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What the future holds

June 7, 2011 - Mike McLain
It's hard to tell what's in the thought process of the Browns' braintrust because of the lockout, but there are indications of what could happen when business as usual returns.

It appears that linebacker Matt Roth and fullback Lawrence Vickers won't return. Both players will be unrestricted free agents. Neither of the two has received any indication that their services are desired next sesaon.

In talking to Roth late last season, I received the indication that he wants to test the open market. His stock has risen somewhat after spending the final four games of the 2009 season and all of last season with the Browns. He's not a strong pass rusher, but his large big body fits in well against the run.

Roth was waived by the Miami Dolphins during the '09 season. Members of the Dolphins' front office felt Roth should have come back quicker from an injury. He said he was still hurting.

It's surprising that the Browns apparently aren't interested in re-signing Vickers. He's supposedly among the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL, but there might be concerns about his ability as a receiver out of the backfield. Having a mobile fullback with a dependable set of hands is important in the west coast offense that coach Pat Shurmur will install and call as offensive coordinator. Vickers has never proven to be an adept pass catcher.

There's a reason why the Browns used a fourth-round choice on Stanford fullbck Owen Marecic in the NFL draft. Marecic has a reputation for having good hands, which seemingly makes him a natural for what Shurmur will put into place once the lockout ends.

It also means that Vickers is probably headed elsewhere as a free agent.


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