The Cleveland Browns rookies took to the practice field in Berea for their first training camp session of the season. The practice was open to the media, but first round draft picks Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden were not the guys the media were interested in seeing -- after all, they had already seen the two work together earlier this offseason in OTA's and minicamps. Instead, all eyes were on wide receiver Josh Gordon.
Taken in the supplemental draft a few weeks ago, this was the first time Gordon practiced with any of his teammates. The first thing that everyone commented on was his size -- he stands out compared to the other receivers due to his 6-3, 225 pound frame. Will Burge from ESPN Cleveland said "Gordon is head and shoulders taller than all other receivers at Browns training camp today." One thing to remember is that some of the other rookies are pretty small, like Travis Benjamin, Josh Cooper, and Bert Reed, each of whom are 5-10. Rookie Owen Spencer was there too, and he is listed at 6-3.
One of the reasons Gordon stood out is that head coach Pat Shurmur made sure that he was not neglected. After missing the offseason practices up until this point, he wanted to make sure the rookie was doing things the right way. According to the OBR, Gordon "was being taught after nearly every drill by the coaches after having no off-season with the team. It appeared the coaches are trying to get the rookie up to speed as quickly as possible." In his post-practice presser, Shurmur confirmed the team's intentions to speed things up for Gordon:
(On how long it will take Gordon to make up the ground from not having an offseason)- "We’ll see. From what I can tell already, he is a quick learner. We’ve kind of amped it up for him so we could get him going quickly. It’s obvious to me that he understands how to play the position. He gets lined up well, understands coverage adjustments. It’s just a matter of him getting familiar with our terminology so we’ll see. We’ll see how quickly he can do it and we’ll throw him in with the rest of the guys and I think it will be obvious to all of us."
Gordon also commented on how his first practice went:
(On his first impressions of practice) – "Definitely high tempo. It’s very different from college, with a faster tempo and a faster pace. I feel like I had a good taste of it coming into it and I feel like I was ready for it. I’m picking up the plays as fast as I can."
Another positive: Nate Ulrich from the Akron Beacon Journal noted that it seemed like Gordon caught every pass thrown to him except for one. Perhaps the one negative is that Gordon confirmed that he did fail a third drug test while he was at Utah. I'll stick with what I've said in the past -- until he does something wrong at the NFL level, I'm not going to worry about it.
There didn't appear to be any injuries to report from the rookie practice, although Gordon is still nursing the quad injury he suffered when working out for the supplemental draft. Gordon will be wearing #86 on his jersey this season. There were a few veteran players who participated in practice. The ones that have been confirmed are all of the other quarterbacks (Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, Thaddeus Lewis) and wide receiver Rod Windsor.
Some raw footage of the training camp session, including a couple of Weeden-to-Gordon connections, can be seen here.