The Cleveland Browns practiced at the stadium today for the annual Family Fun Day event. The format was different than it was the past couple of years under Eric Mangini and definitely had more of a regular "practice" vibe to it, but there were still some competitive portions of practice. I enjoyed what I saw, and with the Browns set to have four preseason games in the next couple of weeks, the elimination of a scrimmage is not really a big deal. I attended Saturday afternoon's session in person; my notes are listed after the jump.
TRAINING CAMP REPORT - DAY 8 (8/6/11)
Setting the Stage: I arrived to the stadium early because I wanted to make sure I got seats at the 50-yard line, but all the way at the top of the first set of seats so that I'd be in the shade and have a nice, wide view of the entire field. Since this year was not a scrimmage format, I didn't have to write down who was on what team (for depth purposes). All of the offensive players wore brown jerseys (quarterbacks in red), and all of the defensive players wore white jerseys.
Practice Format: In general, the practice format went in this order:
b. Position drills in different areas of the field
c. Red zone 11-on-11 drills, from the 20, 15, 10, and 5-yard lines.
d. Special teams (punting)
e. Offensive line vs. defensive line on one side, and 7-on-7 offense vs. defense on the other side
f. From midfield, 11-on-11 drills
g. Special teams (kickoffs)
h. Simulated series, 11-on-11 drills, where the downs and yardage are kept track of
i. Two-minute drills, with 1:35 on the clock starting from your own 35-yard line
j. Autograph sessions for the fans and interviews
Position Drill Notes: I didn't take a lot of notes from the position drills. A few of the notes I made involved the wide receivers. On two basic warmups, Carlton Mitchell dropped one pass and had a big-time bobble on another one. He seemed fine after that, but just had some early issues. Greg Little could not haul in a pass in the end zone that was high, but I thought he could've got with better effort. He made up for it on a redux, same location and everything, but this time he made a one-handed catch.
Red Zone Practice Notes: This is going to be broken down into eight parts: productivity from the 20, 15, 10, and 5-yard lines, for both the first- and second-units. In each scenario, the first-team offense was given three opportunities to score. The second-team offense was given two opportunities to score.No matter the outcome of the play, the next snap came back to the original spot.
Red Zone (McCoy from the 20): First attempt, McCoy makes a sweet-looking pump fake and then throw it to Peyton Hillis on the sideline for a good gain. Second attempt, McCoy makes a nice throw to the left. Two defenders have their backs turned and Ben Watson has the ball go in and out of his hands as he is going to the ground. Watson waves his hand in front of his face to say his vision was blocked out by the defender. The final attempt was thrown to Brian Robiskie, but cornerback Sheldon Brown knocked it away.
Red Zone (Wallace from the 20): First attempt, Wallace hands off to Quinn Porter who makes a nice cut to get some yardage. Second attempt, Evan Moore floats open in the back of the left corner of the end zone and Wallace floats it past two defenders for a touchdown.
Red Zone (McCoy from the 15): First attempt, McCoy throws a pass well behind Carlton Mitchell, who reaches back and tips the ball. Safety Usama Young is right there and gets his hands on the ball, but ends up deflecting it too far away to miss out on the interception. Second attempt, McCoy hits Joshua Cribbs on a crossing route. The final attempt was McCoy handing the ball off to Peyton Hillis. Hillis just looks so cool any time he has the ball in his hands.
Red Zone (Wallace from the 15): First attempt, Wallace tucked the ball in after not seeing anyone open and ran it up the middle. Quarterback runs are pretty cheap in these type of drills, where contact is not really being made, especially on the quarterbacks. Second attempt, Wallace hands the ball off to Brandon Jackson, who runs up the middle.
Red Zone (McCoy from the 10): First attempt, McCoy throws a nice little screen pass to Peyton Hillis that probably could've gone for a touchdown. Second attempt, hits Ben Watson for a completion. The final attempt saw McCoy handing the ball off to Brandon Jackson.
Red Zone (Wallace from the 10): First attempt, Wallace tries a screen on the left side to Brandon Jackson. Second attempt, Wallace connects with Carlton Mitchell for a touchdown.
Red Zone (McCoy from the 5): First attempt, McCoy throws a quick out to Greg Little on the right. Second attempt, McCoy throws a high rocket in the left corner of the end zone. Blanketed by two defenders, Greg Little made an awesome leaping grab for a touchdown. On the final attempt, McCoy zipped a pass right by a defender's hand over the middle to Evan Moore for a touchdown.
Red Zone (Wallace from the 5): First attempt, Wallace hands off to Brandon Jackson. Second attempt, Wallace hits Greg Little over the middle for an open score. After the catch, which was the final play of red zone drills, Little did a backwards dunk on the goal post to draw more cheers from the crowd.
