The fifth day of Cleveland Browns training camp wrapped up on Monday, and you can find our full Day 5 recap here. Let’s check out what Hue Jackson, Seth DeVavle, Myles Garrett, John Greco, and Duke Johnson Jr. had to say on Monday. Remember, Tuesday is an off day and Friday is the Orange and Brown scrimmage, so stay tuned for some real, actual football in the not-so-distant future.
- The quarterback competition rages on. We’re approaching the time when someone has to start distancing himself from the pack. As we progress and these guys are put through actual game-type situations, how did these guys handle things today?
“Anytime you don’t turn the ball over, that is good, but obviously, there were some things we have to get better at. Our defense did a great job at the goal line, and anytime you play (defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams at the goal line and you try to run it every play, it is not good for your health. It is good for our football team. That is how you build a tough defensive unit. That part of it was good, and our guys got after it. I would like to see the offense get the ball in [the end zone] a little bit more, but that is part of it. Like I said, when you play that style of defense, it was rough down there so kudos to them. The offense battled back in the scoring zone area and did some good things and our defense was just playing some real vanilla coverage, which was good so there were some things there we can grow from. That two-minute situation was a situation that came up at the end. I have a guy (football research analyst) Dave Giuliani who does a great job for me, just talking through situational things that can happen. We were able to discuss those things. A real live situation that would come up in a game really came up. It was good to get through those things for our football team, for the quarterbacks so they can think through it, go through it. It was a lot of good situational work for our football team. We are growing and we are getting better, but we are nowhere close to where want to be yet.”
- Myles Garrett was, by reporting of ESPN’s Pat McManamon, a terror on the field today. Were the coaches a little stingy with not crediting him for enough sacks, though?
“Yeah, absolutely. I am not giving him free sacks that he wants (laughter). No, obviously, he is doing a good job. He is rushing the passer. He has turned it up a little bit. He is in much better shape. He understands what we are expecting of him to do and he is doing it so that is what you are seeing. You are seeing a young player that is starting to get better and better and better within our scheme.”
- Cody Kessler checked down on fourth-and-long play during a two-minute drill. How’s Jackson see that decision?
“To me, the dump is not what bothered me. (TE Randall) Telfer understands you have to try to get all that you can. You can run around and all of a sudden fumble the ball and get hit. Cody understood, ‘I’m going to try to buy as much time as I can, but I see an open guy.’ Randall has to understand we are going to catch it and get everything we can. You don’t know. You might break a tackle. Good things can happen. Yes, it was fourth down. We will grow from all of those different things that happened.”
- We knew rookie DeShone Kizer was mobile and has that skill as part of his arsenal. He scored two touchdowns on the ground today.
“He has the skillset. We try to showcase all of those guys’ talents and abilities. There are some things that he can do that may be a little different, and we will give him an opportunity to do those things.”
- How does Jackson evaluate his quarterbacks after five practices? I’d bet money he tells the beat reporter cadre, again, that’s it’s still too early.
“Just still evaluating. Just watching and looking. I will go back and watch all of the tape tomorrow. Obviously, I have seen it all, but I will go back and watch it again just to see where we are. Guys have done some good things. Obviously, we are closer to making decisions than we are not as you keep going every day. I have seen some good things from our guys. I have seen some things we have to keep improving at. Once we can get a whole unit out there playing, I will feel much better. We are making progress. It is Day 5 into this situation, and we are going to just keep working.”
- Now they want to know if it’s too early to adjust the rotation. Jackson should get some serious kudos for continuing to humor these people.
“It is. I am probably not looking at it from that standpoint yet. I probably want to go through the scrimmage on Friday and then kind of see where we are from there. Guys are battling and competing. They are doing some good things. The thing I’m most pleased about is the ball isn’t going to the other team a lot. That is what gives you a chance. If we play good defense, are able to run the football, take care of the ball and get turnovers on defense, then good things can happen. We are not a finished product, but I think we are working towards the goal.”
- Finally, no more quarterback questions. Let’s hear an update on Danny Shelton.
