Day 15 of Cleveland Browns training camp concluded on Tuesday, and you can find our full Day 15 recap here. None of the players were up for interviews; instead, before practice, all three of the team’s coordinators spoke.
We covered special teams coordinator Chris Tabor here, and will get to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams soon. This recap will check out what Hue Jackson and run game coordinator Kirby Wilson had to say.
- After physical practices on Sunday and Monday and being pissed off a couple of days ago, Jackson came full circle (as I think anyone could have predicted) by complimenting his team’s effort and giving them the night off from meetings. But he stressed that the curfew was firmly at 11:00 PM, not 11:01 PM.
“Another good practice. Took them out of the total pads, but our guys, sometimes when we are not in total pads, it is like we are in pads. It was very competitive like normal. We got a lot of good work done. Guys keep working. I am proud of them. Give them a little treat tonight for a little while. They just have to be back at curfew. They understand they have to handle themselves the right way, and I am sure they will. ... This is the first time I have given them this little break. They have a little longer break now. I think they deserve it. They have earned it. They have worked hard. They have done everything I have asked so I give them a treat every now and then.”
- QB DeShone Kizer took reps second in line, behind QB Brock Osweiler and in front of QB Cody Kessler on Tuesday. Jackson said that an announcement about the quarterbacks for the Giants game will come on Wednesday. Regardless of who is picked, Jackson will continue to meet with Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta about it first:
“I always will. I always like to talk to them to get their feedback, but I don’t think it is a hard decision. What is best for our football team as we head into the season, we are still just heading into our second preseason game. There are still going to be two more after that to continue to evaluate if we need to, but I think it is important that for this game – I will say it again, just for this game – we are going to head into it hopefully in a way I feel very comfortable with. It could change or things could not change, and we will just kind of go from there.”
- Jackson has worked with RG Kevin Zeitler before from their days in Cincinnati. We’ve noted before that he comes off serious / not-so-interesting in his interviews, and a reporter actually asked Hue about that and whether he had any stories about him:
“I can’t tell any stories (laughter). I have too many of those, but he is a very serious young man. His job is really important to him. You don’t get a chance to see him out here before we start walkthroughs or practice, the guy probably takes 100 sets in the mirror before he ever leaves the locker room and probably another 150 when he is standing out here before practice. It is really important to him. He wants to be one of the best at what he does. He has a burning desire to do that so I am glad he is a part of our football team.”
- A reporter asked about how Gregg Williams helps to push Hue Jackson, and Jackson ended up praising the entire staff. I have to say that everyone seems to work well together this offseason, taking ownership and pride in their niches.
“Oh my gosh, what he is doing on defense is what you need. One man can’t do it. Me and him can’t do it. It is our whole staff. It is directed from top down. That is the way we go about it. Obviously, myself, him and Coach Tabes (special teams coordinator Chris Tabor) are the leaders of our groups, but at the same time, the assistants have to carry the message as well as the coordinators, and they have. It is an everyday thing. We are pushing and pulling, and the guys are responding. That is what you look for.”
- Lastly, Jackson was asked if WR Jordan Payton has moved up the depth chart:
“Probably so. Jordan has made some plays. He has made some plays in games, he has improved and he is working hard. We reward guys who work hard and do what we ask and he is one of those guys.”
- Coaches continue to really talk up RB Isaiah Crowell, and I don’t know if I’ve quite seen something like this before about a player who is playing in a contract year.
“[I expect] nothing short of a spectacular year. He has worked extremely hard here during training camp. He has all of the physical tools. We think that his work ethic and his attitude about how he approaches his job every day should lead to a really special season for him. ... [Improved vision] is about understanding the defense, where each player is going to fit in their run responsibilities. That comes with studying the game, studying defenses, watching tape and acquiring more knowledge as you watch about a certain defense. I think he has improved in that area, and every year, you can get better at that as a runner.”
- When asked if Crowell can average 5 yards per carry, Wilson downplayed the importance of the yards per carry metric, and talked about looking at how they perform in certain situations:
“It is all relative because a guy can get a first down on second-and-2 and get 3 yards, and he keeps doing that and he has a 3-yard average. One guy can come in and run the wrong way and bust a 20-yarder, and it will appear that he has the great average and is doing everything right, but the guy went the wrong way once, the second time he didn’t hit the right hole but he still got a 10-plus yard average. It is all relative. It is in the yards, and you have to look at every read, every decision and every ball placement. That is what is important and that is what we count. It is not so much the yards per average. It is about doing the right thing with the football when it is in your hands.”
- Although there were several questions asked about RB Duke Johnson, it was your prototypical answers -- i.e. regarding touches last year, every running back will always want the ball more. The one intereting nugget I took out of his answers is how he expects Johnson to be better this year, and part of the answer is similar to what they expect from Crowell:
“...understanding defenses better, understanding how to set players in one-on-one and what to expect during game-planning.”
- Wilson called RB Matthew Dayes a three-phase player because he can run, pass protect, and receive, similar to Johnson. The big edge that Johnson has in that department, when differentiating the two, is the experience factor. Wilson talked about the chip that everyone says Dayes has on his shoulder regarding his low draft status: