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Cleveland Browns Training Camp Recap: Day 4 - Live in Berea

We were live in Berea for the first Browns practice session open to the public, with a video tour.

Here is Saturday’s practice report for the Browns from Berea:

Cleveland Browns Training Camp Report - Day 4 (7/30/22)

1. Live in Berea: I have been going to training camp for over a decade now, but today’s decision to attend the first practice open to the public was a bit of an impromptu one. My originally-scheduled date was August 16th, which would be the final session open to the public. This past weekend, though, I started thinking, “shoot, if it rains that day, I’ll miss out on camp this year.” On top of that, I had read about the changes made to the fan experience in Berea for training camp and was eager to see them.

I went hunting on Twitter this morning, doing searches to see if anyone had a ticket they were giving away. I struck out with the first try, but the second person generously transferred one of their four tickets to me, and then within an hour, I was off to training camp by bus and bicycle, with my video equipment packed up.

Unfortunately, because I now shoot in high-quality video, YouTube typically takes between 1-3 days to get the video ready, so I hope to have that posted early next week. In the mean time, I’ll try to provide a descriptive tour with the help of some pictures. UPDATE: Our video tour is now live!

2. Expansion of Berea Complete: Last year, we heard that the Browns had purchased many of the houses/land along Pearl Street in hopes of expanding the outdoor area for fans. That project is now complete, so it’s a bit startling at first to walk by and see all of the houses and the church gone that were previously there. It does look like one house held out and is still there, preventing the expansion from going the entire length of the practice fields.

There is a new, smaller bleachers located in this space, among other things (including a “sideline club” for select individuals). There is still a lot of open green space that the team will probably think about how they want to use in the future, but my first instinct was that they could have more food trucks and picnic tables set up there for the eating experience in Berea.

3. Getting Inside: Practice was set to begin at 2:00 PM, and I was busy filming and doing some of my commentary before heading to the line around 1:35 PM. The gates opened at 1:00 PM, but the line was still down the street when I got there. As you can see on the right, a truck was trying to pull into a driveway to park for $20. That is a nice little bonus for some of these houses if they can collect an extra $60 or so per practice.

The Browns were enforcing the NFL’s Clear Bag policy at camp this year. Since I was going by bus and bicycle, I had a thin backpack on to carry my belongings, with a clear bag inside it that I switched to once I got in line. To my surprise, they did have a complimentary bag check just to the left of the entrance, and quite a few bags were stowed there.

As I was getting closer to the gate, my ticket app — which I had loaded fine an hour earlier — was not showing the ticket, wouldn’t sign out, wouldn’t sign in, etc. I stepped to the side for probably about 15 minutes before finally trying to sign in to an incognito browser tab, and that allowed me to load the barcode on the website (but the app would still not work).

Once inside, the I saw that practice would be held on the field closest to the grandstand bleachers. I toured all of the attractions in that area, then headed back to the front to explore the new “expanded” area where the houses were torn down, before sitting in the bleachers to catch some of practice. The video tour is here. It’s about a 1 hour, 30 minute video — the first third of which is my journey to camp, and the final hour consisting of the tour with commentary.

4. Michael Woods With the Adjustment: When I sat in the bleachers, it wasn’t long before the 11-on-11 drills started over an hour into practice, so I caught the best parts. I tweeted out about six videos of plays, and this is the one that happened to catch fire on social media: rookie WR Michael Woods ran an out-and-up, getting a lot of separation on CB Parnell Motley. A lot of people ragged on QB Jacoby Brissett for the throw, and rightly so — if the guy is going to be starting meaningful games for us, we can’t have a dud like this during a regular season game. Woods made the adjustment to still come up with the catch.

5. Jadaveon Clowney Bursts Through: Here was another highlight during 11-on-11s — with QB Deshaun Watson in Shotgun, DE Jadeveon Clowney burst through and knocked down the pass. Clowney caught fire in the second half of last season, and it’s great to have him return for another year alongside DE Myles Garett.

Here is another play where Watson completed a low pass to a sliding receiver, but it’s always hard to tell in camp whether something would be a sack or not in regular game action, if the offensive line is playing at full speed, etc. Just looking at it in real time, it looks like the defensive line gets close to the quarterback so quickly.

6. Carted Off: I missed this moment, as I must have been touring at the time, but rookie undrafted free agent WR Isaiah Weston was carted off with a meniscus injury. We’ll see what the MRI results show, but sadly it doesn’t sound optimistic for the rookie.

7. 50-Yard Line Logo is Back! Can you believe that 2017 was the last time the Browns had a logo at midfield for home games? It has been so weird to me to see nothing at midfield, so when I saw a few workers setting up this poster at training camp, I asked them, “Is this just a fun contest, or is there legitimately going to be a midfield/end zone logo this year?” And they insisted it was legitimate — then a few minutes later, I saw the press release from the Browns, announcing the voting. Very exciting! You can vote on it here.

8. Good Start for Cade: He’s not facing any competition, but it’s still good to see rookie K Cade York go 6-for-6 on field goals, with a long of 48 yards. He’ll build up to more distance as camp goes on. For what it’s worth, it felt like there was virtually no wind today.

9. Interaction With the Fans: One thing I missed by not getting to practice extra early — the chance to throw a football back and forth with DE Myles Garrett!

After practice, QB Deshaun Watson signed autographs for kids. Whether I like the guy or not, there was clearly a stark difference in talent between Watson and all the other quarterbacks.

10. Camp Chatter: Every year at training camp, I try to keep my ears open for camp chatter — things I hear from fans in the crowd around me. I didn’t spend a lot of time in the crowd, but some observations:

  • When the Browns were practicing on the main field, some fans were still sitting in the tiny bleachers diagonal and as far away as possible — but one fan walked by and said, “I bet they’re going to come over here next after that whistle; they’ve got to, right?” I narrated, “Nope, they definitely will not be” on my video, knowing how practice works once a certain field is designated.
  • “That one is a dud,” as I looked up to see the result of a punt that appeared to be a bit shallow but angled so much to the sideline that it nearly hit a coach who was on the other practice field.
  • “I don’t know where I should go,” said a lady with her kids that was caught around the one corner of Browns camp that is still heavily congested traffic-wise for fans, as you try to turn the corner to get to the main field.
  • “Those guys were a really good tandem back in my day for the Browns,” said a father to his son when explaining who the Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield oversized bobbleheads were representing.

11. Brownies, Part I: There were a lot of posts over the years that my dad would regularly look forward to reading, and I haven’t been able to do some of those this year; but I was able to get to training camp, and this post is in memory of him as it was always one of his favorites to read. ... Complimentary items that I picked up were two water bottles, a cinch bag, a Browns necklace, and a Cross Country Mortgage towel/banner. ... Former Browns LT Joe Thomas was a guest in Berea. ... Alumni Hanford Dixon was signing autographs for fans. ... There appeared to be one portable toilet inside the ropes of the playing field this year, possibly for players to use in a pinch.

12. Brownies, Part II: TE Harrison Bryant is receiving quite a bit of praise in camp. ... The team has really been signing the praises of DT Jordan Elliott too, with defensive line coach Chris Kiffin saying that Elliott “is really coming into his own as far as getting his body right, taking that third-year step, confidence and all of that.” ... After practice, DE Chase Winovich and DE Myles Garrett got some extra work in:

The Browns Puppy Pound, presented by Sugardale, returned to training camp for the eighth consecutive year and a total of 10 puppies were adopted today.

12. Next Up: The Browns are off on Sunday. Their next practice is Monday, August 1.