Passes and trade rumors flew through Berea as the Cleveland Browns hosted day six of training camp to over 2,000 fans on Thursday afternoon.
Due to injuries at quarterback, the Cowboys have approached the Browns about trading for Josh McCown, as Chris wrote today. The veteran spoke to the media, so you’ll hear his bit below.
As always, head coach Hue Jackson’s quotes come first, followed today by quotes from the coordinators and players. You can find the full transcript for Jackson here, the coordinators’ full pressers here, McCown’s presser is here, and full quotes from the rest of the players here.
Head Coach Hue Jackson
- Of Jackson’s six opening statements before Q&A after practice, today’s was the shortest. Jackson seemed to have mixed feelings about the energy level at practice.
“Today was a very business-like practice for us. The players were off [yesterday]. It’s the first time that we’ve been in that situation. We went five days, and then all of a sudden, they had a day off. They came back and they came to work. Not that they didn’t but you would like to keep the same momentum that you had for those five days. I think there’s a little lull, but our guys were able to pick it up again and finish the practice pretty strong. There is not going to always be the enthusiasm and passion that you like to have all the time, but as long as we work, as long as we keep stacking good days, then good things can happen for our football team.”
- As mentioned above, rumors have swirled about McCown. Jackson said McCown is still a Brown, so there’s nothing to report. And asked if the front office would consider his opinion, Jackson laughed and said “I would hope so. I would think I would know exactly what’s going on.”
“I have no thoughts, whatsoever. You said it, it’s rumor. There is nothing to it as far as we’re concerned. I’ve heard about it, obviously I have, but I feel good that he’s here. He’s a Cleveland Brown and I know nothing else about the other part of it.”
- One of the more surprising stories to come out of Berea was Jackson placing rookie Spencer Drango with the first teamers at right tackle over Alvin Bailey. Jackson has no problem mixing things up, especially since Shon Coleman is apparently a bit behind mentally and physically.
“I’m going to continue to make moves as we go. I’m going to put the best five guys out there and continue to mix and match and see how can we become better. If somebody can do something better for our football team and they’re deserving, then that’s what we’ll do. Nothing is kind of etched in stone. We’re just going to keep working at this each and every day to get better to have the best football team that we can.”
- Chad Johnson, the wideout formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, became a topic of conversation again today. Jackson explained the situation and cleared things up.
“Chad is like my son, as you guys all know. Probably, I didn’t do a good enough job of explaining why he was here. He came as a guest. Chad was not in the minority coaching program. He came as a guest. I hope we all understand he was just going to be here for a period of time. He was never hired [...] He’s somebody who I know very well who I trust. I have a lot of respect for and he has knowledge. He was able to pass a little bit of that along to our players, but he also has some responsibilities, too. He has some kids. His daughter is a tremendous track athlete [...] At the same time, he was here to see what we did and if he could help our young guys just for a few days. I knew he would be out. I think he’s learning about pro football and what it is and the toll it takes on just yourself as person and families and all that. It was good for him to experience while the time he was here.”
- As a final point, Jackson did not give away many details about tomorrow’s intrasquad scrimmage, so we’ll have to wait and see on that.
Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton
- Most coordinators have a clear-cut idea of what they want to do, scheme-wise, before training camp. Due in part to Desmond Bryant’s injury, Horton doesn’t have a solid scheme in place. I’m not sure whether that should be comforting or terrifying. On the plus side, it’s nice that Horton is adapting to his players. On the other hand, will the Browns have a true defensive identity?
“Now with his injury, just like anybody else’s injury, you have to adjust because nobody is going to wait for you. If you ask me, ‘What are we doing?’ as you guys watch practice and we’re moving guys around, I would use the term ‘kaleidoscope.’ When you turn it, you’re going to get a different picture. I want us to have guys that are interchangeable because I don’t know what we’re going to be yet. If somebody said, ‘Well you’re a 3-4. Would you be a 4-3?’ Well sure I would if I thought it would win. We’re going to be an ever-changing defense until we find out what we do best and put the players in that position.”
Associate Head Coach — Offense Pep Hamilton
- Robert Griffin III is the talk of the training camp — the Browns’ success largely rides on his shoulders. Hamilton seems comfortable with RG3 at the helm.
