The Browns practiced at FirstEnergy Stadium for the first time this year, filling the void of not having been there with preseason games cancelled in 2020.
Cleveland Browns Training Camp Report - Day 14 (8/30/20)
1. Look at that Beautiful Field: We still don’t know how many fans will be permitted in FirstEnergy Stadium this year (if any), and for which games. But man, did the field look so beautiful heading into today’s practice or what?
ITS SOOOOO GOOD TO BE BACK!!! pic.twitter.com/pl3P34EEP6— Nathan Zegura (@NathanZegura) August 30, 2020
2. Several Move-the-Ball Series: I try to embed Browns Live into every training camp review, but today, I’m doing it inside this bullet point because it is definitely worth the watch. I thought that today was mostly going to be a regular training camp practice, because that’s what Kevin Stefanski made it sound like initially. However, Browns Live aired about six drives in their entirety. The way things shook out were:
- QB Baker Mayfield and the 1st-team offense vs. the 2nd-team defense
- QB Case Keenum and the 2nd-team offense vs. the 1st-team defense
Although the action is zoomed in on the quarterback because the team doesn’t want to give free film to other teams, you still get a good sense of how the offense is flowing, and it’s as close to a preseason-game-feel as we can get. Check it out:
3. Players Sitting Out: The following players did not practice today due to injury: DE Myles Garrett (wrist), LB B.J. Goodson (personal), T Chris Hubbard (ankle), CB Kevin Johnson (liver), CB M.J. Stewart Jr. (hamstring), C JC Tretter (knee), CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) and LB Mack Wilson (knee).
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said DE Myles Garrett didn't practice today out of an abundance of caution with a wrist issue. Added they limited TE Austin Hooper in team periods out of an abundance of caution, but he's just fine— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) August 30, 2020
4. Red Zone Drills: Practice began with some red zone drills, and QB Baker Mayfield looked sharp connecting with WR Odell Beckham Jr. in the back left corner of the end zone for a touchdown (although the pair weren’t able to connect on the previous throw).
TOE TAP.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 30, 2020
Our @uhhospitals Play of the Day! pic.twitter.com/kQIU0RmeQu
Right after that, Mayfield hit TE Austin Hooper for a red zone touchdown, over the reach of LB Tae Davis. Chalk it up as a victory to the offense during the red zone drills.
5. Seibert With a Mixed Performance: K Austin Seibert finally got to attempt some field goals at the stadium. He was kicking into the Dawg Pound end of the stadium, and made 7-of-8 field goals, with his one miss being from 54 yards (wide right). Fred Greetham of The OBR notes that one of Seibert’s field goals from 38 yards out ricocheted off the upright and in.
Cleveland then jumped into “end of game scenario” drills. One of those involved the offense completing a pass, and then rushing the field goal unit onto the field. Seibert lined up on the right hash, but his 52-yard field goal bounced off the right upright and was no good.
Right after that, the Browns tried again: a completed pass, followed by a spike, and then Seibert coming in for a 50-yard attempt. He hit the right upright again, and it was no good.
6. Jedrick Wills at Left Tackle: One of the end-of-the-game scenarios involved the team trying a Hail Mary. According to Zac Jackson, rookie LT Jedrick Wills committed a false start prior to the Hail Mary, so he was taken off the field for a play and replaced by OT Kendall Lamm.
Watching the first-team operate their offense in regular situations later in practice, you couldn’t see how specific offensive linemen were doing every play, but on some of them, you could. While I wouldn’t say that Wills is a liability, he’s definitely not “Day 1-ready,” like Joe Thomas was. And that’s fine and understandable — he is a rookie, making a position switch, in a COVID-shortened offseason.
On two of the pass plays I saw, he seemed to be beat a little around the edge by DE Robert McCray as QB Baker Mayfield dropped back. DE Porter Gustin then beat Wills with a straight up power move for a virtual sack on 3rd-and-1. After practice, Wills acknowledged that he’s working through things, but he’ll get there:
#Browns rookie LT Jedrick Wills on if he gets discouraged going against Olivier Vernon, Myles Garrett: Of course because you come from a place in college where I was dominant, it gets frustrating at times, you just need to learn from the losses— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) August 30, 2020
7. Drive 1 - Keenum (2nd Offense vs. 1st Defense): He’s back! The first play of the competitive team drills was a pass from QB Case Keenum to a wide-open TE David Njoku for about 65 yards after the catch-and-run. Again, you don’t get to see how these plays develop during Browns Live, but it’s still nice to see Njoku back in action after mysteriously disappearing from practice yesterday.
Case Keenum to David Njoku (via #Browns) pic.twitter.com/Qu0te9T6pR— BrownsWave \\: (@BrownsByBrad) August 30, 2020
Live tackling to the ground was permitted during these first couple of series. Keenum finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to WR Damion Ratley, who lined up in the slot and ran a quick out pattern on CB Terrance Mitchell. It was good timing by the combination of Keenum and Ratley.
8. Drive 2 - Mayfield (1st Offense vs. 2nd Defense): The first play for QB Baker Mayfield was a quick incomplete pass thrown out to WR Jarvis Landry, with CB Donovan Olumba closely in coverage. After a second-down run, there was some type of pre-snap penalty before third down that backed the drive up five yards. On third down, Mayfield dumped the ball off to RB Nick Chubb, but the defense came up to gang tackle him a yard shy of a first down. P Jamie Gillan came on for the punt.
9. Drive 3 - Keenum (2nd Offense vs. 1st Defense): I laughed when I saw the first play, because it drove me nuts last year: the Browns lined up five wide, and QB Case Keenum immediately threw the ball flat to TE Pharoah Brown. LB Sione Takitaki came up to make a nice tackle on him as soon as he caught it.
