Football is back! Training camp kicked off on Thursday, and fans who have been dying to see the likes of QB Baker Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham Jr. in action came out in bunches. As we do every year for each practice, we will recap what happened based on aggregating a bunch of media reports and tweets.
Cleveland Browns Training Camp Report - Day 1 (7/25/19)
1. Welcome Back to Training Camp: I will be attending training camp on Monday, July 29. Nonetheless, each year, I like to start these camp reports off by looking at some differences in things like signage and entertainment. Cleveland has made it easier for fans over the past few years to know which field the action is taking place on, and for 2019, they have updated the signage, as you can see below. Day 1 of practice took place on Field 3, which is right when you enter.
#BrownsCamp If you've never been to Camp before you'll see this sign. It tells you what field the team will use as the main one for the day. It will rotate. Today it's starting on field 3. They will use all 3 to start off and finish on the labeled field for the day. pic.twitter.com/Dx9ve8h4Gr— ChadP71 Ridin' with 6 (@chadp71) July 25, 2019
Fans were camped out early, waiting to be a part of something special:
2. Get Your Hot Dogs! Who doesn’t like free food at training camp? Sugardale is giving out free hot dogs to Fans from July 25-28, and then on August 10. It figures that they aren’t doing it on July 29, when I would definitely be clamoring for one.
3. Chanting for Anyone, Even Drew Forbes: The same group of fans seem to chant for Browns players as they come onto the field to begin camp each year, and 2019 was no different. They even broke out a chant for rookie offensive lineman Drew Forbes:
4. Drill of the Day, Part 1: For each practice, I like to highlight some of the individual drills in clips, especially when they are ones that I personally have not witnessed before at a camp session I attended. Today, there are two drills to show off, with the first one involving the defensive linemen starting in a three-point stance and lunging at the bag:
5. Drill of the Day, Part 2: I’ve never seen the Browns utilize these guides for the running backs and wide receivers to run through. Here is one involving the receivers, almost helping them form muscle memory of how far they need to go before making their cut on the out route:
And then here are the running backs using the guide to cut into the hole (side note: yes, Nick Chubb’s jump cut looks quite sick).
6. Punt Return Drills Start Early: Cleveland worked in special teams drills pretty early, and the three players taking punt return reps were RB Duke Johnson, WR Ishmael Hyman, and WR Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi. It should be a fun battle to watch. Speaking of punt drills, here is the Scottish Hammer Jamie Gillan booming a punt sky high, although it doesn’t go very far (note: that shouldn’t be a criticism, because we don’t know if the drill called for punts with hang time):
7. Right Guard Update: The biggest competition in training camp is for the starting right guard spot to see who replaces veteran Kevin Zeitler. The first man up on Day 1 of camp was Austin Corbett, but after practice, head coach Freddie Kitchens acknowledged that they will be rotating different players each day at right guard to see who will win the competition.
8. Hello, Odell Beckham: I couldn’t just lead off with Odell Beckham Jr right off the bat with my updates! He was the player who fans were dying to see, and he didn’t disappoint. Even if he wasn’t catching every pass, there was a spectacle of some kind going on, such as some of the battles he had with CB Denzel Ward. Here is Beckham vs. Ward in a one-on-one matchup, where Ward gets the upper hand here:
Ward v Beckham. One of many 1on1 matchups. pic.twitter.com/0eTITi5Iyf— Jake Burns (@jake_burns18) July 25, 2019
When it came time to team drills, QB Baker Mayfield was hot right away with Beckham, as these two plays are hauled in against CB Terrance Mitchell:
Odell with the catch on the sideline. pic.twitter.com/kazf2eSW7K— Dan Labbe (@dan_labbe) July 25, 2019
I mean, heck, that is more excitement than you get at a Browns training camp session in any other year. You can just feel how these guys are ready to go make a statement in real games already. To cap things off with the OBJ highlights, here is a nice clip from Dustin Fox of 92.3 the Fan, showing you why Beckham’s footwork is awesome:
9. Duke Johnson vs. Sione Takitaki: Day 1 of camp was not supposed to involve hitting, but that’s what rookie LB Sione Takitaki did to RB Duke Johnson, which almost sparked the first fight of camp. Teammates held Johnson back to prevent it from escalating.
#Browns RB Duke Johnson got popped by rookie LB Sione Takitaki during 9 on 7 run period. Duke didn’t appreciate it and briefly went after Takitaki but was held back enough by others to prevent an actual fight.— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) July 25, 2019
10. Camp Surprise: Four different people in attendance singled out WR Blake Jackson for having a great day, and here’s an example why, with the concentration shown on a catch like this. Remember, Jackson was a college quarterback who was groomed on the Browns’ practice squad for all of 2018:
11. Running Long: How many times do we see practice sessions end early, with a lot of down time? That wasn’t the case to kick off the Freddie Kitchens era, as his practice went over two hours.
Practice is over. Two hours and 13 minutes from start of stretch to final horn. That’s different.— Zac Jackson (@AkronJackson) July 25, 2019
In response to the long practice time, Kitchens said, “We’re going to go until we get it right.” My favorite post-practice coach from Kitchens was this one — that realization that he has control of this football team:
Quote of the day from Freddie Kitchens on his first camp practice as a head coach "I had the authority to talk to the defense and the offense without pissing anybody off" #Browns— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) July 25, 2019
12. Brownies, Part 1: Per Jake Burns, S Jermaine Whitehead got some first-team work covering the slot defender, with CB T.J. Carrie on the outside (rookie CB Greedy Williams is beginning with the second-team defense). ... WR Jaelen Strong made a nice sideline catch from QB Garrett Gilbert. ... CB Juston Burris had an interception. ... CB Greedy Williams should have had one, but dropped it and did pushups afterward. ... The Browns’ defense is going with a 4-2-5 defense for most of its packages. ... The Browns’ Puppy Pound returned for its fifth straight year, and a total of four puppies were adopted on Day 1.
13. Brownies, Part 2: WR Damion Ratley made some nice catches, but was with a trainer near the end of practice. ... WR Rashard Higgins worked with the first-team offense, while WR Antonio Callaway was with the second-teamers. ... DT Danny Ekuale was another played singled out by Jake Burns as getting some good interior reps. ... RB Duke Johnson and RB Dontrell Hilliard both got reps with the first-team offense. ... Speaking of the running backs, maybe they will get some more screen passes this year!
Everyone will be excited about the Duke Johnson reception, but look at Joel Bitonio getting out in front! pic.twitter.com/pnbnleSIEc— Nick Shook (@TheNickShook) July 25, 2019
14. Next Up: Practice continues Friday in Berea, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
Today was the first day we got to see Baker + Jarvis + Odell on the practice field at the same time and it did not disappoint.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 25, 2019
The 2-Minute Drill: pic.twitter.com/dpJJbA1lVQ