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Cleveland Browns Training Camp Report: Day 6 - CBA Ratified

If you're wondering why there was not a "Day 5" training camp report, I am counting the off day Wednesday as the fifth day of training camp. The team did accomplish some necessary things Wednesday too -- they held tryouts and signed a new punter, and they got first-round pick Phil Taylor up to speed on some things.

Since Thursday's session was moved to 4:10 PM, I was able to head out to Berea to witness the action in person. After the jump are my news and notes from the day, along with some of what the local media had to add.


    Gedc0222_jpg_medium  Colt McCoy and the offense get ready to run a play, but the session was not done in full pads. (photo credit: National Football Authority, Daniel Wolf)
  1. Better Prepared: When I went to my first training camp session on Monday, I didn't know what field the players would be on. I quickly learned that it was obvious to figure out where the players would be -- just look for the field that has the three high-rising machines with a cameraman on top. That's what I did, and even though I was sitting in the scorching hot sun for about 40 minutes before practice started, it was a lot funner to see the players in action up close.
  2. Win Some, Lose Some: In exchange for seeing the players up close on the field, I was a bit disappointed to see everyone come out without pads on, meaning the session was changed to a helmets-only practice. Bummer.
  3. Awaiting the CBA Ratification: As practice was getting ready to start, I was wondering where the players who were eligible to play on August 4 were. That was the purpose of moving the practice to 4:10 pm, but I really couldn't pick them out in the crowd. Then, I wondered if the team was waiting just to make sure they could practice, and it turns out that they were. According to reports, once the team got confirmation that the CBA was officially ratified (it's a done deal!), the players started getting into drills.
  4. You Don't Pass on Joe Haden: Do you know how we idolize Joe Thomas on offense? For a moment, let's ignore the fact that our receivers aren't considered a threatening group. We're going to start idolizing Joe Haden too because of how dominant he is. In one-on-one drills, he had his receiver blanketed every time. He's so far ahead of the other defensive backs, it's not even close. Sheldon Brown is going to be seeing a lot of action his way, so let's hope another year in the league hasn't slowed him down too much.
  5. Zebras on the Field: I'm guessing this was the first time that NFL officials were at camp this season. It was beneficial having the officials there to rule passes near the corner of the end zone as complete or incomplete, and I'm sure they brought the players up to speed with the new rules. Haden ended up chatting with one of the officials on the sideline for a little bit when he wasn't involved in a drill.
  6. Get Out of My Way: I watched a bunch of our receivers run routes, catch passes, etc. for almost an hour. Then, out of no where, I see this huge white guy line up as a receiver, grabbing my attention immediately. It was Evan Moore, who had just got in after the CBA was ratified. He made an immediate impact, and it seemed like the passing game revolved around him (with success) when he entered the game. He is taller than I expected, especially when he goes out and lines up on a defensive back.
  7. Gedc0191_jpg_medium   Cornerback Buster Skrine had a rough day against Cleveland's bigger receivers. (photo credit: National Football Authority, Daniel Wolf)