Punting Drills: This was my first look at new punter Richmond McGee. I wasn't blown away by what I saw. The returners were just fielding the ball, not returning it. When you take that into account, the distance of his punts were (roughly) 45, 43, 35, 33, 15, 46, 48, 58. If you're wondering what some of those extremes are, here are the explanations: the 33 yard punt was him trying to pin the ball inside the 10 (it landed at the 12), the 15 yard punt was an awful shank that made me cringe, and the 58 yard punt was inflated after the punt returner let it go and it took a good bounce. The shank made me nervous; didn't have that at all from Reggie Hodges last year.
Midfield 11-on-11 Practice Notes: The ball was placed near mid-field for these plays. The distribution went like this: McCoy and the first-team offense got four plays twice, Wallace and the second-team offense got two plays twice, and Jarrett Brown finally got some work...with one play twice.
Midfield 11-on-11 (McCoy): On the first play, McCoy did a playaction fake and was set up to go deep. He fired it down the middle of the field with Brian Robiskie and Sheldon Brown the only players there. It wasn't a horrible throw (a little underthrown), but Robiskie couldn't haul in the pass with Brown perhaps getting a piece of it at the last second. The second play was a pitch to Peyton Hillis. The third play was a handoff from a split back formation to Hillis. The fourth play was McCoy rolling out and seeing Jayme Mitchell in his face. McCoy had Ben Watson open, but couldn't get a great throw to him due to Mitchell's towering stature. Thus, it was only a small completion instead of in stride.
The second time the first-team offense came on the field, McCoy threw a short pass to Peyton Hillis a little to the left on the first play. All I know is that the ball bounced off Hillis somehow, and safety Mike Adams capitalized by grabbing it and taking it to the house for a pick six. The second play was a handoff to Hillis. The third play saw McCoy check down to Hillis in the flat, but Scott Fujita was RIGHT there. If that was a game, Fujita would've had a clean shot at drilling Fujita. Would've been interesting to see who would've gotten the better of that hit (not worth it in practice, of course). The final play saw a breakdown in coverage. Evan Moore was being covered by D'Qwell Jackson, and Jackson seemed to release Moore, expecting backside help. Moore caught the pass and went all the way (~45-50 yards) to the end zone for a touchdown.
Midfield 11-on-11 (Wallace): The first play for Wallace was a busted one. Wallace went right looking to hand off to Brandon Jackson, but Jackson had gone to the left. The second play was a pass to Jackson in the flat.
The second time the second-team offense came on the field, Wallace got the ball to Jackson again for the first play. On Wallace's final play, he hit Rod Windsor for a couple of yards.
Midfield 11-on-11 (Brown): I got a little giddy seeing Jarrett Brown get onto the field, because I wanted to see his arm. He only had two plays in this drill, and they weren't consecutive. Both plays were very similar -- he made very quick reads, spotting tight end Alex Smith open and fired the ball to him for big gains.
Simulated Series Notes: For this part of practice, the first-team offense faced the second-team defense. The second-team offense faced the first-team defense. I'm not sure who Brown faced, but I'm guessing the second/third-team defense. I didn't realize they were keeping track of downs at first, so unfortunately I didn't start tracking that data until the two-minute stuff later.
Simulated Series Summary (McCoy): There were a couple of early handoffs to Hillis. Then, on a second down, McCoy went for Brian Robiskie deep again. This time he was double teamed, and Eric Hagg was there with a diving attempt at an interception. The pass fell incomplete. On a fourth down, McCoy scrambled up the middle to move the chains. McCoy got the ball to Hillis, but he was stuffed for a loss of five yards by Brian Schaefering. On the final play of the drive, McCoy tried to hit Robiskie again, but Ramzee Robinson broke up the pass.
Simulated Series Summary (Wallace): This wasn't a great series for the offense. On the first play, I believe it was Dimitri Patterson who came in and got into Wallace's face, forcing an incompletion. The second play was a handoff to Brandon Jackson. The final play was another incompletion, but it seemed like Jayme Mitchell got pressure and stopped right before he could've forced the issue on Wallace if he wanted to.
Simulated Series Summary (Brown): Brown didn't waste time showing off his arm, as he hit L.J. Castile for about 17 yards. A false start flag was thrown, which seemed out of place. Quinn Porter got a handoff and all of a sudden, Steve Octavien came in aggressive and took him down for a tackle. The next play was another rollout from Brown and connection with Castile for good yardage. After a dumpoff to Porter, the next play saw Octavien kill Porter again for a loss of four yards. The last play saw Brown throw a back shoulder pass to Chris Matthews. Matthews went to the ground and I thought he had it, but he misjudged it a little and it went right through him.
Two Minute Drill Notes: This is the end of practice. There is 1:35 on the clock, and teams start at their own 35-yard line, 65 yards away from the end zone.
Two Minute Drill (McCoy):
1st-and-10 @ own 35: McCoy throws incomplete, intended for Joshua Cribbs.
2nd-and-10 @ own 35: McCoy throws to Brian Robiskie for only a yard.
