The Cleveland Browns opened the gates in Berea to fans on Thursday, officially beginning their 2017 training camp. For the second year in a row, head coach Hue Jackson is holding afternoon practices.
The way our training camp reports work is this: for any practices that we cannot attend (such at today), I read through all of the local media members’ tweets and recaps from the day, and I create one cumulative recap of what all of the topics of the day were.
Cleveland Browns Training Camp Report - Day 1 (7/27/17)
1. Instant Celebrity: Practice was scheduled to begin at 3:00 PM, which means the gates open at 2:00 PM. The early crowd was eager to see first overall pick Myles Garrett, as you can hear them chanting his name as he walks onto the practice field for the first time in front of fans.
You can also see three of the quarterbacks coming onto the field, and SS Jabrill Peppers coming out, if you’re that starved for Browns-related content. LT Joe Thomas is also sporting his longest hairstyle that I remember, looking like Omar Gonzalez from the USMNT, as he came out with LG Joel Bitonio.
2. Another Look at the Stands: Forgive me if I’ve already over-saturated you with information about the training camp layout and new grandstand in Berea, but I can’t help but geek out over it because its been overdue. Here is a nice shot that Tom Withers of the Associated Press provided, which includes the partially-filled 1,250-seat grandstand, with the standing room and shaded area at the top. Here’s more of a panoramic clip of both the stands and the players stretching at the beginning of practice.
Fred Greetham of The OBR also took a quick clip from the top of the grandstand, and you can see how good the view is. I also have an appreciation how the drill going on in the video is done so none of the idle players are obstructing the fans’ view, as was often the case in past years.
3. The Bikes Are Empty, No One Else on PUP: Color me surprised -- besides the announcement a few days ago that rookie CB Howard Wilson was on the Active/PUP list, the team did not place anyone else on the PUP list to begin training camp.
That means that head coach Hue Jackson wasn’t lying when he said that everybody else was healthy heading into training camp, which is a rarity if you’ve been following these camps over the years. In particular, I’m (pleasantly) surprised that LG John Greco (Lisfranc) and C Austin Reiter (knee) were good-to-go, albeit limited to start camp. You can even see that the stationary bikes are empty!
4. Rosenhaus Expands His Reach: We already knew that Drew Rosenhaus just took on RB Isaiah Crowell as a client, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer said that he’s also now representing WR Ricardo Louis. Speaking of Rosenhaus, he visited the Berea facility today, perhaps to touch base with the club on Crowell’s situation. Here he is talking to team owner Jimmy Haslam:
5. Early Praise for Garrett: Rookie DE Myles Garrett began as the right defensive end with the second-team defense. How’d he perform against the backup offensive linemen in individual drills?
Myles Garrett is just ruining the backup offensive lineman he's going against in defensive drills right now. My word.— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) July 27, 2017
According to Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram, Garrett "had productive group pass-rushing drills too, with back-to-back sacks." Petrak also noted that both of those sacks came against rookie OT Rod Johnson.
6. QB Reps: During minicamp in June, the word was that Cody Kessler would run the first-team offense, Brock Osweiler would run the second-team offense, and then DeShone Kizer would get a crack with the first-team offense. That continued on Day 1 of training camp. As you can see in the play below, they are jumping right into the playbook -- Kizer motions to shift the formation, and then after a playfake to RB Isaiah Crowell and a fake end around, he turns and throws a screen pass to Crowell.
Kizer to Crowell on a screen after faking the end-around pic.twitter.com/CqBwGXeAdf— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) July 27, 2017
On another play, Kizer makes calls at the line, sits in the pocket, and then pulls off the ultimate cheat code in a training camp practice by taking off when no contact is permitted.
ya boi calling audibles and running at the speed of light (and also fooling me with a pump fake smh) pic.twitter.com/7gDSHDvPg2— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) July 27, 2017
It wasn’t all good for Kizer, though.
7. Big Play Cody: Although we don’t have a clip of the play, reporters in attendance made note of the longest play of practice, where QB Cody Kessler aired it out and WR Kenny Britt beat CB Joe Haden for a 65-yard touchdown (though the pass was probably around 40 yards). That’s the double-edged sword feeling I often having about training camp. You want everyone on the team to do well, but then you remember that every success (Kessler, Britt) comes at someone else’s expense/scrutiny (Haden).
8. Early Exits: There were several players who left practice early, but all of the issues were chalked up to cramps/dehydration. In fact, after WR Kenny Britt’s big catch and ensuing celebration, he walked off the field and inside the facility. Other players who left included FB Danny Vitale and WR James Wright.
9. Special Teams Competition: The three players handling punt return duties on Day 1 were SS Jabrill Peppers, WR Corey Coleman, and CB Joe Haden. Absent from the drill was WR Mario Alford. And for the all-important kicker drill, the very early edge in camp goes to K Cody Parkey:
#Browns practice ended with Cody Parkey making 5-of-5 FGs and rookie Zane Gonzalez going 4-of-5.— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) July 27, 2017
10. Media Fun: When Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald try to poke fun at the “small crowd,” Browns PR member Dan Murphy playfully fired back. ... A little later, Schudel ended up finding the grandstand and was spotted hanging out with fellow media members Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland and Pat McManamon of ESPN.
11. Brownies: Cleveland.com’s Dan Labbe says that among the different bodies seeing some work at safety were CB Joe Haden and CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun. ... Team owner Jimmy Haslam was taking in practice. ... LT Joe Thomas, who will get a ton of rest and days off in camp again because he’s earned it, sat out of team drills and OT Shon Coleman filled in at left tackle. ... Kizer took some extra reps after practice. ... Here is DE Myles Garrett signing autographs after practice. ... WR Corey Coleman and QB Cody Kessler received good reviews from those in attendance.
My unofficial QB numbers from Day 1 of #Browns training camp. These are 11 on 11 numbers. Kessler 5/6; Osweiler 8/10; Kizer 4/7; Hogan 3/6— Jason Gibbs (@BGSUGibbs) July 27, 2017
12. Next Up: Practice continues Friday in Berea, from 3:25 PM to 5:55 PM.