I attended Monday morning's practice and took some good notes. Unfortunately, when I arrived home, when I turned my computer on, the fans were blowing loudly and non-stop like jet engines, and the computer would not boot. I tried all of the troubleshooting techniques I know of, but none of them worked. It might be a power supply issue, so I'm working on getting a new one. After being frustrated with that all day, I'm still going to try to deliver a report from today's session.
Forgive me for any typos, the computer I'm on now has a monitor that makes it look like I'm looking through a pair of glasses that are the opposite of what I'm supposed to wear. Also, I'll try to add a photo or two Tuesday morning.
TRAINING CAMP REPORT - DAY 10 (8/8/11)
Perfect Weather Day: I don't think the players or fans will have a better day weather-wise the rest of training camp. As a fan, one of the worst parts of camp has been having the sun melting me as I stand still for the duration of practice. Monday was different -- I'd say there was cloud cover for about 80% of practice, and that definitely made practice a lot easier to sit through. This also seemed to be the most attended camp of the three I've been to in Berea, which surprised me considering it had been raining a little bit just prior to the session.
Early Nightmare Avoided: One of the first thing teams went through were the position drills. Right in front of me were the quarterbacks, and the first thing they were doing was practicing their drop step left, then right, then left, then right, etc. for a good chunk of yardage. The first time that Colt McCoy did it, I saw an equipment bag had been left near midfield. Sure enough, McCoy was backing up fast, and was about two-three strides away from the equipment bag. I thought to myself, "oh god, I'm going to witness an end to McCoy right here." Thankfully, one of the assistants yelled, "hey, watch out for that bag, McCoy," which promoted him to stop. He turned around and looked at the bag as an equipment manager moved it out of the way. Disaster averted, whew.
Joe Haden, Jordan Norwood Return: It was good to see cornerback Joe Haden participating fully in drills again. The same goes for wide receiver Jordan Norwood, who was back to playing the slot with the first team offense. You can add defensive end Marcus Benard to the list of players who returned too, although he never ended up missing a full practice after hurting his knee Saturday at the stadium.
Third String Lowlights: I usually like to highlight players, but unfortunately, I need to point out some of the "lowlights" from players who really don't have that great of a chance at making the team. Quarterback Troy Weatherhead could not throw the ball to the chest of an assistant coach in a simple drill early in practice. On two occasions, he threw the ball well over the guy's head. In terms of accuracy, he is clearly separated from the other quarterbacks, and not in a good way. Running back Armond Smith had two drops in an offense-only drill, and so did fullback Tyler Clutts.
Jackson > Hardesty: Based on what I've seen from Brandon Jackson so far, I've drawn this conclusion: Montario Hardesty should probably be the third running back to start off the season. Jackson has been one of the team's best receivers in camp. The team especially ran a lot of drills with him today in which he started in the backfield and did a wheel route to the sideline. On one play, there was tight coverage on Jackson but he kept his concentration and hauled in a perfect pass by Seneca Wallace. It's hard to gauge how well Jackson will run against a live defense, but he's getting good work in during some two-back sets.
Formation I'm Liking: I liked seeing the offense run this play in offense-only drills: fullback Owen Marecic lines up behind Colt McCoy, and Peyton Hillis lines up to the right of Marecic. On the snap, McCoy goes for a playfake, Hillis runs the wheel, and Marecic blocks the direction McCoy rolls. McCoy then fires a pass down the sideline to Hillis. If the defenders come up on that play, Hillis (or whoever else we put in that situation) have the hands to catch the ball down the field.
Mulligan, Please? There was an ugly portion of practice, and with a veteran like Seneca Wallace under center, I feel more inclined to blame the people he's playing with. On one play, about six offensive guys jumped early for a false start. On the next play, the quarterback/center exchange resulted in a fumble. Wallace picked it up and had to throw it away.
Hurry Up Drill: For about two minutes of practice, the Browns ran a drill in which the offense ran one quick passing play and they raced off the field as the field goal unit rushed on to the field. They would quickly set up and get the kick off as soon as possible. After that, regular field goal kicking was worked on, with the crowd in awe any time Dawson's kicks hit the camera lift.
Moore Leads All: I think Evan Moore is the best receiver on the team. I am really high on this guy, maybe even more so than I used to be on Jerome Harrison. Moore delivered another good practice session on Monday, as he was no match for the defenders he was up against. He is one of the few players who works with the first-team offense and the second-team offense.
Another Good Tight End: It should also be known that tight end Alex Smith has been catching everything thrown his way, and most of the stuff he is getting is 10-15 yards down the field. That was the case during the Saturday practice too. He is getting a lot of reps with Jordan Cameron still resting. With Smith being considered a good blocker, I still stand by the fact that we'll keep four tight ends.
Regular Series: Each offensive unit had a chance to have a regular series against a defensive unit, with no real crunch on time in effect. The first-team defense faced the second-team offense (led by Seneca Wallace) to kick things off. The first-team offense won that easily, as they forced a three-and-out.
