By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor
Here are my five biggest takeaways from the seventh day of practice at Browns training camp:
>>Brandon Weeden’s improvement. His performance showed a significant jump from Wednesday, when he mostly struggled through drills. Although Weeden got off to a somewhat slow start on Thursday, he wound up looking sharp on many of his throws the rest of the way. His biggest challenge is consistently making quick and accurate decisions of where to go with the ball. When Weeden is able to promptly determine the spot to where he is going to make a throw, he usually makes the completion. It’s when he hesitates before releasing the ball that Weeden tends to run into trouble.
>>Barkevious Mingo has a strong day. The rookie outside linebacker had one of his better days of practice. He was exceptionally quick off the ball. On multiple occasions, he ran past blockers before they could fully set up in pass protection. Mingo has shown many flashes of the pass-rushing terror he could become. He is looking more and more comfortable lining up in various spots in the Browns’ 3-4, attack-style defense.
>>Desmond Bryant excels with techniques. The big defensive end put on a clinic with his hand-to-hand combat at the line of scrimmage. He consistently chopped down the forearm of offensive guard Shawn Lauvao to gain separation and penetrate the backfield. Bryant’s 6-foot-6, 310-pound frame gives him a size and strength advantage over the majority of blockers trying to stop him.
>>Coaching in meeting room. For the most part, Rob Chudzinski and his coaching staff don’t have a ton of conversation with their players on the field. Don’t get me wrong. They do communicate with players and make corrections or provide positive reinforcement when necessary. But unlike some coaching staffs, they don’t require players to frequently run plays over because they got it wrong – even if that’s the case. Their preference is to maintain a brisk pace for the workouts and do the bulk of the coaching while reviewing videotape in meetings.
>>A veritable “who’s who” of football. Berea, Ohio, became the epicenter of the NFL on Thursday. Leading the football dignitaries on hand were league commissioner Roger Goodell, who was helping to promote USA Football Month and the organization’s emphasis on heads-up football. Also in attendance were Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan of SiriusXM NFL Radio, and Jarrett Bell of USA Today. All stopped here on the way to Canton for this week and weekend’s festivities at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Goodell fielded numerous media questions about Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (who also was at practice) and the investigation into his Pilot Flying J Company. Goodell called Haslam, whom he has known since Haslam purchased a minority share of the Steelers, a “man of great integrity.” Goodell and the others also were impressed with the $5-million renovation of the Browns’ training facility.
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