Football is back in Berea! The Cleveland Browns took the field on Tuesday for the start of OTAs, but it was a closed session. On Wednesday, practice was open to the media, which means we have plenty of nuggets to share with you.
BROWNS’ OTA RECAP - WEDNESDAY PRACTICE
1. Team Mostly at Full Strength: OTAs are voluntary, but you still expect most, if not all, of the players to take the field to gain every advantage they can get at making the roster. Emmanuel Ogbah, who ended last year with an injury, was also ready-to-go.
2. A Few Players Out: There were a couple of players on the stationary bikes for practice, including OLB Jamie Collins, MLB Tank Carder, and CB Howard Wilson. Collins missed half of last season, while Carder and Wilson missed all of last season, to injuries. All three players should be ready to go before long, though. And while teams like the Chargers had terrible news at OTAs on the injury front (Hunter Henry suffering a torn ACL), Cleveland has escaped injury-free the past two days.
3. Quarterback Drills: The main thing people are going to take away from an OTA session, where no contact is allowed, is how the quarterbacks and receivers perform. Here is Baker Mayfield throwing passes to WR Josh Gordon and RB Carlos Hyde.
And here is Tyrod Taylor finding rookie WR Antonio Callaway:
Per Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, the rep order went Taylor first, Drew Stanton second, and Mayfield third.
4. Footwork Drills: I can only dream of having quick feet like these running backs do. You be the judge -- who did it best between RB Carlos Hyde, RB Nick Chubb, and RB Duke Johnson?
5. Ruiter With the Quick Hitters: Here is a collection of nice mini-observations from Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 the Fan, which are the types of things media should be looking for and pointing out this time of year:
A few observations from #Browns OTAs:— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) May 23, 2018
- A lot fewer footballs on the ground today
- Accuracy of passes improved
- Austin Corbett been alternating between LT & LG
- Jabrill Peppers is within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage & not in Ashtabula
- Speed upgrade is noticeable
6. Jarvis Landry’s Role: Here is another good observation, this time from Jordan Zirm, who relays that WR Jarvis Landry lined up on the outside multiple times:
also of importance: the Browns lining Jarvis Landry up as the Z receiver today, multiple times— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) May 23, 2018
Here is Landry catching a pass from QB Tyrod Taylor:
7. Depth Chart Surprise? Per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, CB T.J. Carrie, despite being the highest-paid addition at cornerback, was running with the twos:
Second #Browns OTA (and first one open to media) is over. Most surprising thing I saw was cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and Terrance Mitchell with first-team defense instead of TJ Carrie, who was with twos. Denzel Ward with backups was expected b/c coaches want rookies to work way up.— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) May 23, 2018
8. Brownies: After practice, RB Duke Johnson said he’s optimistic about getting a new contract with Cleveland. ... CB Denzel Ward is still trying to figure out what jersey number he will have (he currently has No. 1, but that won’t stand). ... WR Jarvis Landry said he considers himself the best receiver in the NFL. ... OT Shon Coleman got first-team reps at left tackle. ... QB Tyrod Taylor had this to say about the players learning the Browns’ offense under Todd Haley:
9. One More Thing: And oh yeah, we have WR Josh Gordon. Staying out of trouble. With a full offseason program. And already making one-hand stabs in his sleep:
It’s going to be a good year. Here is the full one-minute hype/recap video from the Browns.
There was also a press conference afterward related to Hard Knocks, which we will cover on Thursday.