Up next was Colt McCoy and the first-team offense against the second-team defense. The first play was a handoff for 6 yards, followed by a nice pass to Ben Watson for 14 yards and a first down. On the next play, Peyton Hillis rumbled forward for a 15-yard gain. The next play was a quick slant to Greg Little...who dropped it. More on Little in the next bullet point. The next pass was a pass catchable, but also ahead of Cribbs, who couldn't haul it in. On third down, McCoy threw it to Owen Marecic in the flat. It would've been a gain for about five yards, but a defender came in and knocked the ball away.
Last up was the third-string offense (led by Jarrett Brown) versus the third-string defense. There were only two plays allowed. Jarrett Brown made a low throw over the middle to Evan Frosch that fell incomplete. On the next play, Brown way overshot Juan Nunez down the field.
Disappointed in Little: With this being the first year I've attended a training camp, it's not a good thing to see Greg Little consistently having so many drops on passes that are right at him. Most of the time I see him drop the ball, it looks like it's in a position where he expects to catch the ball and get ready to head up the field. It's not that he takes his eyes off the ball, but it looks like the anticipation factor might get in the way. He seems better when he knows he's already in the end zone and there's no where else to go. Little had about three more drops on Monday, a step back from Saturday.
Two Minute Drills: Toward the end of practice, the two-minute drills were run. First-teamers against first-teamers, and so on. There was 50 seconds on the clock to start each drill, and the offense started at midfield with one timeout. Here is how each unit did:
Two Minute Drill (First Teamers):
1st-and-10 @ 50, 0:50: McCoy throws to Hillis in the flat for 5 yards.
2nd-and-5 @ 45, 0:45: McCoy throws a deep out to Watson, but it falls incomplete.
3rd-and-5 @ 45, 0:39: McCoy hits Moore for 5 yards and a first down.
1st-and-10 @ 40, 0:22: McCoy is sacked for a loss of 5 yards. Timeout called. Should've called a timeout after Moore's completion.
2nd-and-15 @ 45, 0:15: McCoy's pass appears to be tipped, target unknown. Incomplete.
3rd-and-15 @ 45, 0:10: McCoy hits Moore, who gets pushed out of bounds after a gain of 14 yards. They might have given him a first down, but the next play is the last anyway due to time.
4th-and-1 @ 31, 0:04: McCoy gives Robiskie a chance in the end zone on a good attempt, but Sheldon Brown is there to defend the pass and knock it away.
Two Minute Drill (Second Teamers):
1st-and-10 @ 50, 0:50: Wallace passes to Jackson in the flat for no gain. They waste a TON of time getting the next play off.
2nd-and-10 @ 50, 0:30: Wallace throws the ball to Clutts for a 6 yard gain, but still in bounds.
3rd-and-4 @ 44, 0:11: Wallace throws to Jackson in the flat for 3 yards. Timeout called.
4th-and-1 @ 41, 0:06: It's Hail Mary time. Wallace heaves the ball into the end zone. No receivers are there yet, and James Dockery intercepts it for a touchback.
Two Minute Drill (Third Teamers):
1st-and-10 @ 50, 0:50: Brown fires the ball to Castile for 27 yards. They run up quick enough to keep things rolling.
1st-and-10 @ 23, 0:30: Brown goes for the kill and tries to hit Matthews in the end zone, but he can't haul it in.
2nd-and-10 @ 23, 0:23: Brown hits Windsor for a gain of 10 yards. He got out of bounds too.
1st-and-10 @ 13, 0:18: Brown drops back, has no where to go, and is sacked. Timeout called.
2nd-and-16 @ 19, 0:11: Brown throws it out of the back of the end zone in Windsor's direction.
3rd-and-16 @ 19, 0:06: Probably one play left. Brown throws it to the left corner of the end zone for Matthews. He tries to one hand the ball but it's incomplete. He complains that he was interfered with. They give it to him -- ball is placed at the one yard line with the clocks at 0:00.
1st-and-goal @ 1, 0:00: Brown rolls out and has the option to run. He takes it himself and scores from a yard out. Success!
Goal Line Plays: I could not see this from where I was at, so I'll quote what Tony Grossi said about it:
"On the Browns' first goal-line play today, right guard Shawn Lauvao got the better of defensive tackle Phil Taylor and Peyton Hillis plunged over for the touchdown. Later in the series, No. 4 tight end Alex Smith had two sliding catches."
- Brownies: It looked like Jarrett Brown might have been leading a scout-team offense (as Green Bay) during one-stretch of practice since he was facing the first-team defense...after some early drops, there was one weird stretch of practice where Tyler Clutts was targeted successfully on three straight plays...Chris Matthews has too many drops for his liking, I'm not sure if I'd even put him on the practice squad...Grossi notes that LB Chris Gocong had to leave practice with a stinger but should be fine.
Monday's Link Collection / Camp Sources
- Cleveland Browns training camp, August 8 (National Football Authority, Wolf)
- DE Marcus Benard needs to drop some weight (Plain Dealer, Grossi)
- Browns training camp log, Day 10 (Plain Dealer, Cabot)