At the conclusion of the Cleveland Browns' three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday, head coach Pat Shurmur spoke about how beneficial it has been to have a true "offseason" compared to the dead periods of the lockout a year ago:
"It’s very refreshing, because there is a certain amount of work that we as coaches think we need to get done in the offseason to prepare for training camp and then the season. It was a little uneasy for all 32 of us last year when we weren’t able to do or go through the process that we were used to going through. I feel better about the direction now, because I can see guys getting work done here in the offseason."
All that remains is the final round of organized team activities (OTA's) next week, which will last four days; after that, the next big event will be over a month away (training camp). We can't wait, right Browns fans? After the jump is a brief recap of what the media saw on the final day of full-squad minicamp.
1. Weeden - A Little Flat Early On: Based on the way things sounded, if you had walked up to minicamp and caught the beginning of practice, Brandon Weeden would not have looked like a very competent quarterback. Burge notes that he horribly underthrew a ball early on, and cornerback Dimitri Patterson baited him into another throw. Colt McCoy, on the other hand, was deemed as having a "solid practice" by Ulrich.
2. Just Getting Warmed Up: Even though Weeden struggled early, he reportedly turned it on a little bit later, connecting on two touchdown passes to Greg Little and one to Jordan Norwood in 11-on-11 drills. Burge also notes that Weeden was vocally confident in the huddle:
At the start of red zone 7 on 7 drills, Brandon Weeden walked into the huddle and said "We’re catching everything!" to his receivers. He then connected on a 7 yard pass to Ben Watson and followed that up with a TD pass to Greg Little in traffic. Joe Thomas talked about Weeden taking command of the huddle and letting everyone knows he is in control. He said, "That’s kind of what you expect your quarterback to do and it’s nice to see him do those things."
3. What Did Evan Moore Do? Two different perspectives on this one; one from Burge, and one from Ulrich:
Weeden threw an interception to Usama Young that was not his fault, however. It was a fade route in the corner of the end zone that Evan Moore totally gave up on allowing Young to get the pick. (Burge)
Free safety Usama Young gained position in front of tight end Evan Moore in the end zone and picked off a pass from Weeden. (Ulrich)
Many of us have been very optimistic about Moore, but he does seem to have some of those moments where, as a fan, you find yourself sitting their silent, trying to surmise an excuse for why Moore didn't execute on the play.
4. Starting Units Remain Firm: When the media could only see an isolated OTA here and there, there were some doubts as to who would be in the starting lineup. After seeing the same guys for three consecutive days, it's definitely fair to say that Eric Hagg remains the favorite at safety over Usama Young. Owen Marecic remained at fullback and Scott Paxson remained at defensive tackle, but you have to believe those spots could be up for grabs.
5. Undrafted Spark: Undrafted cornerback Emanual Davis reportedly had a nice day, intercepting a pass from Seneca Wallace and batting another away from Brandon Weeden.
6. Not So Distant: On the first day of minicamp, Phil Dawson came a couple of yards shy of drilling a 70-yard field goal. On the final day of minicamp (and perhaps his final day until training camp), Dawson came a few yards shy on a 65-yard attempt. That is the difference that the lack of wind can have on kicks, especially from long distance.
7. Shurmur Erupts at the Thought of Getting Docked: After seeing what happened to Seattle, Shurmur could not have been pleased about this (from Burge):
D’Qwell Jackson tackled Evan Moore after a catch and then slapped him on the helmet as Moore sat on the ground complaining. Antwuan Reed, a rookie DB out of Pitt, tackled Jermaine Saffold after a catch near the sideline and Pat Shurmur exploded. He stopped practice and screamed at Reed for tackling.
Congratulations, Reed, for finding yourself at the bottom of the totem pole.
Sources for the Information Above
- News, notes, and observations from Browns minicamp (Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal)
- Minicamp observations (Burge, ESPN Cleveland)