Here is Sunday’s practice report for the Browns from Berea:
Cleveland Browns Training Camp Report - Day 10 (8/7/22)
1. A transformational player: The special teams have been anything but special the past few seasons, but that might be about to change this year after the Browns signed return specialist Jakeem Grant Sr. in free agency.
Grant made the Pro Bowl in 2021 while splitting time between the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. In 15 games, he returned 26 punts for 309 yards and a touchdown, while his average of 11.9 yards per return was third-best in the league. He added 23 kickoff returns for 539 yards, good for an average of 23.4 yards per return.
Jakeem's field vision being likened to Devin Hester means good things to come pic.twitter.com/8FTtZVJ5B0— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 7, 2022
That production has special teams coordinator Mike Priefer fired up about what Grant means to the Browns (quote via clevelandbrowns.com):
“Devin Hester, one of his strengths – he was one of the greatest of all time in my opinion – he had that tremendous vision like most great returners have. I think Jakeem has that vision. He understands the game. He understands situational football. That is the element that he brings, along with his athletic ability.
“I have wanted to get Jakeem here the past couple of years. He’s been free, and (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) went out and got him. I am really happy about that. I think that is going to transform our return game.”
Priefer may be getting ahead of himself a bit, but if Grant can live up to the hype he will give Cleveland’s special teams the type of difference maker they have lacked for years.
2. What, me worry?: It seems a bit odd to get hyped about a kicker, especially a rookie kicker, but it is still training camp so the Cade York hype train is leaving the station.
And even though he has yet to attempt a meaningful kick in a Cleveland uniform, York does not lack for confidence in his ability (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“Anything in my range is going out there and thinking the same way – just three points on the board. Whether it is a short field goal, long field goal or PAT, if they put me out there for it, I am going to have confidence in myself that I am going to put it through.”
York likely picked up some additional fans among his teammates on Sunday as he converted a 45-yard field goal at the end of practice, which meant that the team did not have to sit through post-practice meetings.
If he can withstand that type of pressure, the rookie just might be OK.
3. Kareem back in the hunt?: Running back Kareem Hunt is still unhappy about this contract and has asked to be traded, according to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, but on Sunday he was back to being a full participant in practice.
Hunt, as you will recall, would only take part in individual drills on Friday and Saturday as a way to show Browns management that he is unhappy. It is not something that head coach Kevin Stefanski wants to deal with, but he kept an even tone when asked about the situation prior to practice (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“I think you know me well enough that I am not going to get into anything that has to do with our players, conversations that I have with our players and those type of things.”
4. Ring that Bell!: Rookie wide receiver David Bell made his training camp debut on Saturday after being activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Bell had been dealing with something similar to a stress fracture in his foot, and on Sunday said he was excited to be back (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“I feel phenomenal to be back and to be back out on the field with the players most importantly and also being able to finally get out there and be in the offense and being able to run the routes so I can get more familiar with it. Being out was tough. Coming in as a rookie, that is something that you definitely do not want to happen is an injury right off the bat, but working with the training staff and the coaches, they all worked with me to get me back to the best of my abilities.”
5. Two minutes to glory: The offense worked on its two-minute drills on Sunday, with each unit simulating a long drive with just 1:10 to work with on the clock, according to the team’s website.
And it was none other than third-string quarterback Josh Dobbs who led his group to glory, hitting tight end Zaire Mitchell-Paden for a 30-yard touchdown pass. It was the only touchdown scored by the first-, second- or third-team offenses in the drill, and was the second practice in a row where Mitchell-Paden had a touchdown reception.
6. Giving back to the community: The Browns hosted football players from Glenville and John Hay High School at practice on Sunday and they had something special in store for the high schoolers at the end of the day.
After practice was over, players Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper and Greg Newsome II, along with executive vice president JW Johnson, presented the players with new football jerseys for the upcoming season.
The Browns surprised John Hay and Glenville with new jerseys after practice. pic.twitter.com/KBcwcJzaEx— Dan Labbe (@dan_labbe) August 7, 2022
The Browns had previously announced they would be providing jerseys to the teams in addition to providing lights for Bump Taylor Field so that teams in the Senate Athletic League can practice and play games at night, according to cleveland.com’s Dan Labbe.
7. Next Up: The Browns have the day off on Monday. They will practice on Tuesday at 2 p.m., which is open to the public, and then leave on Wednesday for Jacksonville as they prepare for their opening game of the preseason on Friday against the Jaguars at 7 p.m.