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Cleveland Browns Training Camp Report: Day 1 - Back to Business

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns officially opened their gates to training camp for the 2015 season Thursday at 8:30 AM. This is the second year that practices in Berea have gone through a registration process. Practices were capped at 4,000 fans last year, so I assume the same holds true for this year's camp. The first 3,000 fans to enter the gates received a free "Dawg Pound" T-Shirt with the new logo, courtesy of University Hospitals:

For those of you who are new readers to Dawgs By Nature, here is how our training camp recaps work: I go around and digest all of the reports and tweets made throughout the day by fans and media in attendance, and then summarize the noteworthy items in bullet point format. The original sources for all of the information used will be linked at the bottom of this post. I will attend a few practices myself, and when that happens, I will give more personal reports.


  1. Danny Shelton Welcomes the Fans: In this tweet from team president Alec Scheiner, first-round draft pick Danny Shelton can be seen as the first Browns player to head on to the practice field this year. During his time off over the past few weeks, he bought his family a house in Washington. Per Kevin Jones of, Shelton is aiming high with three goals this year: As far as earning a starting job, Shelton already has a leg up on his competition. Veteran NT Phil Taylor, who has knee surgery last year, was able to practice, but head coach Mike Pettine said that "he's still very much on a limited basis right now."

  2. Pads Coming on Saturday: The Browns' first practice in pads will be on Saturday, which is a reason why I typically try to stay away from the first couple of days of training camp as a fan. Continuing off the previous bullet point, NT Danny Shelton said he can't wait for the pads to go on because that is when he will really be able to showcase his talent.

  3. Separation at QB: We are Day 1 into training camp and as promised, there is no quarterback competition. QB Josh McCown was with the first-team offense, QB Johnny Manziel was with the second-team offense, and QB Connor Shaw started things off with the third-team offense.

    McCown had a competent practice, including the first play of 11-on-11s when he "threw a rope down the sideline" to WR Dwayne Bowe over CB Tramon Williams, according to Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. As I've said throughout this offseason, McCown appears to be at his best when he trusts his taller receivers to go get the ball when he slings it out to them. How did things go for Manziel? Not so hot.

  4. Manziel's Rough First Day: QB Johnny Manziel has tried to rehab his image and change the way he lives his life, for the better. That is only part of the formula to becoming a better player, and until he gets some more experience in the system, there are going to be some rough patches, such as the first day of training camp. Here are how Manziel's first four plays in 11-on-11s went when running the second-team offense, according to Grossi and Cabot:

    1. Would have been a sack.
    2. Would have been a sack.
    3. Avoided a sack, but then threw a pass that should have been picked off by CB Kendall James.
    4. Pass batted down at the line of scrimmage, and then almost picked off by CB Pierre Desir.

    To make matters worse, Manziel's best throw was reportedly dropped by rookie WR Vince Mayle. Let's give Manziel a week or two before we start rushing to judgment on what he might be able to bring to the table in 2015.

  5. First-Team Offense: Here is how the Browns' first-team offense looked on the first play of 11-on-11s (depth chart provided by Nate Ulrich of the ABJ):

    QB Josh McCown, RB Terrance West, FB Malcolm Johnson
    WR Dwayne Bowe, WR Andrew Hawkins, TE Jim Dray
    LT Joe Thomas, LG Joel Bitonio, C Alex Mack, RG John Greco, RT Mitchell Schwartz

    After practice, Pettine said that the running backs will each take turns with the first-team offense. I speculated earlier this camp that Hawkins might be listed as a starter over WR Brian Hartline, and that appears to be the case after Day 1. Last year's starting offensive line remained in tact as first-round pick Cameron Erving worked with the second-team defense at right guard.

  6. First-Team Defense: Here is how the Browns' first-team defense looked on the first play of 11-on-11s:

    DE Randy Starks, NT Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, DE Desmond Bryant
    OLB Paul Kruger, ILB Karlos Dansby, ILB Craig Robertson, OLB Scott Solomon
    CB Joe Haden, FS Tashaun Gipson, SS Donte Whitner, CB Tramon Williams

    At nose tackle, Kitchen got the "start" because NT Danny Shelton is a rookie and NT Phil Taylor is being eased back into things. Is it telling that Starks was in ahead of DL John Hughes and DL Billy Winn? I think Starks could start this year (although it might not matter who starts, given the expected rotation). Solomon gets the first crack at outside linebacker opposite Kruger, ahead of OLB Barkevious Mingo and rookie OLB Nate Orchard.

  7. Trouble With the Fumbles and Drops: If Manziel was goat #1 of the day, then RB Isaiah Crowell and WR Vince Mayle were goats #2 and #3. Crowell fumbled a couple of snaps and dropped a pass and was visibly frustrated with how things were going. Remember, these came in non-contact drills. Mayle had a couple of drops, which Pettine excused because of his thumb probably still being sore. That is one thought, or, maybe the scouting reports of him dropping a good amount of passes still hold weight.

  8. Pryor Starts Off Well: We knew that two of the primary spectacles of this year's camp would be QB Johnny Manziel seeking redemption in year two, and WR Terrelle Pryor attempting to transition from quarterback to wide receiver. Pryor was the media darling of Day 1, as he caught a couple of passes with the third-team offense and has the "look" of a dominant receiver. Pryor is being humble as his teammates offer encouragement during his transition, as he said that one of the big things he needs to work on is being able to escape press coverage.

  9. Concluding Early: For the second year in a row, the first practice ended 30 minutes early. Here is Pettine's explanation why, per Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland: "This is a shock to the system and our recovery from here is very important. No matter how hard you train over the summer, there’s no way to replicate this. I thought our guys handled it well. We threw a lot at them and … it was clear to see that our guys are in shape and they got into their books over the summer. It was a good start."

  10. Bicycle Brigade: The following players were on the stationary bikes for the first day of practice: RB Glenn Winston, WR Marlon Moore, ILB Darius Eubanks, and CB Charles Gaines. None of those players are guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster, so I'm sure they are itching to get back out there.

    Winston (knee), Moore (illness), and Eubanks (knee) were placed on the active/non-football injury list, and Gaines has a hamstring injury. Temperatures were in the 90s on Wednesday when players went through their conditioning tests, so that could have played in to the several players being on the injury list. NT Phil Taylor and DE/OLB Armonty Bryant did not go through the conditioning tests as they are coming back from knee injuries and the coaches do not want to push matters.

  11. Brownies: There were 2,945 fans who attended practice. ... As promised, RB Duke Johnson lined up in multiple spots -- the backfield, the slot, and on the outside. ... Multiple reports praised WR Travis Benjamin for having a good day catching passes from QB Josh McCown. ... Offensive linemen who got some work in with the first-team offense included Andrew McDonald at left tackle, Ryan Seymour at center, and Cameron Erving at right guard.

    The Browns are letting C Alex Mack determine when or if he wants a break or a day off, as he returns from a broken leg. ... CB Joe Haden had high praise for WR Taylor Gabriel, saying, "he's going to be special." ... Although Armonty Bryant's will see some work at outside linebacker, Pettine says that he'll be used more as a defensive lineman. ... Bernie Kosar took in practice today, as did team owner Jimmy Haslam ... Day 2 of practice is scheduled for 9:30 AM on Friday (gates open at 8:30 AM).

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