“He is doing well. Danny is one of our better players. As I said before, I expect those things from Danny. He has had a good camp. He has to continue to harness his temper. Danny is still Danny, but we love him for being that kind of Danny. We need that kind of Danny, too, but he has done a good job.”
- What happened to Shelton over the offseason that’s helped Shelton fit better with the team’s new defense?
“He has. He has lost body fat. He has done a good job. He has to be able to play harder longer. That is what he is trying to do so that he can stay out there and be able to make more plays for our football team.”
- Haha, I lied, more quarterback questions. I guess the beat writers have collectively agreed to ask Jackson if Kizer is ready to start or not, every day, because that’s not annoying.
“I think it is still too early. We will know. We put in a lot of football. We still have a lot of football we are putting in. That is why I said hopefully by Friday the installs for what we are doing are going be in. We have a game a week from then. For the most part, after Friday, after I get a feel for where we are, I will know more about the whole group. You have to get through all the installs first and get the offense in and make sure they know what we are trying to accomplish and kind of go from there.”
- Jackson and Duke Johnson Jr. both have told us the running back is always present in every meeting. Johnson was keeping the joke going, apparently (earlier in the day, quotes below).
“Yeah, he’s not supposed to – that’s his job (laughter). No, Duke is a very bright and smart football player. He spends a lot of time in a lot of different rooms is the way I would put it so he can be able to prepare to do what we are asking him to do. He has done a good job. He has handled that stuff well. Hopefully, we can give him a chance to be what he can be.”
- Consistency problems have hurt rookie tight end David Njoku early. It’s still early, though, but he obviously needs to be more consistent.
“Yes, absolutely. We just have to fight through it. He just has to make those plays. He gets it. Trust me, he doesn’t want to drop the ball. Obviously, it happens so we have to continue to work on. He has to continue to get better at. The good thing is that he is getting open in those situations. Now, he has to finish the play. We will keep working on that and work through it.”
- Coach Jackson confirmed rookie defensive tackle Caleb Brantley had surgery on his broken finger.
“Yeah, he has a broken finger. He will be out for a week or two or week and a half or two. We will get him back out. Nothing major. Those things happen. Your hand gets caught in something or something like that. Those things happen.”
- Jackson was asked about why Trevon Coley working with the first team defensive line, and if it is a new development.
“No, the way we kind of do it on defense is you earn your keep. He is playing well. We will keep giving guys opportunities. If you demonstrate on our football team that you have the skill and you can help us win, we are going to give you an opportunity to be out there.”
- You can look just about anywhere and see hype about second-year tight end Seth DeValve emerging as a breakout player after the team released Gary Barnidge this offseason. Here’s his take on those projections.
“It is really just a matter of opportunity. We have a young tight end room with the releasing of (TE) Gary (Barnidge). It has been different without him, but there have been a lot of opportunities for guys like me to step up and take that role or at least a big portion of that role. I feel that I’m ready to do it. I felt like moving on from last year that I still had a lot to show that I’m capable of. I’m starting to have the opportunity now to show what I can do, which is just what I’m coming out here to do each day.”
- What has the Browns coaching staff identified to DeValve as areas he needed to improve this offseason? Here’s his approach and direction from his coaches.
“Sometimes it is telling you what to do and what not to do. The NFL season is different than college ever can be. It is longer. It is harder. It is more competitive. Sometimes you can’t do too much with your body. You have to train smart. You have to train very specific to what you have to do out here. You have to take good care of yourself. You have to do a lot of modalities to keep yourself healthy. I have actually changed what I’m doing from a training standpoint in the offseason and in our down time in season to keep myself healthy and able to be out here every day and doing what I’m doing. That is the biggest difference is me just having the time to practice and just to play, and that is where improvement comes.”
- Someone wanted to know how playing tight end in the NFL differs from in college. They referenced a comment that labeled tight as the “most brutal” position in the NFL to prompt this response.
“The tight ends are asked to do a lot. Mentally, we are maybe second or third behind the quarterback and center in terms of what we need to know. We need to know all of the protections, all of the pass game and all of the run game. Sometimes you have to block hand-in-the-ground 4-3 defensive ends. You have to be able to run routes on corners. You have to be big, fast and agile. It is definitely a niche position. There is a lot to learn for sure.”
- DeValve was asked how rookie David Njoku was coming along in the early stages of training camp.
“He is doing a great job. There is a lot to learn in the offense, especially like we just said at the tight end position. There is a lot that the tight ends have to know. He has mentally handled it pretty well from my point of view. He has made some plays out there. I think he is ready to help us, and I’m excited about what the tight end room can do this year.”
- How is the No. 1 overall pick holding up after two days of fully padded practices?
“I’m doing well. I’m doing my job and just trying to improve every day.”
- Questions for Garrett centered around his involvement in interior alignments.
“It doesn’t bother me much. I just have to make sure I get off, I strike and I keep my head down so that I don’t get washed down the line and be at the point of attack.”
- Has he played inside before? If you’ve watched him at all in college, this is a rhetorical question. The takeaway is that he’s doing it more with the Browns.
“I did it in college, as well. I’m doing it a little bit more here, but that is fine with me.”
- Is he playing more inside because defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ preference to multi-purpose his athletes at multiple positions?
“Yes, and I don’t mind it at all. It is just more opportunity for me to make plays.”
- Garrett said he has always down eight 100-yard sprints after practice and media members have caught onto it. Here’s his explanation.
“I want to be more than prepared for the games for the preseason and for the season. I don’t want to have to be taken out because I’m tired or need a breather. I want to play enough snaps so that if we go 13, 14, 15-play drives, I am still able to get off and play like it is play two or three.”
- The Browns signed Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter in the offseason after injuries decimated the team’s offensive line in 2016. How’s Greco view those signings in relation to his job security?
“I try not to let it bother me, and it really didn’t. I understand things. At that point, I was focused on getting back on the field because at that point, I wasn’t. There was really no time frame in mind. I was just like, ‘Hey, you have to get healthy before you can do anything else. So that was kind of my mind set.”
- Returning from injury and having the team add two solid veterans at your position has got to be tough to swallow. How’s Greco handling that reality as he approaches training camp?
“Absolutely, the older you get, that window of opportunity decreases. They know what they have in me. I have played here long enough, and my goal is to come out each day and leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that I should still be a part of the solution.”
- Let’s see how Greco views his versatility which allows him to play multiple offensive line positions.
“I have always known that. I have always been kind of encouraged that if they need me at left guard, center or right guard, I am ready to step in at any moment. The past few years, I have had one position. There have been times when I have had to bump over, but like I said, they know that I can play anywhere. I just want to go out there every day and if they ask me, ‘Hey, you are playing left guard today.’ That’s fine. If they ask me to play center, wherever they need me, I am ready to help out.”
- Every day counts for Greco as he competes for not just a starting position (unlikely), but also a spot on the roster.
“I am not going to put a number on it. I don’t want to say, ‘Hey, I am 80 percent.’ I was encouraged how I felt out there. I give credit our trainers and our staff in there and the plan they gave me. We kind of laid out as far back as 2016. We are right on track and everything is feeling good. The main thing is when we play the Steelers that is kind of when, if I was to put a number on it, 100 percent. Everything up until that point is just getting ready as best as I can.”
Duke Johnson Jr.
- Duke Johnson was prepared for the questioning he’d receive in his first media availability since we heard he would be used more as a slot receiver this season. Here’s his first response.
“It is possible that there may be some things different, but for the most part, he is just trying to find different ways to get me involved.”
- Someone asked if he’s now attending WR meetings.
“I am normally with Coach Jackson.”
- Does he think he has improved as a wide receiver since entering the NFL?
“A little better, not much, because I was normally working a lot of running back. I would go with the receivers every now and then, and I would go with (senior offensive assistant) Coach (Al) Saunders. The little bit of time that I was with Coach Saunders, I learned a lot.”