clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Browns notes from on the ground in Berea for training camp

Browns training camp lacks the drama of most of the past years but still some interesting storylines

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Phil Masturzo / USA TODAY NETWORK

A mostly yearly tradition for me, Sunday I went to Cleveland Browns training camp as a member of the credentialed media. While social media has created access previously unknown to all of us over the last few years, being on the ground in Berea is always an important piece of my team coverage.

Catching up with friends that work for the team, cover the Browns locally and connecting with those close to players (agents, family, handlers, etc) just go much better in person for me.

Watching practice, especially this one (which is why I try to get up near the end of training camp), has benefits as well.

Here are some notes from the practice field and all of those different connections:

  • Deshaun Watson and the offense is legit with explosiveness, great timing and a mixture of talent surrounding him
  • Nick Chubb will be involved in the passing game and the rushing attack will get a good number of attempts in games
  • The depth on the offensive line is good compared to the rest of the NFL but the drop off from the starters to the backups is pretty big
  • The defensive line is going to be a problem for offenses
  • A small concern with the aggressive nature of the line will lead to big plays on counters, reverses and even, possibly, play-action/RPO style plays
  • Jakeem Grant is making the roster, no other player was back to return punts Sunday
  • While Dorian Thompson-Robinson has impressed, Josh Dobbs is the team’s backup. Didn’t seen DTR take a snap in team reps Sunday
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones could be the odd man out in targets with Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, David Njoku and Chubb getting the majority of passes thrown their way
  • Cleveland’s bosses value practice a lot. Based on conversations, it might be a fair estimate to say that they put 60% weight on practice and just 40% on in-game performance
  • The previous note isn’t only related to Cade York (who did not kick at all Sunday) and explains the hope they’ve had in Anthony Schwartz in the past
  • The decision to move up practice from a 2 PM start to 10:30 AM was partially due to heat concerns but it will be hot in Kansas City this weekend and could/likely will be in Week 1 in Cleveland. Not sure the decision makes sense
  • Players are really really close this year. Different than years past with cliques, the Browns are a close group that spends a ton of time together. Obviously all 90 (or even 53) can’t but this group is rooting for each other, want each other to succeed and are unified
  • The third running back spot is still a very open competition with Demetric Felton, Jordan Wilkins and John Kelly getting reps with the second team Sunday
  • Cleveland does not have any big moves in mind but having cap space is “just in case” because the team does not want one injury (outside of Watson) to derail this roster
  • Dawand Jones is not as ready to play as most fans/media think. He’s good for a rookie but there is a big drop from the starting line to him
  • While Austin Watkins has made plays in preseason games, he will still have a tougher time making the roster than most expect
  • Marquise Goodwin is the happiest, friendliest teammate and really helps drive the passion of the team despite not being able to play
  • Due to how tight the group is, there will be a few decisions (including Watkins) at cut down that will upset players
  • York is literally the only “storyline” in training camp. For the first time in forever, there isn’t drama outside of the kicker, no real storylines for the media to focus on. Hard Knocks would have hated covering the team this year
  • Players LOVE Jim Schwartz, respect Kevin Stefanski and are learning Bubba Ventrone
  • Jimmy Haslam was watching practice Sunday and continues to look in great shape. Stating I was impressed, a colleague said “He has billions...” One of many reasons I’d like to be that rich lol
  • The general consensus around the team and media is that 10 wins should be the floor for the Browns this year (as always barring horrible injuries)