Please excuse the fact that this recap of the evening session from Monday may be a little less detailed. I got off to a late start today and don't want to fall into a trap that gets me behind on reporting today's session. Here are some notes from the Monday's evening session, which was highlighted by the return of a certain individual:
- No Myth: No one will have a feeling of hatred for Gary Baxter this season after the improbable comeback that he has almost completed. Baxter took a major step towards becoming the first player in NFL history to recover from his injury by stepping onto the practice field. Unlike other players in camp right now, it isn't about whether or not Baxter is making interceptions or playing picture perfect coverage right off the bat. The simple fact that he is out there and was so dedicated to returning instead of retiring shows that this man wants to play football. Considering what's happening to people like Pacman Jones in the NFL these days, Baxter has the opportunity to shine some positive light not only on the Browns' 2007 season, but throughout the entire league.
- Moving On: Now that I'm past the feel-good story, how about knowing what Baxter actually did yesterday? Baxter worked exclusively on individual drills, and will be doing so until he feels comfortable. Baxter feels good, and according to him, he could be participating in seven-on-seven drills next week if his luck continues.
- QB Competition: The quarterback competition is slowly, and I mean very slowly, starting to get more competitive. In fact, Derek Anderson had the slight edge on Frye for the first time in camp so far during last night's evening session. Overall, both quarterbacks were decent though, just like they've been throughout camp. Frye's problem yesterday seemed to be the fact that he was underthrowing his passes. The negative thing for Anderson here is that if he has another horrid practice, all of these "ok" practices will seem to be thrown out the window, since Frye's been more consistent.
- Steptoe/Cribbs: Not only could Cribbs and Steptoe each be filling a kick return role, they may both make the team with the intention of using them as receivers if Travis Wilson stays inconsistent. Steptoe and Cribbs have been catching the ball fairly well in camp. Not well enough to be starting receivers or anything like that, but well enough that they may get some more looks in preseason games.
- Thomas Starting: Still, Romeo Crennel is stating that Joe Thomas will have to unseat Kevin Shaffer. However, when Shaffer is seeing almost all of his reps at right tackle while Thomas anchors the left side, I think it's pretty clear what the team's intentions are. This is a time where it gets annoying to hear the coaches try to be "politically correct", although maybe it does boost Shaffer's morale for the time being; who knows.
- Christmas Holly: I haven't mentioned Daven Holly's name throughout any of the practices if I recall correctly. Just to keep up on him, there have been no signs of him playing poorly, which is a good thing. Holly should have the nickel back spot pretty much locked up.
- SMASH: Wide receiver Steve Sanders and linebacker Chaun Thompson intersected "violently" during practice, according to the OBR. I'd expect both players to be off of the final roster, despite the fact that I was upset at how we failed to incorporate Thompson's speed into the defensive rotation last year. Don't be surprised if Jason Short, a great special teams linebacker, makes it over him.