Coach Shurmur wouldn’t give a percentage when asked how much of the offensive playbook has been installed so far. Rather than look at it from the 10,000 foot level, Shurmur seemed to prefer to think of it as a day-by-day process without constantly obsessing on the finish line. Given how rough the offense is looking at times during practice, it is probably important to keep concentrating on walking before this team attempts to sprint into the regular season on September 11th against the Cincinnati Bengals.
You don’t want to look too much into the play-by-play of a single practice because it really doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot. Even still, it is important to point out just how difficult it was for the Browns to find any rhythm in the passing game. D’Qwell Jackson and Buster Skrine were able to jump routes on Colt McCoy and his receivers for interceptions. Skrine’s would have almost assuredly been a pick-6. Even on the completions, separation was not at a premium. Greg Little dropped at least three passes that I saw on a pretty tough day for the second round draft choice. That’s why they invented practice, though. He was working the jugs machine a little bit after. No word on if it was an “opportunity drill.”
It wasn’t all bad though. Rookie tight end Jordan Cameron worked the corners of the end zone twice for touchdowns in the goal line drills. Rookie running back Armond Smith – probably filling in the Brandon Jackson role – was electric in space. The little 5 foot 9 inch runner has Jerome Harrison quickness, but hasn’t developed the paranoid stutter steps that seemed to slow him down so much. Again, don’t want to micro-analyze undrafted free agents so early in training camp, but as the Browns look for playmakers, it is fun to see guys who can do some things when they get the ball in space.
One name that continues to garner attention is Jordan Norwood, who played at Penn State and was on the Browns’ practice squad much of last season. Norwood seems right at home in the new west coast system running across the middle. At 5-11 and 179 pounds he reminds you of a smaller, quicker Chansi Stuckey. Not shocking that Norwood claims to have learned a great deal from Stuckey last year. How much of a role Norwood will have for the Browns this year remains to be seen, but they are decidedly optimistic. Then again, they have to be optimistic about something with Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs, and Carlton Mitchell on the sidelines right now.
Other Practice Notes: Reggie Hodges didn’t do anything that he hasn’t done thousands of times when he planted and hurt his left foot. No word on the severity or the time frame yet… this just in from Tom Withers of the Associated Press. Hodges is lost for the season with a torn achilles. The Browns are officially in the market for a punter. Montario Hardesty was not on the practice field as he continues to work back from his knee injuries a year ago. Nothing bad to report, but the Browns are being very cautious to hopefully avoid any setbacks in his recovery. Jabaal Sheard was on the first team on the defensive line, but the Browns were a bit cautious with him as well as he is nursing a hamstring. He didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal. Jordan Cameron was asked if he was the best basketball player on the team and he said yes, except that he is embarrassed that he lost a game of horse to Colt McCoy.
Here are some pictures of Jordan Norwood, Jordan Cameron, Jabaal Sheard and Buster Skrine from post-practice interviews.