“He has more of a command of our offense. He’s able to manage the all checks and all the things that we ask him to do at the line of scrimmage. There’s been just continued work on developing continuity with the receivers and tight ends and all the new guys that he is working with for the first time. He has been working a lot and there has been a lot positive things that are happening for us in practice [...] I think because he had time to just work out over the summer, a lot of the things we’ve asked him to do from a fundamental and technical standpoint, we were able to facilitate those things through Coach House out in California. He is throwing the ball well. Mechanically, he’s always been just as good as anyone else with regards to being able to throw the football all over the field. We feel good about where he is right now.”
Hamilton, like many of the other coaches have done, lavished praise on rookie wideout Corey Coleman.
Special Teams Coordinator Chris Tabor
- The Browns have a ton of rookies, and just about all of those will work with Tabor. The veteran coordinator called the rookies “excellent,” but his more interesting quote was in regards to the kicking competition between Travis Coons and rookie Patrick Murray.
“In special teams, I think everything is legitimate from the standpoint because we’re at the bottom of the roster and you’re always churning the bottom of the roster. At that position, those guys know it’s about makes and misses. To have a guy like Patrick come in and here compete for job, it’s a legitimate job. If he does better than what Travis does, then obviously there’s talk.”
Running Backs / Running Game Coordinator Kirby Wilson
- Isaiah Crowell caused quite a stir with his Instagram post, but Wilson and the Browns seem to be past it. Wilson gave a positive review of Crowell’s performance in camp thus far.
“Yeah, he’s very explosive. He’s got all of the tools. He’s going to be a special player this year. Along with that, he’s got a great work ethic. We’re really pleased at how he’s working at his trade. Every day, it’s an interview for him, and he’s going out and doing a fabulous job for us right now.”
QB Josh McCown
- McCown talked about a variety of topics, praising Corey Coleman and noting the improvement of RG3 and Cody Kessler. But we have to highlight McCown’s approach to a question about whether or not he tries to control his future, in regards to a potential trade to the Cowboys.
“Everybody could take control of their future if they want to act a certain type of way, but for me, that’s not how I choose to operate. I feel like I’m on this team for a reason. This is where I’m at. Until things that are outside of my control or that decision is made otherwise, I’ll be here focusing, doing everything I can do to help this team. To your point, could that happen or can a guy go about that? Yes, but that’s not the way I choose to operate in these situations.”
WR Corey Coleman
- After touching on the more physical nature of an NFL camp, Coleman hit on several topics, but his longest quote was about RG3. Coleman seems sold on his fellow Baylor Bear.
“I think he’s going to do fantastic. RGIII’s a hard worker. He works really hard. He studies. He studies. He’s a perfectionist. He always wants to be perfect. He takes pride in his game and coming to practice and making sure everything’s on point. You have a guy like that as your quarterback, I feel like the sky is the limit for RGIII. He’s glad he got another chance.”
S / CB Pierre Desir
- The new coaching staff has urged Desir to transition from corner to safety. By all accounts, Desir has done a solid job. He spoke more about the switch on Thursday.
“Yeah, with corner you’re more on an island. With safety, you have to be sure. You have to see everything and you have to make the calls to the corners and backers. You have to be the one that communicates and facilitates what’s going on the field [...] You have to be the sheriff. You have to make those calls because everyone is looking at you no matter what they’re doing.”
OL John Greco
- The departure of Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz make the job of a veteran like John Greco much more important. Fortunately for the Browns, Greco seems to be in position to return for opening day.
“I feel really good. I’m excited to get back out there with the rest of the team. It’s been tough these last couple of days watching, but I’m feeling good. Everything is progressing well. We’re just still trying to be smart about it. Just doing a few things here and there so I get back to feeling good [...] Week 1, I’m ready to go. There’s no question about it. I’m planning on being 100 percent way before then. I think be smart these next couple of days, sprinkle me in here and there and just kind of unleash it next week and get after it.”
WR Andrew Hawkins
- As a veteran slot guy, Hawkins has had a unique perspective in camp, watching four rookies fight for positioning. So far, Hawkins is impressed with the youngsters.
“They’ve met all expectations and exceeded. The biggest things is you want hard work, you want effort. It sounds cliché, but it’s not common, especially for young guys. You have got all the young guys, and even the guys that have been here, they have just been working their tails off start to finish. We’ve never had to worry about effort, which is always the first step. That’s kudos to the players, that’s kudos to the coaches who are setting that level of expectation, and like I said, they’ve been doing an incredible job.”
That’s all for this edition of Clips and Quips. We’ll see you hear tomorrow for the scrimmage and day seven of practice.