The Cleveland Browns returned to action on Monday in Berea following an offday on Saturday and a closed practice on Sunday.
Josh Gordon stole the headlines, returning to the practice field for the first time in eons. More on the prodigal son later in the article.
All eyes are on the Browns’ approach to the second preseason game on Thursday, as the club will host the Atlanta Falcons. In case you missed it in Chris’s day 13 recap, the Browns released a new depth chart today.
As usual, Hue Jackson’s quotes come first, followed by player thoughts. Jackson’s full presser is here, the player transcripts are here.
- As mentioned above, Gordon returned to practice today, much to the delight of his new head coach. Though Jackson admitted that Gordon will probably not play on Thursday, the first-year head coach was glad to see him on the field.
“It was great. It was great. It was good to watch him move around, catch the ball and be involved with his teammates. As I said, he’s done a great job and we’re just working our plan.”
- A much analyzed part of Jackson’s offense is how often the quarterback can run. Jackson makes no qualms about allowing his quarterback to take off and run, especially in regards to Robert Griffin III.
“You have to play the game. If there is an opportunity for him to take off and run, I’m sure he will. A lot of people want to try and make him be a pocket passer to see if he can, and then those opportunities where he is going to run, they will present themselves as they come.”
- As I talked about in my Talking Points piece on Saturday, Jamie Meder performed quite well against the Packers. As a result, Jackson has made a concerted effort to get him more playing time, slotting Meder as one of the team’s top defensive ends for Thursday.
“I think he deserves it. Jamie played extremely well last week. He’s very valuable to us. I don’t know if it was just because of that. As you guys see, we put a lot of people in a lot of different positions to give them opportunities, and he’s very deserving. I will say that [...] I think he’s tough. He’s really tough. He’s strong. He knocks people back and he pursues the football the way you have to pursue the football.”
- On the opposite side of the line, offensive lineman Joel Bitonio received high praise from Jackson. He views the young guard as an elite player.
“I think he’s one of the finest guards in football. He played extremely well the other night. I’m very excited about his future and what he potentially could be. He did some really, really good things the other night. I knew about him before I got here but having the opportunity to work with him and see how hard he works and how much passion he has for playing the game and how important it is to him just raised my opinion of him two-fold. He is doing a good job.”
WR Josh Gordon
- Back from an extended stay in football purgatory, Gordon spoke to the media today. He said his quad is feeling “great” and he’s lost some weight since arriving in Berea. Gordon says he feels happy, especially knowing he’s put in the work to prepare for this moment.
“Yeah, it’s something that I really haven’t felt in a long time. Once you get that type of feeling, type of vibe and environment being around happy people, it kind of just rubs off you. I’ve missed it. Being back in it, I love it and I try to take full advantage of it. I’m glad to be back and that’s probably what you saw there [...] Away from the field, it’s a lot of mental reps, really in meetings, taking a lot more notes trying to pick up the offense a lot quicker compared to all the guys that have been here this time. I have a lot of room to close that gap and pick up and hopefully play here soon. It takes a lot of effort, and I think that’s what I need to do. It’s good to create the habit.”
LG Joel Bitonio
- Looking for an in-depth breakdown of the Browns’ first-teamers’ performance on Friday? Bitonio spoke at length about how his brethren did in the first preseason game.
“Definitely some stuff to work on. The first group got maybe 11 plays so we didn’t really get into a huge rhythm. On some of the runs, there was a chance. (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.) broke one, and he probably could’ve gone for 30 or 40 (yards) if we would’ve made one more block on that. On one of the ones Crow (RB Isaiah Crowell) got tackled for a loss, there was some good blocking but one or two guys. It is the O-line just trying to get our form back and (OL) John (Greco) has been out for a while, (OL) Austin (Pasztor) just moved to right tackle so they’re just working together and (OL) Cam (Erving) was out for a little bit so we’re all just working together and kind of putting that group back together. For the first game, there were a lot of positives and definitely stuff we need to work on and we’re trying to work on to get ready for Atlanta this week.”
WR Andrew Hawkins
- As the oldest member of the wideout committee, Hawkins seems cautiously optimistic about the group. Everyone, particulary Tony Grossi, seems to realize the wide receivers have a great deal of talent. But Hawkins realizes potential doesn’t always mean anything without work.
“I think we have a lot of talent. We have a lot of work to put in still because the talent is only one side of it, and I think everybody is taking the steps to get that done. It’ll be a process, but as long as we’re working, as long as everybody is all in, we have the possibility to be a pretty good corps.”
DL/LB Emmanuel Ogbah
- Few Browns played as well as Ogbah did in the opener, as the rookie put on a clinic against the Packers’ backups. The defensive end / linebacker hybrid sounded relieved to have it out of the way so he can play his style of game.
“It definitely gives a lot of confidence because first I’m relieved – first game, just getting out and seeing how offensive tackles and offensive linemen are – but it feels good just going out there and just doing my thing [...] Being how quick I am, I can easily be quicker than an offensive lineman. Yeah, they’re bigger than me, but I still have to be quicker than them so that they can’t get their hands on me.”
That’s all for Day 13 of Browns training camp, concluding the portion of camp open to the public. Keep following DBN for camp coverage as the season inches closer.