RB Dontrell Hilliard was in on Keenum’s first series, and RB D’Ernest Johnson took his place on this drive. Johnson had a couple of nice runs. Keenum completed a couple of nice out routes to WR Rashard Higgins and TE Stephen Carlson; you can see how quick Keenum gets the ball out, efficiently. On a play where Keenum playaction faked and rolled to his right, he looked downfield before checking down to WR Donovan Peoples-Jones for about a 7-yard gain. In the red zone, Keenum ran up the middle on 3rd-and-short to pick up a first down. The drive was capped off with a playaction fake and then Keenum hitting Johnson for an open touchdown. Johnson celebrated by jumping into the Dawg Pound.
.@DernestJohnson2 jumps right into the Dawg Pound pic.twitter.com/e8oFngcuTs— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 30, 2020
10. Drive 4 - Mayfield (1st Offense vs. 2nd Defense): With Keenum already having two touchdown drives, QB Baker Mayfield and the first-team offense didn’t want to be shut out again. Cleveland tried to go deep off of a playaction fake with max protection on the first play. The protection held up, but so did the defense, so Mayfield rolled to his right and eventually threw the ball away.
On second down, Mayfield playfaked and found FB Andy Janovich for a nice little catch-and-run. On the next play, Mayfield did a quick drop back and threw the ball out to his left for TE David Njoku, who caught it and ran to about midfield for another nice little gain.
Baker Mayfield to David Njoku (via #Browns) pic.twitter.com/MMClKCBmsj— BrownsWave \\: (@BrownsByBrad) August 30, 2020
Cleveland then tried some trickery by doing a direct snap to someone in motion, and WR Jarvis Landry tried throwing the ball back across the field to Mayfield (behind the line). Mayfield aborted the play because it basically would’ve been a sack. WR Damion Ratley later had another nice catch-and-run up the left side to move the ball into the red zone.
On first down, an end around to WR JoJo Natson was stopped right away by LB Maclolm Smith. On second down, WR Odell Beckham caught a pass to get a little closer to paydirt. On 3rd-and-2, Mayfield didn’t see anyone open and threw the ball away. The offense went for it on 4th-and-2, and Mayfield found Njoku again on a quick out for a first down.
On 4th and 2: Baker Mayfield to David Njoku. Hunt runs it in from the 2 the play after (via #Browns) pic.twitter.com/Gpz50qZ6DY— BrownsWave \\: (@BrownsByBrad) August 30, 2020
RB Kareem Hunt punched it in from one yard out for the touchdown.
11. Drive 5 - Keenum (2nd Offense vs. 1st Defense): This time, QB Case Keenum went three-and-out, giving the first-team defense their first shutdown of the day. The first two plays were runs, and then Keenum’ third-down pass was too high for WR J’Mon Moore.
12. Drive 6 - Mayfield (1st Offense vs. 2nd Defense): On Mayfield’s third drive, his first pass in the direction of WR Odell Beckham sailed away from him out of bounds. The next two plays were runs for RB Nick Chubb, who looked like he would’ve busted one or both of them for big gains (but they blew the play down).
Nick Chubb breaks one (via #Browns) pic.twitter.com/SJveJIQi4N— BrownsWave \\: (@BrownsByBrad) August 30, 2020
Cleveland set up a nice screen pass to RB Kareem Hunt on the next play; seeing Chubb and Hunt work line that, with the blocking scheme, lets you know how this offense will run on gameday. TE Austin Hooper then caught a pass to further the drive more. I swear, the scouting reports were right about Hooper — he’s just open all the time. This is the drive that stalled when DE Porter Gustin registered the third-down sack on LT Jedrick Wills, forcing the offense to settle for a field goal by K Austin Seibert.
13. Drive 7 - Keenum (2nd Offense vs. 1st Defense): This was a hurry-up drill in the red zone. QB Case Keenum dumped the ball off to RB D’Ernest Johnson, then his TE Stephen Carlson up the seam. OT Alex Taylor then had a false start, followed by a pass that sailed out of the end zone that was incomplete. That was all the time that was allotted to the offense, so the defense won this one.
14. Drive 8 - Mayfield (1st Offense vs. 2nd Defense): On the first play of this red zone drill, which was also the final play of practice, QB Baker Mayfield tried to throw the ball to WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, but it was behind him and picked off by S Jovante Moffatt, who returned it up the sideline before Mayfield pushed him out of bounds.
Jovante Moffatt picks off Baker Mayfield (via #Browns) pic.twitter.com/t5RRplh8kp— BrownsWave \\: (@BrownsByBrad) August 30, 2020
15. What About Us? After practice, QB Garrett Gilbert and QB Kevin Davidson chucked the ball around a little. These types of depth players used to have the chance to be the stars of preseason games, but not in 2020.
The content you’re here for: Garrett Gilbert and Ken Davidson dropping dimes after practice. #Browns pic.twitter.com/MQpFWk6KPD— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) August 30, 2020
16. Brownies: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones has seen increased action the past few days in the return game, per Zac Jackson. ... WR KhaDarel Hodge saw more work as the No. 3 receiver. ... DE Porter Gustin seems well ahead of DE Chad Thomas on the depth chart. ... Cleveland practiced taking a safety, with P Jamie Gillan fielding the snap and running out of the back of the end zone. ... A total of 77 puppies have been adopted via the Browns Puppy Pound this year. ... Before practice, the Browns gathered on field to talk about being part of the solution, with the team also releasing these statements:
Statement from our players:#BeTheSolution pic.twitter.com/Hk96ItRM1G— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 30, 2020
17. Next Up: The Browns are off on Monday. The team has not announced next week’s practice schedule yet.