Cleveland Browns training camp kicked off this morning for the team's first session of 2010, and as we reported earlier today, things started on somewhat of a sour note with the news that running back Montario Hardesty will miss the next two weeks due to a twisted knee. Two weeks isn't a painfully long time though, so that's good.
If you've never read our training camp recaps from the past, here is the deal with them: the notes in this report, along with most future reports, are a recap from various sources which will be linked to at the conclusion of the report.
TRAINING CAMP REPORT - DAY 1 [MORNING] (7/31/10)
Packed House: Whether it was the pleasant 76 degree weather this morning (without sun), the buzz around this being Mike Holmgren's first year with the team, or just a sign of fans wanting to stop thinking about the Cavs and Indians, plenty of fans came to Berea. The OBR reports that set a record for most fans in attendance since they started keeping track in 2005. There were over 3,500 fans in attendance, and some fans were not allowed in until more room became available.
Evan Moore Shines: If you don't have serious threats at the wide receiver position, a pair of good receiving tight ends can always open things up. Several reports praised the play of tight end Evan Moore, who used his tall frame and athletic ability to catch several passes. The OBR notes specifically that he was "picking" on the safeties. Grossi says Moore was snagging passes left and right from all of the quarterbacks. He could quickly become a quarterback's best friend.
Mortal Becomes Human for a Drill: Left tackle Joe Thomas was beaten; cue the gasps of shock. He was beaten by Robaire Smith, who the ABJ notes has lost 25 pounds, in a pass blocking/pass rushing drill.
Outside Linebackers: It's not wise to get carried away with starting lineups after the first session of camp, but we've been curious as to how the Browns would line up at linebacker. During the morning session, the starting unit reportedly consisted of:
OLB Scott Fujita
ILB Chris Gocong
ILB D'Qwell Jackson
OLB Matt Roth
That seems like some pretty good news for Gocong and Jackson. I imagine there will probably be a different unit in the evening session though.
Roth's Weight an Issue?: While on the subject of linebackers, here's two notes about the players above: Roth reported to camp at 275 pounds, and while he reportedly looked good, Grossi reports that the team wants him a little lower than that, but Mangini did say, "I’m pretty comfortable with him at that weight" following practice.
DQ Plows Hillis: In a one-on-one blocking drill, Jackson had the "hit of the day" according to Grossi, as he knocked fullback Peyton Hillis off his feet. Grossi notes that it looked like Jackson and running back Jerome Harrison arrived to camp with a chip on their shoulder to prove their doubters wrong.
New Quarterback in Charge: Perhaps the reason for the record attendance in Berea had to do with the knowledge that fans didn't have to watch Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson throw balls into the dirt or out of bounds over and over again. Fans got their first taste of Jake Delhomme, and so far I haven't heard much criticism over his play. Delhomme ran the offense smoothly and wasn't getting picked off every throw, so that's already a step in the right direction.
Cribbs on Special Teams: Thanks to Dawg Scooper for giving some notes as to Cribbs' role on special teams during the morning: Cribbs did not return any kicks, but he did play the role of being a gunner. The players who were returning kicks were WR Mohamed Massaquoi, WR Jake Allen, WR Chansi Stuckey, and CB Eric Wright.
St. Clair on First Team: Projected starting right tackle Tony Pashos did not practice due to having a cold. John St. Clair took his place, and one fan report indicated that Clifton Geathers schooled him already. Two other offensive lineman were out, riding the stationary bikes: Scott Kooistra and Paul Fanaika.
No Haden at Practice: First-round pick Joe Haden was not at the morning practice, but reports came in that he signed afterward. I suppose there's a possibility he could be ready to go for the evening session now.
Bobby Engram, the Mentor: My "reach" prediction on the team's 53-man roster was WR Bobby Engram, and Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository has a nugget on him from the morning:
I know that Mike Holmgren loves the temperament over-the-hill wideout Bobby Engram brings to the team. At times when Engram was with Holmgren ion Seattle, he was the best possession receiver in the league. He knows all the receiving tricks, and he is teaching them to Robiskie. On one simple corner route, running against no defense, Robiskie’s footwork and timing weren’t quite route. He was frustrated. He clapped his hands together and stared at the grass for a moment.
I followed this in my binoculars until No. 88 came into view. It was Engram. He had sought out Robiskie to go over what he had done wrong. They talked for a while. Robiskie left nodding his head.
The Cyclone Formation: Dawg Scooper covered the much anticipated Cyclone formation, which has Joshua Cribbs and Seneca Wallace in the game at the same time? The formation was used on the first play of the 11-on-11 scrimmage. For the specifics of the play, check out Dawg Scooper's ninth bullet point here.
No Starting Surprises: Besides the linebacker situation and Pashos being out, everyone else on the first team was of no surprise. T.J. Ward was lined up at starting safety, and while a few reports note that he seemed to be getting schooled, it's still early.
Hillis as a Utility Player: RB/FB Peyton Hillis was reportedly busy on offense, being used as a receiver out of the backfield often.
OBR on Carlton Mitchell: "Rookie WR Carlton Mitchell is raw, but learning. His ability to get off press coverage has improved noticeably- but needs work."
Brownies: A few new jersey numbers in the secondary, with Eric Wright (No. 21), Sheldon Brown (No. 24), and Joe Haden (No. 23)...TE Robert Royal had a couple of dropped passes...LB David Veikune "demolished" TE Joel Gamble in a blocking drill, per the OBR...for more pictures of camp, click the photo at the top of the page.
TE Evan Moore owned the safeties in the morning session. Here, he bowls through rookie Larry Asante.
QB Jake Delhomme is in command of the offense.
Saturday's Link Collection / Camp Sources
- Observations from A.M. morning practice (Dawg Scooper, Wolf)
- Observations from the first practice of camp (Akron Beacon Journal, Ulrich)
- Rough start: Hardesty down (The OBR, Greetham)
- First practice of training camps is in the books (Plain Dealer, Grossi)
- Robiskie's new mentor ... arresting stupid people (Canton Repository, Doerschuk)
Over at thebrownsboard.com, they have some videos on YouTube from the practice session. Here is the one of Jackson drilling Hillis back, which can be seen at the 30 second mark:
From the same site, here is a clip of Brian Robiskie and Joshua Cribbs catching passes:
Two of the photo credits to to ClevelandBrowns.com.