3rd-and-9 @ own 34: On a pass intended for Joshua Cribbs, McCoy forced the issue and was intercepted by rookie undrafted free agent cornerback James Dockery. Not a good decision.
Two Minute Drill (Wallace):
1st-and-10 @ own 35: Wallace throws to Brandon Jackson for five yards.
2nd-and-10 @ own 40: Wallace throws to Brandon Jackson for no gain. A penalty was thrown, Evan Moore might have been held. It nets a first down.
1st-and-10 @ own 45: Wallace throws to Evan Moore for ten yards.
1st-and-10 @ opp 45: Wallace dumps the ball off to Brandon Jackson for 15 yards.
1st-and-10 @ opp 30: Wallace scambles for big yardage, but referee throws the flag. Someone must have been holding, and the next play indicates it was a seven-yard loss overall.
2nd-and-17 @ opp 37: With 25 seconds left, Wallace threw it toward Evan Moore as he was turning around. Moore didn't see it right away, so it bounced off him and went incomplete.
3rd-and-17 @ opp 37: I didn't catch who got the ball here, but it was a gain of five without getting out of bounds.
4th-and-12 @ opp 32: Phil Dawson and the special teams units raced onto the field. They were set up just in time, but the offense that was on the field was confused. A few players were still racing off. The ball was snapped with a second left, but because too many players were on the field, the good field goal didn't matter. No points.
Two Minute Drill (Brown):
1st-and-10 @ own 35: Brown throws to Juan Nunez for a pickup of 12 yards.
1st-and-10 @ own 47: Brown didn't see anyone open, but saw the sideline free. He took off and started running, but then dropped the football. He reached down and scooped it back up before scrambling for a couple more yards.
1st-and-10 @ opp 42: Brown tried to throw a pass, but it was low and batted down by defensive lineman Travis Ivey.
2nd-and-10 @ opp 42: Brown stumbled as the ball was coming out to him. He gathered his balance, but then stumbled again and almost fell down. He made up for it and rolled out before firing a rocket to L.J. Castile for a gain of ten and a first down.
1st-and-10 @ opp 32: Brown ran a draw play and handed to Armond Smith for a loss of a yard.
2nd-and-11 @ opp 33: Brown throws to Juan Nunez for a gain of 6 yards.
3rd-and-5 @ opp 27: There wasn't enough time to safely run another play, so backup kicker Jeff Wolfert was brought out. He connected on the 44-yard field goal, drawing first blood for an offense in the two minute drills.
Two Minute Drill (McCoy): I thought that would be it, but McCoy came back out for one more try.
1st-and-10 @ own 35: McCoy tried getting the ball to Ben Watson, but Eric Hagg broke up the pass.
2nd-and-10 @ own 35: McCoy found Joshua Cribbs in stride over the middle for a first down.
1st-and-10 @ own 48: McCoy threw the ball quickly to the right, but Ben Watson wasn't even looking and the pass was incomplete. Miscommunication.
2nd-and-10 @ own 48: McCoy dumped the ball off to Brandon Jackson for a meager 2 yard gain.
3rd-and-8 @ midfield: McCoy found Johnathan Haggerty for an 8 yard gain and a first down.
1st-and-10 @ opp 43: McCoy could only find Brandon Jackson for a gain of a yard.
2nd-and-9 @ opp 42: With seven seconds left, McCoy tried to run a play but just threw it out of bounds on the left sideline. One second remained.
3rd-and-9 @ opp 42: Here we go, the final play of practice! Phil Dawson came in to try a 59 yard field goal. The kick looked to have the distance, but it sailed just right to close out the session.
Injury Report: The following players were held out of practice: WR Mohamed Massaquoi (foot), CB Joe Haden (hamstring), WR Jordan Norwood (hip flexor), TE Jordan Cameron (hamstring), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), LB Sydney Tarver (unknown), DL Jabari Fletcher (knee). LB Marcus Benard hurt his knee during the practice, but it isn't believed to be serious. WR Carlton Mitchell reportedly had to sit out part-way through the session after having issues with the heat.
Tune in to Dawgs By Nature on Sunday: If you didn't notice, much of today's training camp report read like a play-by-play script. I'm not sure whether you guys enjoyed that or not. If you didn't, there was a method to my madness. The play-by-play was to let everyone have a general vibe of what happened.
Since there is not a training camp session on Sunday, I am going to have two versions of The Sunday Five -- one a little before noon, and the other later in the day. One of the versions will include players who stood out during the practice with some of my observations you might be more accustomed to.
If you have any questions about the scrimmage, feel free to ask them here and I will try to answer them Sunday.
QB Colt McCoy gets ready to throw long, with DT Phil Taylor also trying to rush the passer on the play (photo credit: Official Team Website)
Saturday's Link Collection / Camp Sources
- Browns training camp report: live from Browns stadium (National Football Authority, Wolf)
- Cleveland Browns Fun Day at the stadium (Plain Dealer, Cabot)
- ClevelandBrowns.com photo gallery (41 pictures)