  8. Play of the Day: My favorite play? It involved Evan Moore. On a pass from Seneca Wallace in the corner of the end zone, Moore made a one-handed catch as he was going to the ground, beating cornerback Buster Skrine on the play.
  9. Skrine Getting Picked On: I'm not looking to trash the rookie, but this was the practice that Buster Skrine was picked on it seemed. I loved seeing receiver Carlton Mitchell get physical in an early one-on-one drill, as he made his defensive back stumble upon contact and broke wide open (~15 yards separation). Then, there was the aforementioned play to Moore, among others in which receivers used their size to get the upper hand on him.
    I'm sure he'll have better days ahead of him, perhaps when he's allowed to be more aggressive with pads on. That's one thing you have to remember -- without pads or contact, the defenders are going to look more tentative than they usually would.
  10. Missed Opportunities for Little: If Skrine had the down day on defense, I'd say receiver Greg Little had the down day on offense. He was no match for Joe Haden, but also seemed to struggle against other defensive backs. He didn't drop passes that were right in his hands, but they were the type of passes that in an NFL game, you'd hope your receiver can use their size to come away with the catch. He had a bad stretch where I felt he was about 0-for-5 in these situations. He had a couple of grabs later in practice in the red zone which Pat Shurmur praised him for, but it sounded more like he was trying to keep the receiver's confidence up.
  11. Wallace, Weatherhead Off Target: I'm not sure what was up with Seneca Wallace today. Way too many of his passes were overthrown in my opinion. Daniel Wolf of National Football Authority noted that the team seemed to run some longer routes in the West Coast Offense today, and I agree with him. Perhaps Wallace just needed some work getting used to the expanded offense. I thought Troy Weatherhead looked pretty inaccurate on several throws; I wouldn't really call him a serious contender to take the No. 3 quarterback role from Jarrett Brown. Today, Colt McCoy was the most accurate of the bunch, although I'd still like to see him make some quicker decisions.
  12. No True Picks Today: I didn't see any quarterback-caused interceptions today, so that's at least a little step forward for the quarterbacks. Then again, the lack of contact probably favors the receivers again. Cornerback Darian Hagan had an interception after a pass deflected off the hands of Greg Little.
  13. Returning to the Lineup: Besides the players scheduled to return on August 4, tight end Ben Watson was back from his concussion, and receiver Carlton Mitchell returned too. Joshua Cribbs was still held out of team drills. The only thing I saw him doing was fielding kickoffs from the machine that shoots out the footballs before the practice started, so I'd say he's close to returning. Running back Montario Hardesty seemed to be limited again. I didn't realize it, but Tony Grossi says that offensive guard Eric Steinbach was playing with the first-team offense, so he must be on the regular roster again.
  14. Out of Action: No sign of Mohamed Massaquoi on the field, and tight end Jordan Cameron was held out with a hamstring injury. Rookie offensive lineman Jason Pinkston sat out with a shoulder problem, but it's not serious. Wide receiver Jordan Norwood suffered a hip flexor during practice, but Shurmur said it's not serious again.
  15. Multi-Back Formations: Maybe it's just me, but I felt that I saw quite a few multi-back situations (without a fullback) that the team passed out of, with one play being a delayed draw play to Peyton Hillis. When Hardesty gets back, I really feel like we'll be seeing he and Hillis on the field at the same time.
  16. New Punter Stats: I was getting scorched by the sun, so I headed over to the shade and eventually left when new punter Richmond McGee must have took the field. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal says that McGee went 2-of-6 at getting punts downed inside the ten yard line, which is meh. CBS Sports had this to say:
    New P Richmond McGee was unimpressive in practice. His hang time was OK, but his kicks fell woefully short. McGee, who averaged just 39 yards a punt at the University of Texas, is not locked in as the starter, but he's the only punter currently in camp.
  17. Camp Sights and Sounds:
    (after seeing Moore make a one-handed catch, from a distance) "What was that guy's name again, I think it began with an 'h.'" (slight pause) "Heiden, that's it."
    "All right Joe Haden!" (Haden gestures to fans on the sideline)
    "Looks like another Braylon Edwards, hahahaha." (some guy after Little's first drop, and the laugh irritated me)
    "Look how tall Moore is." (regarding Moore standing right in front of us on the sideline)
  18. Brownies: I didn't catch much of the new players in action, but Usama Young and Phil Taylor did seem to be running with the first-team offense...Wolf liked the explosiveness he saw from defensive end Jayme Mitchell, and says Marcus Benard was running with the second-string defense at end...receiver Johnathan Haggerty had a good practice, and I felt like I saw less of Demetrius Williams...before getting hurt, Jordan Norwood was again practicing fielding kickoffs, and Joe Haden did punts.

Thursday's Link Collection / Camp Sources