By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
Here are my five biggest takeaways from the second day of practice at Browns training camp:
>>Defensive day. After the offense pretty much owned the first day of training-camp practices, the defense rallied back strong for Day Two. There were three interceptions (by Joe Haden, Buster Skrine, and Trevin Wade) and multiple pass breakups. Let’s give the defense credit for being on top of its game, both in terms of coverage and pass rush. But the offense didn’t look very sharp. At one point, offensive coordinator Norv Turner scolded his group by saying, “Trust the play! Throw the ball where it’s supposed to be thrown!” Some of that was due to the fact that the offense has had to large installations of plays the past two days. Of course, things weren’t always perfect on the defensive side, either. At one point, defensive coordinator Ray Horton yelled, “Give me 11 men out here! That’s twice (that only 10 were on the field).”
>>Corners and safeties show promise. Skrine and Chris Owens look to be the early front-runners in the competition for the starting cornerback spot opposite Joe Haden. Rookie Leon McFadden still has plenty to learn about putting himself in the best position to make plays. Tashaun Gipson and Johnson Bademosi have been impressive so far in competing for the free-safety spot. Each was involved in breaking up passes. The real test for the defense will begin on Saturday when the Browns practice in pads for the first time in camp. Although there isn’t supposed to be tackling to the ground, the amount of contact at the line of scrimmage will provide some interesting material for evaluation.
>>Greg Little’s improvement. For the second day in a row, the third-year looked impressive running routes and catching the ball. He is using his thick upper body to his advantage in battling defenders for the ball, especially on sideline routes. And his athleticism is impressive.
>>Travis Benjamin makes his case. Benjamin looked impressive working from the slot and outside. He ran good routes and caught the majority of what was thrown his way. Despite being small, he is able to frequently get clean releases off the line. And when that happens, he is too fast to be covered.
>>Trent Richardson continues to look explosive. This guy wants to make a statement that he not only is healthy and can remain that way, but that he also is a better player than the one who fell just short of rushing for 1,000 yards as a rookie last year. He runs with tremendous determination, and seems to be finding his holes far better than last year.
>>Bonus observation. Coach Rob Chudzinski did a very cool thing during a lull in the middle of practice. He walked up to Browns special adviser Jim Brown and informed him there was a fan watching practice in a No. 32 Brown jersey. Chudzinski walked Brown over to the fan so that the Hall-of-Famer could autograph it and pose for a photograph.
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