By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
Here are some observations from the Browns’ first day in pads at training camp:
>>There was some typical sloppiness that comes from the first day of contact drills. The dramatic surge in practice tempo always catches rookies off-guard, and it even seemed to have a few of the veterans a little wobbly at times. You saw miscommunication between quarterbacks and receivers, some misfired throws, a fumbled snap, and the need for regrouping among offensive players and coaches here and there. A little more yelling could be heard from the coaches than was the case during the previous two days of camp. Again, very ordinary stuff for the first day of pads.
>>Brandon Weeden looked very much like a rookie quarterback at times. He made some poor decisions, one of which led to an interception. But the errors he did make were mostly out of his willingness to challenge the defense deep with his strong arm. Weeden calls himself an “aggressive thrower,” and that has been evident throughout the first few days of camp. He performed better on Sunday than he did on Saturday, largely because he is a perfectionist and took the time (staying up until past midnight Sunday) to study the corrections he needed to make.
>>The fan support was absolutely inspiring. The crowd of roughly 4,200 was the most for a single practice session since the team began tracking camp attendance in 2005. It says that people are pretty excited about the infusion of talent from the draft and supplemental draft, and anxious to see what sort of strides have been made to improve over last year. It also says that it was a great way to spend picture-perfect, sun-splashed day.
>>The emphasis Sunday was on running the ball, because that’s what contact best allows the coaches to assess. And for the most part, what the Browns did in that area was encouraging. The offensive line got its share of victories. Guards Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao were particularly impressive. The Browns did the bulk of their running to the left, behind Pinkston and left tackle Joe Thomas.
>>Several passing plays included five-step drops, which allows for longer routes to develop. Browns coach Pat Shurmur clearly has plenty of confidence in Weeden, his offensive line, and his receivers to take that approach in what he no doubt sees as a more attack-oriented passing game.
>>The defensive line was mostly solid inside, despite the absences of tackles Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor. Rookie tackles John Hughes and Billy Winn had some turns to work next to each other, and looked good. Veterans Brian Schaefering and Scott Paxson also worked together in the middle. Make no mistake: The sooner Rubin and Taylor return, the better, but in the meantime, but the Browns do have some decent answers. Rubin is expected to return soon, although Taylor is likely to miss part of the regular season.
>>Montarrio Hardesty stole the show at running back. He showed exceptional speed and explosiveness on outside runs, and held his own between the tackles. Hardesty definitely has entered this camp wanting to make a statement that, despite Trent Richardson being selected with the third overall pick and already being named the starting running back, he is still capable of making a significant contribution.
>>Richardson caught everyone’s attention when he snagged a short pass from Brandon Weeden, made a quick cut and then tore upfield in a flash.
>>Rookie receiver Josh Gordon continued to show his exceptional physical skills by running smooth routes, catching the ball well, and utilizing all of his 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame to separate from defenders.
>>Receiver Greg Little did some work from the slot. The idea is to find a way to have him and Gordon on the field as much as possible with the other receivers as much as possible, although it seems to be a role with which he will need some time to get comfortable.
>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.
>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci
Posted in Carucci's Call | 2 Comments »