With practice moved inside yesterday due to weather, the Browns held their first full contact practice on Sunday afternoon in front of a record crowd in Berea. The Browns announced that 4,466 fans came through the gates. They were certainly the loudest group since training camp opened.
Even though the players said they were excited to get out on the field and start popping pads, the practice didn’t have the energy or trash talk that previous camps had on the first day of contact. It would certainly make sense given the scary scene in yesterday’s practice involving offensive lineman Ryan Miller.
Miller is in the NFL’s concussion protocol now. Head coach Rob Chudzinski remarked that he had seen Miller last night, but wouldn’t give any further updates.
The biggest hit on the day was by free safety Tashaun Gipson on Josh Gordon. Gordon came over the middle and collided with Gipson who was going for the ball. Gordon came down with the pass, but Gipson was shaken up on the play. Johnson Bademosi replaced him for the remainder of the drill. Tashaun did come back during the next practice segment. Chudzinski said Gipson had sprained his shoulder on the play and would be evaluated later.
“We started out a little bit slow, but we picked it up and ended up having a good practice,” said coach Chudzinski. “We really focused a lot on the red zone. It’s an area where we really want to concentrate and improve, and make improvements on this season. We had a good practice.”
The team opened up the 11-on-11 portion working the running game. Trent Richardson, Chris Ogbonnaya and Dion Lewis got the majority of the carries. Monterio Hardesty worked out on the side and did not participate in individual drills or team competition. Chudzinski described his inactivity as a hamstring issue, and will be day-to-day but said he was not concerned about it.
Richardson continues to run hard and look good. There didn’t appear to be a lot of running room however. The most success the Browns are having running the ball seemed to be outside the right tackle. On one such play Trent Richardson bounced outside of Mitchell Schwartz and beat the defense to the edge. Dion Lewis elicited the biggest reaction of the day when he juked undrafted free agent defensive back Kentrone Walker out of his shoes.
It wouldn’t be fair to try and point out any specific player on the left side of the defense, as the Browns really mixed things up in practice. Jabaal Sheard, Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo all saw time on the left side today.
– There were several sacks today. Paul Kruger and Craig Robertson both came through the line untouched on separate occasions and got to the quarterback. Mingo worked his way past Martin Wallace for what could have been a strip sack in a game.
– There were several nice touchdowns in the red zone drills, including catches by Josh Gordon, David Nelson and Trent Richardson. There were also some good pass breakups in the end zone, with notable ones by D’Qwell Jackson, Johnson Bademosi and Leon McFadden.
– Buster Skrine and Chris Owens rotated evenly with the first unit.
– Billy Winn worked with the ones while Desmond Bryant sat out the team portions of practice. Chudzinski said Bryant was having some back spasms.
– Craig Robertson is cementing his spot as the inside linebacker next to D’Qwell Jackson. He is quick to the ball and seems to have picked up the defense quickly. He helps D’Qwell set the line when the offense breaks the huddle and communicates well on shifts and formation changes.
– L.J. Fort is the linebacker that calls the plays in the second team defensive huddle, taking the D’Qwell Jackson role on the back-up unit.
– Joe Haden had another interception in a 7-on-7 red zone drill. He returned it out of the end zone and weaved his way down the field. The switch from defense to offense is pretty fast for Haden.
– Rob Chudzinski wouldn’t say so when asked, but he has to be a bit concerned about the tight end spot. Jordan Cameron has yet to impress in training camp. He has had passes deflected away from him by nearly everyone in the defensive backfield. Kellen Davis participated fully for the first time, but he isn’t the pass catching threat the team needs from that position. Gary Barnidge may win that job by default. He may be the best pass catching tight end on the team, but he isn’t dynamic at all.
– ESPN’s John Clayton was in Berea today and talked extensively with Rob Chudzinski following practice. Clayton was unfortunately not sporting a mullet.
– The Browns will introduce the new initiatives to enhance fan experience at the stadium this year in a press conference Monday afternoon. Team President Alec Sheiner will preside over that meeting.
(Photo/Rick Grayshock WFNY)