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Recap of the Browns’ Day 1 at the Senior Bowl

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The South practices for Senior Bowl week kicked off on Tuesday with the Cleveland Browns’ coaching staff in charge. Here is a recap of what went down on Day 1 of practices.

Hue Jackson and Quarterbacks

Stay with Robert Griffin III? Sign a quarterback in free agency? Draft Deshaun Watson? Or, find the next Dak Prescott? Cleveland has a lot of options at quarterback this offseason, but for this week’s practice, they’re trying to see if they can get an early look at one of the lesser-touted prospects who they might be able to select in a later round.

Here is Jackson working with Tiffin’s Antonio Pipkin, one of three quarterbacks on his roster (the others being California's Davis Webb and Tennessee's Josh Dobbs).

Dobbs, shown below, received the most early praise from Jackson when discussing the quarterbacks to the media.

“All of them had a good day, (but) I thought Josh Dobbs did extremely well. I thought (Davis) Webb did good, and I thought Antonio (Pipkin) did some good things. They all have their strengths. ... [Dobbs] completes balls, he’s more athletic and he has a good arm. He throws the ball extremely well. I was a little surprised at how well he threw the ball.”

After Day 1 was in the books, Jackson was asked about the difficulty in not having his right-hand man from a year ago, Pep Hamilton, to help with the process of selecting a quarterback. Jackson probably came up with the best response when he jokingly said, “I know how to squirt water,” which was in reference to the headlines the Browns made last year when they used a water bottle to drown footballs during Pro Day workouts for Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Jackson then went on to elaborate how he’ll be fine making the quarterback decision without Hamilton:

“I’m being very honest. You guys know how I feel about Pep. I brought Pep here. But if I’m not mistaken, I coached the quarterback, met with the quarterback, called the offense’s plays, so I think we’re making more of this than what it is,” Jackson said. “I was putting Pep in a position to keep grooming him ... and obviously he got a better opportunity for himself. So I came here to coach that position and get it better, and I plan on doing that. So that has nothing to do with it. I’m going to take my expertise — I’ve been doing this for a long time — and put a quarterback on this football team that can win. That’s my job. We’re going to do it collectively as a group. But hopefully we’re going to lean on my expertise and what I need at that position to win.”

Gregg Williams Means Business

Jeff Ridson of the USA Today went on to give an example of Williams’ style of coaching:

There was a miscommunication between a linebacker and safety in a coverage. Tight end Gerald Everett exploited it for an easy big gain, and Williams demanded the guilty defenders explain themselves. When one player didn’t run to him fast enough for his liking, Williams let loose with some words not fit for print.

Ridson also said that Williams deployed "a variety of alignments which will make the Browns defense very tough to pigeonhole,” including the following looks:

  • DEs dropping in space to play OLB in a zone blitzing 3-4.
  • DTs playing a heads-up 0-tech and a shaded 1-tech.
  • Single-high safeties, but mixing in times when both safeties flanked the OLBs in a version of the Bears 46 defense.

Notes on the Browns’ Handling of Practices

Player Notes

From ESPN’s Todd McShay on TE O.J. Howard of Alabama, who is someone we wanted to follow closely heading into the Senior Bowl:

“Howard was the story of the South practice. He had a couple of impressive one-handed catches, and his athletic ability really stood out. He separated easily down the field. There are three or four first-rounders here, and Howard definitely played like one Tuesday. I'd like to see him show some improvement in his blocking and route-running over the next few days, but there's no question he's a top-tier tight end.”

Pro Football Focus had some notes on more than a handful of players, which you should check out here. At RealGM, Jeff Ridson had a bunch of great notes too. There’s also stuff from Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network.

Speed Lovers

Andrew Gribble and Dustin Fox Report Live