5 biggest takeaways from OTAs

Posted by Vic Carucci on May 23, 2013 – 11:08 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

Here are my five biggest takeaways from the Browns’ second week of organized team activity practices:

>An early signature of this new Browns coaching staff is its extremely detailed coaching. Each assistant seems to go to great lengths to make certain that each player in his position group thoroughly understands his assignment and how to carry it out. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Norv Turner constantly does that with the quarterbacks. But he also does it with the receivers, who are coached by his son, Scott. Scott Turner is meticulous in his guidance of the wide outs. But there are times when Dad will be heard pointing out to a receiver or tight end that he hasn’t run the proper depth on a route, explaining how doing so will give him a greater advantage against defenders.

>The Browns might very well be in better shape at safety than some observers believed before the start of offseason workouts. One reason is the performance of Tashaun Gipson, who made the roster last year as an undrafted free agent. Gipson is making a strong case to become the starter opposite T.J. Ward by covering plenty of ground and making plays. Gipson seems to consistently find in himself in the right place at the right time, and, as he demonstrated last year, he has a true knack for being around the ball. Another reason for the optimism at safety is the play of Johnson Bademosi, who was moved from cornerback to join the competition with Gipson. A third reason is the expectation that sixth-round draft pick Jamoris Slaughter will make a full recovery from a ruptured Achilles his suffered in his final season at Notre Dame last year and be on the field in time for training camp in late July.

>A lot has been said about Davone Bess’ considerable impact on the receiving corps as a dependable slot target. But there is another receiver who is doing a nice job in that role – second-year pro Josh Cooper. Cooper’s improvement from his rookie year has been dramatic. First, he has arrived at OTAs in noticeably better physical condition than he was in 2012. Second, he is running far more precise routes and catching practically everything that comes his way. Cooper looks as if he could survive the wide-open competition at wide receiver.

>Rookie Brandon Bogotay looks like a strong candidate to replace Phil Dawson as the Browns’ kicker. And that’s because he has an extremely strong – and accurate – leg. The Browns also have a veteran, Shayne Graham, to compete for the job and he undoubtedly will provide a stiff challenge. However, Bogotay would figure to have the advantage of youth on his side and the ability to give the Browns someone who can boom kickoffs deep. The question, of course, is how the rookie free agent from Georgia will respond to the enormous pressure that goes with a role he had little chance to fill in college … and with being the successor to one of the very best kickers in NFL history.

>The defense has pretty much been ahead of the offense in practice. That’s hardly a surprise. Defenses usually have the edge because they’re mostly reactionary and the offense is more structured in what it does. The players on defense are learning new responsibilities, because the 3-4 scheme is new, but can lean more heavily on athleticism and instincts that are part of the aggressive approach of defensive coordinator Ray Horton. The offensive players are trying to absorb the new plays and formations in the scheme of coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner. And when three quarterbacks are taking turns throwing passes, it stands to reason that it can be difficult to establish good timing with receivers.

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