The Cleveland Browns began Day 1 of their mandatory minicamp session on Tuesday. Minicamp runs through Thursday and will be the team's final offseason activity until training camp in late-July. Our Day 1 minicamp report is below, derived from noteworthy news and nuggets from local media reports.
CLEVELAND BROWNS - DAY 1 MINICAMP RECAP (6/13/17)
1. Hot Temperatures Test Conditioning Early: Practice began at 3 PM, which in Cleveland is usually the hottest part of the day. It might be OK if you’re in shade, but to be standing in the sun for over an hour can be brutal, much less exerting yourself physically. Day 1 of minicamp just-so-happened to tie a record high for the mid-June day:
Cleveland Hopkins Airport has tied the record high of 93 degrees set in 1954. Still possible we may break the record later this afternoon.— NWS Cleveland (@NWSCLE) June 13, 2017
Part of the physical exertion saw players going through what Jason Gibbs of ESPN Cleveland referred to as the “puke drill.”
2. Wide Receiver Situation: While Corey Coleman is not practicing in full at minicamp due to multiple injuries, he was getting some route-running work in. Head coach Hue Jackson said that Coleman "will be ready when the time comes" and that he’s “closer to playing than not playing.” As for who began 11-on-11 drills as the “starting receivers,” it was a tandem that likely won’t be the tandem come opening day:
Rannell Hall and Ricardo Louis were the first receivers with the No. 1 group in 11/11. Britt got a few team snaps. Coleman walkthrough only.— Zac Jackson (@AkronJackson) June 13, 2017
As Zac Jackson of The Athletic said, veteran Kenny Britt was on the field, and you can see him catching a pass below. Jackson added that Britt’s snaps increased as practice went along, so it doesn’t sound like he was being restricted too much.
One of Tuesday’s big stories (for this time of the year) was a feature on Ricardo Louis, who will be working with Brandon Marshall soon. You can read more about that here.
3. Defense Takes Advantage of QB Chaos: Although the general pecking order of the quarterbacks remained the same, DBN’s Mike Hoag wrote about how DeShone Kizer received quite a bit of work with the first-team offense, something that Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer believes is “significant” at this time of the year.
When you have a lot of different quarterbacks rotating in-and-out, though, the edge often goes to the defense, as evidenced by some of the big plays that DE Emmanuel Ogbah and OLB Jamie Collins had:
#Browns D bringing it in minicamp today. Ogbah smacks down a Kessler ball, Collins swipes a Kizer pass and runs it back. Swarming,aggressive— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) June 13, 2017
This D is going to be fun to watch. Aggressive and the front 7 has no shortage of ATHLETIC playmakers. 90 and 51 really stood out today— Nathan Zegura (@NathanZegura) June 13, 2017
Cabot also noted that Kessler had three balls batted, including two from Ogbah and one from Collins. Little things like that could be a big negative in the mind of Jackson as he tries to evaluate who the best starter for his club is.
4. Offensive Line Taking it Easy: Perhaps part of the reason that the defense thrived at times was that the coaching staff opted to let many of their key offensive lineman take it easy. Among the bicycle brigade in Berea were LT Joe Thomas (normal rest), OL John Greco (Lisfranc), OL Austin Reiter (knee).
On top of that, C J.C. Tretter was working with an athletic trainer on the side. With Tretter, Reiter, and Greco all out, and Erving not being moved back to center, that means Cleveland was way down on the depth chart to OL Gabe Ikard, who “botched a snap in a walkthrough drill” with no defense on the field, per Zac Jackson of The Athletic.
OG Joel Bitonio is also not ready for team drills yet (Linsfranc), but he took part in individual drills for the first time in a long time and is on the right track for a return. Hue Jackson was asked about Bitonio’s return, and spoke about trying to keep everyone healthy in general at this time of the year:
“Oh yeah, Joel Bitonio? Sure. I even had (OL) Joe Thomas out in walkthrough a little bit earlier. I looked out there and saw a whole bunch of guys so today was a good day. Good to see all of our players participating, even the guys that have been injured, doing a little more than what they have been doing. Again, I give a lot of credit to (head athletic trainer) Joe Sheehan and his staff, our medical staff, (head team physician) Dr. (James) Voos, everybody who deals with our players. I think we have done a really good job. As you guys know, my job as a head coach is to get these guys through the OTAs, through the minicamp and get them to training camp with the best team that we can have, with a healthy football team so that we can have the best shot at working towards winning. That is what is important.”
5. Right Tackle Competition: If there is one position that won’t be given much rest, it’s the competitors at right tackle: Cameron Erving and Shon Coleman. Both players spoke to the media prior to practice, with Erving expressing confidence about playing right tackle and:
“Yes, I am [transitioned to right tackle]. It is going well. Just being able to play tackle again is something I’m familiar with. It is definitely going well. ... You don’t really have to direct everyone else [compared to center]. You can focus on what you have to do, but you also have to communicate with the rest of the line to make sure everybody is on the same page.”
Coleman talking about the improvements he’s made through the offseason leading to this point:
“I feel like I have gotten a lot better. This offseason was big for me just getting bigger, stronger and just capitalizing on that last game that I had. The coaches definitely see that I have been working on my game and everything. That has been a big thing for me – just getting better.”
6. Brownies: DE Myles Garrett is a full-go at minicamp, but will begin with the third-team defense before he (presumably) quickly works his way up the depth chart. ... CB Joe Haden said he's healthy and ready-to-go. ... Cleveland seems to have quite the athletic group of tight ends:
The Browns might be on to something with their young TE group of Seth DeValve, David Njoku and even UDFA rookie Taylor McNamara.— Zac Jackson (@AkronJackson) June 13, 2017
The Browns will be back on the practice field Wednesday for Day 2 of minicamp.