The summer heat and humidity hit the Cleveland Browns like a ton of bricks today, as the Browns experienced a tough practice. Errors and issues occurred as players struggled with temperatures soaring to around 90 degrees.
Small injuries also plagued the Browns today, as Shon Coleman left early with cramps and seven players sat out practice.
- Even after a tough practice, Jackson stayed positive, particularly in his short opening statement. The first question Jackson fielded had to do with the numerous botched snaps, a subject Jackson quickly dismissed.
“Oh, heck no. No (laughter). That’s what happens when you miss practice. We haven’t practiced for a while. We know those balls on the ground were (OL) Cam (Erving), and he’s got to get that corrected. That’s him and the quarterback. I’m not going to coach quarterback-center exchange at times. You’re just going to fix it. It’ll get fixed. I’ve been through this dance before so we’ll get that squared away.”
- Jackson remained coy about playing time, though Jackson did say all the quarterbacks will play. We’ll likely know more specifics tomorrow.
“You said it – I think one is keeping them healthy but also having them play enough where you can evaluate them and make sure we do everything we can to evaluate our team. It’s not just the new guys. There are also some old guys we need to evaluate. I’ve thought through it, but I haven’t come to just a conclusion with the rest of our staff about exactly what we’re going to do, but we’ll talk about that tomorrow probably as we get closer to the game.”
- Jackson’s dedication to Browns’ alumni was on full display today, as Hall of Fame wideout Paul Warfield spoke to the team today.
“He was outstanding. You talk about one of our own who’s an inductee into the Hall of Fame, another one of our great players. To have him address our football team, I think, is very important for guys to see. He’s a very humble man from humble beginnings who worked hard to accomplish the things that he did. Eight time Pro Bowler, two Super Bowl winning teams, inducted into the Hall of Fame – he’s out here on our field and he’s one of our guys. Any of those guys who are former Browns players that can give our players a little wisdom about what it is, what it takes, the hard work, the dedication, the grit, the grind to be the best that you can be, I’ll do it any day and every day.”
- Wideout Rashard Higgins, a rookie who has received attention in camp, drew praise from Jackson today. Of the four wideouts, Higgins might be the best besides Corey Coleman.
“He’s a good football player. He knows how to play the game. He’s got tremendous hands, and he’s just understanding the National Football League game, working every day. Very proud of the things he’s done. I’m just excited about watching all of these guys do it on Friday. It’s been great out here. Now, we need to take it to the next level and go do it on the field against a different opponent.”
- The battle at right tackle continued today, as Austin Pasztor received his chance with the first teamers. Alvin Bailey started camp hot, Spencer Drango came in next, and now Pasztor is trying to steal the job.
“I don’t know if you can say [Pasztor has] taken a lead. I’m just kind of mixing and matching the best that we can to find the five best guys. We’ll settle on somebody for this week. It could change next week. We’re just going to keep matching and finding out who is best to play for us. Once we figure that out, we’ll keep it that way.”
- A couple of other notes: “There’s a chance” Corey Coleman can play against the Packers on Friday, Barkevious Mingo played inside linebacker today, and John Hughes III missed practice again for personal reasons, which Jackson understandably will not talk about.
TE Gary Barnidge
- Behind Barnidge on the depth chart is a myriad of tight ends fighting for a couple spot, including Randall Tefler, Seth DeValve, and Connor Hamlett, among others. Barnidge praised the group today.
“They’re doing a good job. We have a bunch of young guys and they’re all eager to learn. They’re really grabbing onto everything and trying to learn the finer details of the position and the offense. They’re really taking ahold of it. I’m excited to see how everybody plays in the preseason game.”
FS Ibraheim Campbell
- Following the departure of Tashaun Gipson and Donte Whitner, Campbell has basically been given the job at free safety. The second-year player appreciates the reps, and talked today about his strongsuit.
“I think one of my biggest strengths is my versatility. I see myself as someone who can play down in the box, really create turnovers in the box, whether that be forcing fumbles, whatever. Also, I play high, but at the free safety position being able to break on balls and catch interceptions, as well. I think my versatility is probably one of my biggest strengths.”
C Cameron Erving
- Following his tough rookie year, the Browns have allowed Erving to focus on one position this training camp. As a result, Erving feels he’s making big strides during camp, despite his minor injuries.
“Yeah, I’m comfortable. I’m a vocal person and everybody on our offensive line knows what to do so it’s not like everybody is waiting on me to make a call just so they can play because the ball is going to be snapped whether I make a call or not. We’ve all taken that role of just being accountable for each other and just making sure that if one guy has a brain fart, then the next guy comes in and is just like ‘Hey, hey. Make a call here or there.’ For the most part, everything is going good as far as play calling and communicating throughout the offensive line.”
