The Cleveland Browns kicked off their three-day, full-squad minicamp Tuesday afternoon. It was Pat Shurmur's first minicamp of this kind as a head coach, considering the lockout last season prevented such offseason programs. It was also a time for quarterback Brandon Weeden to take full control of the starting job at quarterback, as the media will (presumably) be in attendance for all three days -- enough to give them a vibe of which guy is getting the most reps. On Day 1, it was Weeden, according to Will Burge of ESPN Cleveland:
Brandon Weeden took the initial snaps of team drills with the starting offense but throughout practice he and Colt McCoy rotated. I would estimate Weeden took about 70% of the first team snaps but McCoy led the 1’s later in practice when the team did 11 on 11 drills for a second time. After one series of leading the first team, however, Weeden stepped back in and played with the starters again.
Speaking of Weeden, how awesome does the picture to the right look? Being a former pitcher in a major league farm system, it is no surprise to see Weeden decked out in Cleveland Indians attire for his post-practice presser. I wonder if we'll see him make a couple of stops at Progressive Field before the baseball season concludes?
Some more notes on Tuesday's minicamp session are after the jump.
1. Reps for Hardesty and Jackson: Before the practice session kicked off, head coach Pat Shurmur met with the media. Despite speculation from some members of the media (and myself) about the status of Montario Hardesty this coming season, Shurmur seemed confident that all three backs will play and get their fair share of reps in the offense. There was no mention of Chris Ogbonnaya, so maybe some of us should re-consider our position on the team's backup running back situation.
2. On the Flip Side: Although Shurmur's "coach-speak" might say that Hardesty is safe, does it seem at all unusual that he would be receiving some reps on special teams? From Burge:
Hardesty took reps on special teams coverage and with the kickoff return team as a blocker. He did not look comfortable and you could tell he has not had much time at that position. At this point, he needs to embrace any chance possible to make the roster.
Hardesty also said he's lost some weight, per the Plain Dealer:
Hardesty said he's lost about 10 pounds and is about 214, but has maintained his strength. "I feel great,'' he said.
3. Weeden Goes Deep, McCoy Stays Short: Weeden has a cannon for an arm, and he's certainly not afraid to let loose often during practice. Weeden connected on deep bombs with Carlton Mitchell and Travis Benjamin during practice. Meanwhile, McCoy reportedly was sticking with the "short, dump off stuff." One report said that on his first deep ball attempt, McCoy overthrew Mohamed Massaquoi.
4. Hagg, Dockery Continue Looking Strong: Last year, undrafted free agent James Dockery made an impression in training camp and during the preseason and eventually made the final roster. He had an outstanding first day of minicamp, breaking up at least four-five passes. He also intercepted a pass by McCoy. Safety Eric Hagg continued working with the first-team defense, so I'd say it's safe to call him the favorite to start in Mike Adams' vacated spot. Shurmur on Hagg:
"We liked what we saw prior to him being injured in camp last year," Shurmur said. "I think he’s got very good instincts. I think he can do all the things that we’re talking about in terms of covering, playing parts of the field and then, of course, tackling. So that’s why we’ll think he’ll be a good player."
During practice, Hagg had a pick six on a short pass by Weeden intended for Joshua Cribbs.
5. Depth Chart for Kick Returners: Except for Scott Fujita returning to the first-team defense, there were no changes to the first-string units on offense and defense. According to a report, on kickoffs by Dawson, Joshua Cribbs went first, Travis Benjamin went second, and Buster Skrine went third on returns. Dockery also had a few reps. Speaking of Dawson, as noted earlier, he came two yards short of hitting a 70-yard field goal.
6. Brownies: Despite catching a deep pass from Weeden, Benjamin had two dropped passes...cornerback Dimitri Patterson had a strong day...defensive lineman Brian Schafering continued to miss practice after surgery...tight end Evan Moore "snatched" a pass out of the air from Seneca Wallace.
Lastly, here are two gems via Twitter reports regarding Weeden and Mitchell:
Daryl Ruiter @ RuiterWrongFAN
Weeden says he knows about 80% of play book and likes 99% of it; doesnt like some red zone plays he told Mark Whipple about
Sources for the Information Above
- Highlights from Pat Shurmur's pre-practice interview (Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal)
- News, notes, and observations from Browns minicamp (Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal)
- Shurmur says there's enough room for Hardesty and Jackson (Cabot, Plain Dealer)
- Minicamp observations (Burge, ESPN Cleveland)
Minicamp practice footage from ClevelandBrowns.com [VIDEO]