free agent.
It's very encouraging to see that TT is doing so well in Cleveland. I have to admit that I was skeptical about him making the team when I saw that he was signed, and even if he does make the team now, it would be an even larger surprise if he sees time at running back. Thomas is currently sitting behind Jamal Lewis, Jason Wright, and Jerome Harrison, who have already proven to coaches and fans that they can be a dominant back, an above average backup, and a capable speedy 3rd down back, respectively. The most likely way for Thomas to make an impact this season is on special teams, where he will rely on the experienced he gained while playing linebacker for Notre Dame.
There have been mixed reviews about Quinn's performance in training camp, but I think it is more a result of high expectations and tough competition than a lack of talent. What I have been reading about this summer camp is night and day different than what I was reading last season, when the Browns were in a 2.5 man quarterback derby (Quinn only practiced about half of the camp due to a hold out). Now DA is showing off his strong arm with confidence and is looking primed to lead the team this season, and Quinn, while he has been praised for his accuracy in the short game and ability to read the defense, is still going through some issues that every young quarterback faces in the NFL. For one thing, Quinn has been allegedly having some trouble with overthrowing his receivers on deep balls (which I suppose is better than the alternative Pennington approach), but head coach Romeo Crennel doesn't see it as a problem, but as sign of growth:
"Last year, he would just take what the defense gave him. I think he has better command of the offense, and he's trying to anticipate when he can make a play down the field."
''I know that he works hard. Things are going to smooth out for him and things will be less erratic for him, so to speak. "Good luck to both Thomas and Quinn as they prepare to face New York a week from today in the first preseason game. Go Cleveland! Beat Jets!