The seventh day of Cleveland Browns training camp is over, and you can find our full Day 7 recap here. Let’s check out what Hue Jackson, Ricardo Louis, Joe Thomas, Tank Carder, and Jamar Taylor had to say on Thursday. Tight ends coach Greg Seamon and linebackers coach Blake Williams also spoke.
- There was no opening statement on Thursday, so he took questions right away, starting on the injury front and the back issue TE David Njoku is facing. Jackson said that he hopes Njoku can take part in the Orange & Brown Scrimmage on Friday, but I personally would not bet on it.
“Yeah, he has a little back, something going on with his back. We are working through that, but I think he will be fine. ... I think it flared up right at the start of practice. Those backs are kind of tricky. You start feeling good and things lock up a little bit. I don’t think it is anything major. I think we will be fine. We will definitely take a good peak at it.”
- Although QB Cody Kessler took a lot of sacks in Thursday’s practice, Jackson said it would not be fair to be critical of him.
“Sometimes the sacks don’t have anything to do with the quarterback. We made it sound like the quarterback [was responsible]. There were three missed assignments in protection so that wasn’t the quarterback. I know that for a fact.”
- Jackson also gave standard answers regarding QB DeShone Kizer’s good throw (i.e. ‘that’s what you’re supposed to do’) and whether QB Brock Osweiler could still start Week 1 (i.e. ‘of course he can’). So, then, what’s the update on naming a starter?
“After we have the scrimmage and go through that process, next week, there is really two days of practice before we play. I will say to all of you, me making that decision of who may start the game may not be who is the starter for the season, too. I still have to go through that process. Next week, the guy who starts may not still be the starter in my mind, unless that is where I am. I have told you guys I am not going to rush. I appreciate you all and I appreciate our fans, but it is too important of a decision to get right for our football team. I love the pressure you guys put on, but I’m not succumbing to it (laughter).”
- We got some insight as to why the Browns, despite needing to evaluate both Shon Coleman and Cameron Erving at right tackle, are sometimes playing left tackle: it’s because the Browns will rarely play Joe Thomas in these preseason games, and they need someone else available to play with the starters and be ready for it.
“The unfortunate part is, as we know, I’m not going to play (OL) Joe (Thomas) a ton. I think we all know that. Joe Thomas is not going to play a ton. Someone has to man that left side while he is not playing. Those two guys will go do that. We will get a chance to see them on both sides at tackle and be able to evaluate them that way. That is good for our football team and our organization.”
- After seven practices, the Jackson named several low-key players as having stood out:
“(DL Trevon) Coley has done a sensational job. (LB Deon) King. King can really run. He is a guy on defense who can really run. (OL) Shon Coleman has had a really good camp, not that I didn’t know about him, but he was coming off of a knee injury and improving, and (OL) Cam (Erving). Cam has done a great job at tackle. Both of those guys have really jumped out to me because we needed to see him go from center to tackle. I think he has proven that he is worthy of playing out there. The kid (RB Matthew) Dayes, he has made plays in every practice he has been involved in, and all of the different things we are doing with (RB) Duke Johnson. That is exciting for me because those are guys that have a chance to be some bedrocks for our football team.”
- Lastly, Jackson touched on a little bit of the format for the Orange & Brown Scrimmage:
“We are going to a brown team and a white team. We are going to stick them on the sideline. We are going to have a coin toss. Which one of you wants to do the coin toss? (laughing) We will have a coin toss, and we will go play a game. It is going to be broken up by what I think is fair because I want them to compete. ... It will be the No. 1 offense against the No. 2 defense, then the No. 2 offense against the No. 1 defense.”
- Louis received praise this offseason for the improvements he’s made, but he hasn’t been a big name in training camp yet. None of the wide receivers have really, which is why the scrimmage and preseason games will be a big time for them to shine. Louis talked about the biggest difference in him from year one to year two:
“Confidence and just being comfortable with doing what I have to do. Once you know what you are doing, it is really easy to just play. ... In the offseason, I took my training very seriously. I took my conditioning very seriously because I want to come out and pretty much run all day. I didn’t want to get tired. Sometimes when the team needs you to make plays, everybody is tired. You want to still be able to keep going. That was my goal in the offseason was to come back in the best shape ever.”
- Thomas talked a lot about his encounter with DE Myles Garrett on Wednesday, which we will cover in another post. He did talk about how great it was to have Hall of Famer Bruce Smith at practice for a day:
“It was great seeing Bruce out there. I was a big fan when I was a kid. To have him out there sharing his knowledge is, I am sure, exceptional for Myles and for all of those guys on the defensive line.”
- Thomas also explained his every-other-day practice schedule:
“The schedule that I am on is sort of an every other day (schedule). I practiced yesterday, off today and then on the next day. That is about all there is to it (laughter). I guess if I need a little bit more rest after a practice day, for instance maybe if I have more plays then I expected or something is sore, you just feel like you need a little more recovery, then you might get two days off. We are lucky that we have not had to do that yet.”
- Is the football field a good place to die?
- Even though the middle linebacker position might not be prominently used by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, Carder is still relishing in the fact that he’s playing with the first-team defense in camp for the first time in his career:
“It is a different feel. I have never really been in this position, but you take it as it comes. It is great. I love it. I love the challenge. We are working hard. We have a lot of work to do. ... It has kind of been put into my hands to run the defense and make the checks and do what we need to do to win games. I am going to take it on full-boar.”
- Taylor was a very pleasant surprise for Cleveland last year, and he was rewarded with a contract extension. However, he said last year for him was still not good enough and he needs to take his game to another level. He believes things are looking great for the defense in 2017, though:
“We have a great defensive coordinator. We have great coaches. We are flying around right now, and we have to continue to just get better with these days at practice. We have to keep stacking our days up, but I see us doing way, way better than last year.”
- Chemistry with all of the defensive backs is important, and Taylor thinks everyone is communicating well right now so he doesn’t think it matters who ends up as their starting safeties. He also talked about the motivation of proving the Dolphins wrong for giving up on him: