Day 3 of Cleveland Browns training camp took place on Monday. There were less fans on hand -- 3,048 fans attended the session, according to the team -- but that can probably be attributed to the fact that it was pouring rain up until about a half hour before the gates opened in Berea. The Browns chose to keep practice outdoors, and it paid off. This was the first practice in which the players were in full pads, so let's get to the recap of what went down.
CLEVELAND BROWNS TRAINING CAMP REPORT - DAY 3 (7/28/14)
- Johnson Bademosi drilled WR Nate Burleson during practice, I'd assume after he caught a pass. The pads were on and head coach Mike Pettine wanted things to be physical, but also smart.
"I don’t like that," remarked Pettine, when asked about Bademosi's hit on Burleson after practice. "It’s football and sometimes instincts take over to kind of drop the shoulder, but we don’t want to do that to each other. It still falls back to the competitive, not combative. I told the guys that that stuff is not going to help them make the team. We want to be tough. We want to be nasty, but we want to play within the rules. We certainly want to protect each other while we’re practicing."Special teamers' jobs are never safe when a new coaching staff rolls into town, so Bademosi needs to make sure he saves those big hits for the preseason games.
: In this context, the Dawg House isn't a place you want to be. According to reporters in attendance, backup DB
Overall QB Vibe Still Favors Hoyer: Browns fans and the media were excited when the team selected QB Johnny Manziel, and while the buzz is certainly still there, I think people are accepting the fact sooner rather than later that Hoyer is indeed going to begin the year as the starter. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora was on sight today:
Pretty clear here that Hoyer is much more comfortable and effective than Manziel so far. Not even really close during this session— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) July 28, 2014
Starting to Mix Things in for Manziel: It wasn't a bad day for QB Johnny Manziel, who reportedly performed better than he did on Sunday. Perhaps one of the things that made him more comfortable is the fact that the offensive plays started being called differently for Manziel than for Hoyer. Manziel ran plays from the read-option, the Pistol, and on the run, according to Kevin Jones of Browns.com.
Gordon's Reps on the Rise: Over the first two days of practice, WR Josh Gordon was running with the third-team offense, and we speculated that the team might be intentionally doing that until they know whether he'll be suspended or not. That wasn't the case on Monday, though, as Gordon was back to receiving reps like a top receiver would typically get.
I read something that speculated Gordon was simply being "eased back into the lineup" because he wasn't able to work out as much while he was checked into rehab, which would be a good point. Gordon was on the receiving end of a 30-35-yard strike from QB Johnny Manziel, which gave fans a glimpse into the future.
Kickoff Return Candidates: According to Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland, the primary candidates for the kick return job right now, in no particular order, include a trio of wide receivers: Travis Benjamin, Andrew Hawkins, and Anthony Armstrong. Rookie CB Justin Gilbert is also taking some kickoff return reps in practice, but Pettine has already come out and said that Gilbert would be an absolute last resort on kickoffs, and that he'd closing his eyes (presumably, hoping he avoids injury) until the return was over. Benjamin still remains the favorite to be the punt returner.
Gilbert Comes on Strong: It was a great day for rookie CB Justin Gilbert, who stood up to the challenge of the Browns' receivers. His big day included "ripping a ball away" from WR Andrew Hawkins in one-on-one drills for an interception and breaking up several passes. The rest of the secondary is playing at a competitive level too:
J. Gilbert looks the part of a first round pick. Size & athleticism show up. Desir is huge. Skrine, bigger in person. Flying all over.— ryan (@RyInCBus) July 28, 2014
Oh, Did We Say He Could Cover? One of the big things we've been touting about the inside linebacker competition is that Chris Kirksey would figure to have the edge over Craig Robertson because his coverage abilities. Well, Kirksey jumped a pass that QB Johnny Manziel threw on the run and turned it into a pick six, which got the defense excited. We've seen reports that Kirksey is also being used in a pass-rushing role, so the Browns are throwing things at him to see what he can handle. Robertson does still remain with the first-team defense, though.
Armstrong & Gabriel Continue to Deliver: While fans were expecting to hear names like WR Chandler Jones and WR Charles Johnson rising to stardom this training camp, the two "unknowns" who are making a splash include WR Anthony Armstrong and WR Taylor Gabriel. Armstrong caught another pair of long-range passes from QB Brian Hoyer, and Gabriel is catching everything that comes his way.
Maybe there will be room for two undersized receivers (the other being WR Andrew Hawkins). Here is what Kevin Jones of Browns.com said about Gabriel:
The undrafted wide receiver hauled in an outstretched leaping catch on Buster Skrine and caught another deep one. The rookie from Abilene Christian is only 5-foot-8. But so far his size has not dictated his visible impact.
I think UDFA WR Taylor Gabriel might make this squad. In the slot with the 1s for 7 on 7s. #BrownsCamp14— ryan (@RyInCBus) July 28, 2014
Injury Updates: WR Travis Benjamin and WR Charles Johnson both had scheduled days off, as a precaution as they return from torn ACLs. ILB Tank Carder and TE Gary Barnidge were both activated from the non-football injury list. Carder practiced, but Barnidge did not. DE Billy Winn and NT Phil Taylor both remain idle, as does OG John Greco.
- Brownies: FB Ray Agnew caught a touchdown off of a bootleg rollout from QB Johnny Manziel down at the goal line. ... There was a fumbled handoff exchange between QB Connor Shaw and RB Isaiah Crowell, per Ulrich. ... CB Buster Skrine had an interception on QB Johnny Manziel. ... The Browns will do live tackling in Thursday's and Saturday's session, which means I'm probably screwed for Friday's session that I'll be attending. ... Mike Pettine Sr. attended practice on Monday. ... The Browns will be back on the field Tuesday morning for Day 4 of training camp.
Photos & Videos from Twitter
A boatload of video clips provided by Fred Greetham of FOX Sports Ohio here.
Link Collection / Training Camp Sources
- First day in pads; Justin Gilbert shines (Cabot, Plain Dealer)
- Browns notebook: Joe Thomas praises Brian Hoyer (Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal)
- 2014 Browns training camp snapshot: Day 3 (Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal)
- Defense continues to hold the upper hand (Grossi, ESPN Cleveland)
- Read option makes early appearance in Kyle Shanahan’s offense (Petrak, Chronicle-Telegram)
- Browns Pop Pads, Rookies Kirksey & Gilbert Shine On Day 3 (Ruiter, 92.3 the Fan)
- Cleveland Browns strap on the pads (Jones, Browns.com)
Browns Camp Report: Day 3 (McManamon, ESPN)