Cleveland Browns Training Camp Report: Day 4 - Hodges Out for Season

Injuries happen, but you really hate it when they take a player out for the entire season. Day 4 of training camp was an eventful one, but punter Reggie Hodges tore his Achilles' tendon near the end of practice when he was doing nothing more than going through his normal punting routine.

Hodges matured into one of the league's top punters last season, ironically taking over due to an injury to former punter Dave Zastudil. Maybe a new guy and come in and deliver, but consistency is the key. That's what Hodges brought to the table. Let's get to the rest of the Tuesday morning practice notes.

TRAINING CAMP REPORT - DAY 4 (8/2/11)

    Gedc0134_jpg_medium The day ended in disaster for punter Reggie Hodges (photo credit: National Football Authority, Daniel Wolf)
  1. New Holder Needed Too: Besides needing a new punter, someone needs to be the holder for Phil Dawson's field goals. Dawson has had his fair share of holders since coming to Cleveland and Ryan Pontbriand is a Pro Bowl snapper, but that's what UDFA signing Rob Lang of Syracuse will be expected to do.
     
  2. Skrine Showing Early Confidence: With the Browns appearing thin in terms of veteran talent at the cornerback position, rookie Buster Skrine is getting the opportunity to start on the second-team defense along with Coye Francies. Skrine has been getting credit in camp for his great speed, and Tuesday morning, he made one of the biggest plays of camp when he notched a pick six from quarterback Colt McCoy in 11-on-11 drills. When interviewed, Skrine told the media that he thinks he can be the team's starting nickel back if he keeps improving.
     
  3. Francies Stepping Up Too: If you've been a reader of this blog for awhile, then you'll know about the supposed obsession I used to have with former Browns running back Jerome Harrison. Another player I've really liked the past two years is cornerback Coye Francies. Daniel Wolf of National Football Authority had high praise for the aggressive defense Francies was playing, and says that while both Skrine and Francies were good, Francies looked better.
     
  4. There's a Reason You Don't Hear About: ...cornerback Joe Haden in most of these practice reports: he's blanketing his receivers so much that teams aren't throwing his direction or he is breaking up passes. It's not a coincidence that I rarely saw Haden thrown toward on Monday either. The Browns did add a low-level free agent cornerback today, but I wouldn't be upset if the Browns entered the year with the three cornerbacks mentioned above and Sheldon Brown.
     
  5. Norwood Making Other Receivers Sweat: The receiver who has been put into a surprise position this training camp is receiver Jordan Norwood, and I think it's time for guys like Carlton Mitchell and Johnathan Haggerty to start sweating. Norwood received a vote of approval from general manager Tom Heckert. When Heckert gave his approval to Jayme Mitchell, it [presumably] made him a starter without seeing any snaps. Norwood has been playing with the ones or as the slot receiver. Head coach Pat Shurmur commented on why Norwood has had a good camp so far: "He has come in with a firm foundation of the scheme and he’s quick, fast and knows how to separate."
     
  6. Williams With a Few More Grabs: After catching a deep ball from Colt McCoy on Monday, former Ravens receiver Demetrius Williams continues to catch everything thrown his way. Obviously there is still a lot of camp to go, but the one thing you have to like hearing about Williams, Norwood, and Haggerty is that they are hanging onto the ball. Those three guys might be our fastest receivers too, so it'll be interesting to see who the coaching staff favors in the West Coast Offense: the guys with size, or the guys with speed.
     
  7. Drops Start to Arrive: Compared to the first few days of practice, the dropped passes were up. Perhaps the most notable one involved rookie Greg Little, who dropped a easy one right in front of fans, according to Tony Grossi.
     
  8. Gedc0143_jpg_medium  Cornerback Joe Haden has been having tight coverage throughout camp so far. (photo credit: National Football Authority, Daniel Wolf)

  9. Two-Minute and Goal Line Drills: The Browns started working on their two-minute offense and goal line situations for the first time in camp. On one goal line drill, Seneca Wallace hit tight end Jordan Cameron for a touchdown (side note: yes, Cameron was back today after cramping up on Monday). Will we see the Browns put a lot of tight ends into the game down near the goal line for the double blocking and receiving threats? McCoy's interception to Skrine earlier came in the two-minute drill.
     
  10. Players Still Limited or Out: Running back Montario Hardesty suited up, but was still held out of team drills to avoid significant contact. They are taking it really easy with him. At some point you're going to have to let the guy get hit to see if he can handle it. Mohamed Massaquoi, Joshua Cribbs, Eric Steinbach, Ben Watson, and Sidney Tarver remained out. Defensive tackle Travis Ivey returned and was back on the field with the second-team defense. Defensive end Jabaal Sheard kept having some hamstring issues, so the team held him out most of practice.
     
  11. Other Interceptions: It was supposedly a bit of a frustrating day for McCoy. Besides the interception to Skrine (which Shurmur attributed to a miscommunication), McCoy threw an interception right at linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, according to Wolf. Third-string quarterback Jarrett Brown continues to display a cannon and have a grip on making the roster, but he was intercepted by defensive back DeAngelo Smith in 7-on-7 drills.
     
  12. Young Lineman Showing Off: I haven't heard much about Jason Pinkston this training camp yet, but the Nate Ulrich of the ABJ liked what he saw from another young offensive tackle: "Offensive lineman Branndon Braxton had a strong showing in one-on-one blocking drills. He stood his ground every time."
     
  13. Brownies: Rookie kicker Jeff Wolfert was hitting kicks pretty well from the 45-yard range...defensive end Jayme Mitchell will be No. 92 this season...Peyton Hillis was said to be looking like a "beast" in the goal line drills...tight end Alex Smith, who was on the roster last year, is not doing anything that would prevent him from making the roster...

Monday's Link Collection / Camp Sources

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