LT Joe Thomas
Jackson has rightly given the veterans plenty of off time, particularly Thomas. The wily veteran spoke highly of Erving today before talking about the right tackle spot, where Pasztor has Thomas’ confidence.
“I think it’s no surprise we’re trying to find who’s going to be the starting right tackle. Like you mentioned, there have been three guys out there kind of battling for the spot. I think (OL) Austin Pasztor did a really good job yesterday. He’s the guy that has the most experience. (OL John) Greco was hurt at the beginning of camp so they bumped Austin to guard. Initially, I mean now that Greco has come back, I think we’ll probably settle with Austin at RT for the time being [...] He’s just a tough, hard-nosed guy. He’s got a couple years of starting experience under his belt. I think that’s huge in the NFL to be able to have some game time experience. It’s invaluable because things happen really fast. There is a lot to learn in a rookie season so having a guy with some experience out there will be really important.”
WR Rashard Higgins
- The rookie has acquired the nickname of “Hollywood” for dazzling plays, but his humility shines through. Higgins seems to be looking to learn from everyone he can.
“It’s a lot of learning. For me, I’ve been learning from (WR) Andrew Hawkins, (WR) Marlon Moore, just the older guys that have been in the room, not only in the film studies but when we’re out here practicing, as well. Those guys are always finishing on their blocks, just doing the small things that have kept them in the league so long. That’s what I’m trying to learn from and hopefully pick up the things that they can teach me.”
WR Ricardo Louis
- Called a speed demon heading into camp, Louis has had to work on becoming a complete receiver. Louis is beginning to realize how much it takes to be a successful wideout in the NFL.
“To be a complete receiver in the NFL, it’s a lot more than just running and catching balls – being a technician, releases and top of the routes, stuff like that is what (senior offensive assistant) Coach Al (Saunders) has been teaching us. Everybody has been getting better at it every day.”
WR Jordan Payton
- The competition at wide receiver has been crowded, no doubt about it. But as a player on the cusp, Payton doesn’t seem to mind the competition.
“It’s healthy. It’s very, very healthy. It’s not a negative. It’s great energy, honestly. It kind of brings you back to going into college. In college, you always have 12, 13 receivers on the depth chart so it’s healthy. We all help each other. We’re all there for each other. It’s obviously competitive. Every day we’re competing, but at the end, it’s making everyone better. As long as you buy into competing and into making yourself better, which is going to make the man next to you better, everything is good.”
DB Coach Louie Cioffi
- The Browns’ defensive backs coach dished out praise to many players, calling Campbell “diligent,” Justin Gilbert’s progress “great,” and Pierre Desir is “doing good” with his transition to safety. But Cioffi heaped his best praise on cornerback Jamar Taylor.
“In Jamar’s case, he’s a true professional. I think he’s embraced the challenge. He’s come in and he’s worked really hard both on and off the field. He takes coaching really well. He really has a really good athletic skillset. He can play both on the outside and he can play inside. Like I said, I’m excited to see him play in games. I’m glad we got him [...] Just his knowledge of football, his awareness of football, just being a natural football player, No.1, but then his really good quickness, that really helps when you’re inside there.”
Senior offensive assistant Al Saunders
- It’s safe to call Al Saunders a receiver expert. That’s why his quotes carry a lot of weight. Judging by his quotes today, it might be time to temper the expectations heaped on Terrelle Pryor. Asked if Pryor can be an every down receiver, Saunders said:
“You know, I’m not sure how that translates. I know this – he’s working as hard as he can to be the best football player he can be. I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays Friday night and then the next weekend, and the next weekend, and the next weekend. He’s at a point right now – this is really a hard transition for anybody to make. I’m trying to think back, maybe (former Steelers WR) Antwaan Randle El is the one guy that I’ve coached that has gone from a quarterback to a receiver and really done an exceptional job. Like I said, we couldn’t be any happier than where Terrelle is right now, but he knows he has a lot of things to work on and a lot of things to improve on and that it’s not all going to happen overnight. It’s going to take time. This is his first exposure to that position, but myself personally, I couldn’t be any more thrilled with where he is right now.”
- If you have time, look at all of Saunders’ quotes, which are at the bottom of this page. Saunders’ full thoughts are too long to post here, but you might enjoy reading them in full if you have time.
That’s it for today’s Clips and Quips. Check back to DBN tomorrow for more coverage during Day 11 in Berea on Wednesday.