Around the Pound (3/22): Shurmur to Have Live Tackling Drills in Training Camp

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 22: Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur answers questions from the media during the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 22, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12 the league is conducting it's annual owners meeting in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

In today's long-overdue edition of Around the Pound, we take a look at some of Pat Shurmur's comments from the NFL owner's meetings, how Julio Jones is closing the gap as the top-rated wideout in the draft class, whether the Browns were one of five teams fined by the league, and more.

Aroundthepound_medium

Shurmur Calls for Live Tackling Drills in Training Camp

The past couple of years, the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams have represented the few teams that implement live tackling during training camp. According to Tony Grossi via Shurmur, the Browns will likely be doing the same thing if and when training camp takes place:

"It may have to be adjusted this year, but we always did that in Philadelphia. There was always through training camp a live (tackling) period during practice," Shurmur said.

Julio Jones Overtaking A.J. Green?

In his Tuesday mailbag, Peter King writes that wide receiver Julio Jones may be overtaking A.J. Green pretty soon.

It's now a race. Jones has narrowed the gap between himself and Green to the point where I'm told by two teams with receiver needs that they favor Jones. Draft czar Gil Brandt says, "The gap has closed. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jones picked ahead of Green at this point.''

King goes on to state that the Cincinnati Bengals are reportedly one of the teams who favor Jones. Neither Shurmur nor Tom Heckert were able to attend Green's Pro Day today at Georgia, but Shurmur said that he intends to meet with the receiver prior to the draft.

Browns Could Have Been Fined by NFL

According to the National Football Post, five teams were fined for having contact with players during a "dead" period. The Browns are rumored to be one of those teams after players were trying to get acquainted with their new head coach. We probably shouldn't make a huge deal over it; I'd take the stupid fine if it meant having contact before the lockout began.

King Projects How Many Touchbacks There Will Be

Last season in the NFL, 20.5 percent of kickoffs (418 of 2,033) went for touchbacks. That's twice the percentage of kickoffs that weren't returned as in 2004. If the new rule making kickers kick from the 35-yard-line instead of the 30 passes at the NFL meetings this week, what will the percentage be? I wouldn't be surprised if half the kickoffs in the NFL were not returned in 2011.

Off-Beat Notes

  • The Avengers is going to be filmed in Cleveland now. How awesome is that? When the notice comes out that they are looking for extras, I think I'm going to apply. After all, you have to start your Hollywood career somewhere, eh?
  • I enjoy the cast on the Celebrity Apprentice again, particularly seeing the likes of Gary Busey and Jose Canseco. I'm surprised at how well the ratings seem to be doing thus far for the show. I can't get into Dancing With the Stars still, even if the show debuted to ratings that make it seem like it could overtake American Idol finally.
  • Fringe's ratings hit a series low last week, but the feedback that the remaining fans are providing on the show says that they still love it. It's not the same as when Heroes ended, where loyal fans still watched but admitted the show was getting pretty stupid.
  • Coming to a theater near you: the start of rufio's annual Big Board's!
  • We haven't had an ATP for awhile, so feel free to pump out some other off-beat notes of your own...
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