As quickly as it came, day one of the 2016 Cleveland Browns training camp went.
The preseason started with a bad omen when inclement weather led the Browns to close the practice, leaving some fans to depart disappointed. Though soon after the practice was closed, Mother Nature cooperated and allowed the Browns to practice outside.
As our fearless leader Chris Pokorny explained today, every day of camp, we will have a training camp report (you can find today’s here). A new training feature we’re trying out is “Clips and Quips” from media availability sessions after practice. We’ll be testing it out, so feel free to leave feedback in the comments section below.
- Jackson liked the energy and enthusiasm from his players. Overall, the new head coach felt day one was a success.
“It wasn’t a great first day, but an overall good first day. What I’m anticipating is when our guys come out tomorrow, chomping at the bit, to get after it on Day 2. We have got a long way to go. I’s just the start, but I was excited about our guys’ energy. Again, it started yesterday with the conditioning test. I thought our guys did a great job, and then it kind of came over to the first day of practice. We have got a long way to go, but I’m excited about the group and I think they’ll work their tails off.”
- Jackson quickly brought up the subject of turnovers. He brought up the subject, without prompting, in the third sentence of his presser:
As an offense, we have got to do a better job of taking care of the ball. Obviously, the defense did a great job of getting it out. That is going to be one of the things that I preach to our football team about. It’s one of the keys to victory. On defense, we have got to take the ball away. On offense, we can’t give it away.
- Due to the absences of Armonty and Desmond Bryant, Jackson said the Browns will try to help rookie Emmanuel Ogbah become a 5-technique defensive end.
“We’re going to try a little bit of everything. We’re going to put our best players out there on defense. Obviously, we are going to try him there. We’re going to put him back at outside linebacker. We’re just trying to find a lot of different combinations now that (DL) Des (Bryant) is going to be down to see if we can put our best guys out there. If he gives us something there, then it’s going to help our football team.”
- The local media criticized Robert Griffin III in comparison to Josh McCown, but Jackson seems all-in on RG3. The new Browns quarterback is the same player physically as he was during his breakout rookie year, says Jackson.
“He is [as athletic.] I know people have questioned where he is physically. I don’t see that. I think he’s still Robert Griffin, the same guy that came out in 2012 but just wiser. He’s been through a lot of different systems and a lot of different things, and I think he’s growing by leaps and bounds. We still have a ways to go.”
An interesting new feature the Browns are trying out is a “Training Camp Diary” with linebacker Christian Kirksey. The Browns unveiled the first video today.
- Kirksey seems to feel good about where he’s at both physically and mentally, thanks in part to the “best cafeteria in the league” (I can confirm — it is a nice place to eat).
“I felt great running, I’ve been working out this whole offseason. My body was ready for it. Past it now. Then, we had meetings and our first walk-through. This morning, I woke up ready to get after it. It’s good to be back with the fellas ... The coaches have been active with us, it’s all positive energy, some of our key players came back, we’re ready to get it started.”
Most of Barnidge’s quotes were short, but the tight end did mention one interesting point: The versatility of the role of the tight end in the Jackson’s offense.
“We’ve done everything. Everybody has been everywhere, and that’s the great thing about it because you never know what’s going to happen. It just keeps everybody on their toes.”
Robert Griffin III
- The new Browns’ QB seems to be getting a grip of the offense. From what Griffin has said, the Browns are far along in learning the playbook.
“I just feel like we were all going out there working to get better – master the system, master the language of our system. It’s good being in the meetings. Thus far, you can see how much guys are recalling and how much more advanced we are already on the field at this point. We’re diving deeper into the playbook and getting to mix things up a little bit more.”
- Much has been made of Griffin’s relationship with Josh Gordon, and the talk has a solid basis. Griffin has never been a mentor for a player who has been through as much as Gordon.
“I think my role with Josh is no different than my role with every other guy on this team. It’s to be a leader. He’s got a lot to prove. We all have a lot to prove. Most of that proving has to do with to ourselves, to our owners, to this organization, to our fans. Josh is a great player. Everyone knows that. He’s made the mental decision to come back and give it his all. I’m glad he considers me a big brother, someone he can lean on. That being said, we’re looking forward to him helping this team win.”
- The veteran cornerback showed optimism for a timely return. However, Haden did not give a solid timetable.
“I’m feeling good. I just finished getting a little bit of work in. My ankle is feeling a whole lot better, and we’re making progress ... I still don’t have a timetable. I’m ready whenever. Me and the trainers, we have a nice schedule working out so whenever they say I’m good to go, I’ll be good to go.”
- The rookie quarterback worked with guru Tom House over the summer. From what the USC product said, the summer was quite productive.
I worked with everything we do in our playbook. Went out there and called our plays out and ran them. Just did everything I could without actually getting live practice to simulate a practice. Kind of doing all the drills we do out here and doing everything – throwing with Tom and throwing with some wide receivers and throwing with some other guys. I think the biggest part for me was – the throwing was great and all that – but the mental side of it, studying the playbook, studying the playbook, starting studying defenses, as well, and getting ahead in that was my biggest part.”
- The old man of the Browns’ quarterback room is preparing to be the starter this season. Whether or not that’s the case, McCown didn’t sign a contract just to hold a clipboard.
“The reps will go how they go. We’ll see today and then every rep that I get, I’m going to play as if I’m the starter. That’s the thing really and truly in competition for us, and as long as I’ve been around, the guys who stay in the league and around, they play that way. They play as if they’re the starter even when they’re not, and if they’re the starter, they play as if someone’s trying to take their job. They compete. You never really walk to the line of scrimmage and go, ‘Yeah, I’m probably not going to be the starter so I’m going to throw an incompletion this time.’ Your mindset is always ‘I’m going to play as best as I can on this rep.’ ... That’s how I go about it and again because I have to be at my best because we’re competing. Ultimately, that’s going to draw the best out of Robert and (QB) Austin (Davis) and (QB) Cody (Kessler) and vice versa for them and to me. That’s the idea. That’s the environment that Coach Jackson has provided for us, a competitive environment and we’ll go about it that way. Hopefully, that leads us to the best quarterback room we can have.”
Alright, folks, that’s all for the first day of Clips and Quips for the first day of training camp. Feel free to leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.
Author’s Note: A special thanks goes to the great folks from the Browns with the job of transcribing the press conferences. As media members and fans, we appreciate your work. -JG