Another rainy day in Berea characterized day two of the Cleveland Browns’ 2016 training camp.
The rain kept the fans away and pushed practice indoors, where the team seemed to have a productive day.
Just like yesterday’s introductory Clips and Quips piece, we’ll start with head coach Hue Jackson and move onto the players’ quotes. You can find Jackson’s full transcript here, and the full player transcripts here.
- Similar to yesterday, Jackson began his press conference by calling the practice a positive one. The new head coach seems to like his team’s energy.
“I thought it was a spirited practice by our football team. I thought it was a really good one. I thought as a group, as a team, our focus was good. It’s disappointing that we can’t get out on the grass in front of our fans, and I really feel bad, but it’s very important also that we always take our fans into account, especially when there’s as much rain that was predicted and the thunder and the lightening. Our organization is about making sure that everybody’s safe ... Hopefully, we can get out there in front of our fans and perform.”
- Plenty of attention will be paid to rookie wideout Corey Coleman, who is coming along well, according to Jackson. Despite a drop in the red zone, Coleman showed speed and skill, particularly on deep routes.
“He’s stacking good days together. He’s just getting better. I give a lot of credit to (senior offensive assistant) Al (Saunders) and (offensive quality control/assistant wide receivers coach) Bob Saunders ... I give a lot of credit to our quarterbacks because I think they really spent a lot of time with him getting him to understand the pro game. Then obviously, I give a lot of credit to him. He’s a talented football player and that’s why we drafted him where we did. I have high expectations for him and he has for himself.”
- Tomorrow begins the hitting portion of camp. Jackson believes in having physical camps with hitting and tackling, so the Browns will really get to work tomorrow. This is a really interesting quote — pay attention to his piece about having an identity.
“It’s just how I feel. We are going to hit, but there’s a thing called tackling, too. I think we’re going to bump into each other quite a bit. First day in pads, it’s going to happen. I’m looking for a team that’s very relentless and that goes after each other. As I told our players, I have to find out who we really are, what’s going to truly be our identity. One thing we talked about last night is all the really good football teams in the National Football League, they have an identity. We don’t want to wait to find out what our identity is. We have got to establish it now. You only establish that by grinding a little bit. We need to be a gritty group. We’ve had two good days. Obviously, I also recognize that our players are getting a little tired because we’re pushing them pretty good. They have got to come out and do it again.”
- Unlike past regimes, Jackson will allow “everything” during the “siren” periods of contact. Tomorrow should be interesting.
“Yes [it will include tackling to the ground]. No, we won’t hit the quarterback ... We won’t touch the quarterback, but everybody else can go on the ground. That’s OK. I even went on the ground today. That ground is hard in there. I said it a while back and I think our players understand. We’ve talked about it. In order to become a really good football team, we have to play football. Football is blocking and tackling, and the only way you get better at those things is doing them. We’ll do them in a situation to where they don’t know – I’m being very honest – but at the same time, I think they understand that we’re also trying to take care of each other. They know that they need to improve their skill that way and we need to become a hardened football team so we’ll set on that march tomorrow.”
- Each day of camp has featured a position change, as the Browns tried Emmanuel Ogbah at defensive end on Friday and Pierre Desir at safety on Saturday. Jackson is not afraid to experiment.
“We’re going to try to find a place for a lot of guys and see if maybe they are a little better here than they were there. That’s really important for our football staff is trying to improve guys and put them into position so that they can have success. He’s one of our guys we drafted. We like him. He’s long, talented, but maybe we might find a different area where he’s better suited to play. He has cover skills because he’s played corner quite a bit, but boy, to see him go in there and play safety, too, is exciting to me because he gives us a different element back there.”
OT Shon Coleman
- After missing some offseason workouts due to injury, the rookie tackle is healthy. Coleman spoke during his media availability about learning from the best, Joe Thomas.
“I think the No. 1 thing is taking care of your body. He’s a guy, 10 years in the league, you can learn a lot of information from him working on things like flexibility, mobility and things like that. That’s something that’s had a positive effect on me and something that I worry about every day.”
LB Demario Davis
- The new Browns’ ‘backer seems to like his new coach. It seems the middle linebacker is meshing well with the coaching staff and his teammates.
“Just his intensity, his intensity and his drive for success, it’s contagious. You can just see it around the building and in the community. There’s a great feeling around here. That’s what you have got to have. He’s raising our expectations, raising the standard. When you have that, you have a chance.”
RB Duke Johnson
- Jackson has made it clear that the Browns will run the ball to open the deep pass. So, it’ll be important to have a physical run game, which Johnson fully realizes.
“We’re looking forward to game-in, game-out just being physical. That’s something that Coach wants from everyone, starting up front with pads on everybody just being physical. I believe if we’re all physical and we all do our job, we have the potential to. It’s just about all doing it at the same time.”
OLB/DE Emmanuel Ogbah
- The loss of Desmond Bryant opened a big hole at defensive end, one Ogbah realizes he may have to fill. The rookie out of Oklahoma State has been working over the offseason to become flexible, as he may play at either end or linebacker.
“I don’t mind doing both because I’m going to be dropping [into coverage] and I’m going to be rushing, too, so it’s good to have that flexibility. Again, now that (DL) Des (Bryant) went down, they’re going to need me to step up and play some ... The whole summer, I was working on dropping into coverage because I was playing outside linebacker so now that makes me more flexible since I know how to drop now. I’m just ready to play whatever position they put me at.”
LT Joe Thomas
- Enjoying a veteran day off, Thomas didn’t have to do much on Saturday. The star tackle still had plenty to say, though, talking at length about Jackson’s passion on offense and how the head coach will work directly with each offensive position group on every play. However, the most interesting part of his presser might have been his quote on Robert Griffin III.
“Robert has been doing really good. I’m no quarterback guru, but you’ve seen the growth that he’s already experienced just from the beginning of OTAs to where we are right now and he’s a natural leader. I think that’s what you need as a quarterback from a tangible standpoint. Everyone knows how talented he is as an athlete and throwing the ball and I think the one thing that maybe guys didn’t know about that have been really impressed with him so far is his work ethic, his intelligence, the way he prepares and he studies just like the great quarterbacks in the game right now. You put all those things together and you put a guy like Hue Jackson in his corner, and I think he can have an excellent season.”
Those are confident words from Thomas.
Tomorrow begins the hitting, and thus the interesting part of camp. Hopefully the Browns can have a productive day and avoid any serious injuries.