Back in Berea after joint practices with the Colts in Indianapolis prior to the two meeting in Week 2 of the preseason, the Cleveland Browns got back to work on Monday in a camp that was not open to the public. It was filled with plenty of good and bad takeaways, just like the rest of camp. Keep in mind, the Browns have just two open practices left (both Tuesday and Wednesday morning).
Let’s take a look at what took place Monday morning in Berea:
1. It isn’t 6-to-13, but Odell Beckham Jr. has once again provided us with an awesome catch that will surely be on the highlight reel. I could watch this on repeat all day.
2. Another day, another practice that the Browns kickers seemed to struggle at. It’s to the point now where Cleveland needs to change (or add) something or someone before it costs the team a win during the season, as WFNY’s Joe Gilbert explained on Monday. Greg Joseph and Austin Seibert both made just 4-of-6 field-goal attempts during Monday’s camp, leaving plenty to be desired.
While there are still two preseason games remaining and just under three weeks until the Browns begin their regular season, both kickers continue to struggle in a competition that was supposed to make both better is a bit worrisome. Maybe, just maybe, one of the two will get it together in the next couple weeks.
“I think it is an individual basis,” Kitchens said. “Everything they do is just like any other position. It goes down to technique and having the confidence to go do it. Sometimes to get that confidence, you have to do it correctly. You have to do it with success. I can’t kick it for them. I can’t tackle for anybody. That is just not the only position. I can’t kick it for them. I can’t tackle for them. I can’t pass protect. I can’t throw it for them. I can’t catch it. They have to do that. The only thing we are going to do is put them in position. This game is about players. It has always been about players and always will be about players. Coaches like to make themselves feel important by making it about them sometimes. Some coaches make it about them. This is about the player and putting the player in the best situation to succeed. Now, if it was too long, we just need to know if it was too long. Again, that goes back to what I said originally. I just want to know what I am getting when they go out there. I want to know what I am getting on kickoff coverage. I want to know what I am getting on punt return. I want to know what I am getting on offense. I want to know what I am getting on defense. I just want to know and then we can plan accordingly. That is it.”
If not, the Browns might have to bring in a new kicker, something that Kitchens doesn’t want to do, at least not yet.
“We’re not trying to bring in a new kicker right now,’’ Kitchens said. “We have two guys right here that can kick the ball a long way. We need them to get their act right. We’re not looking to replace them right now. We’re looking to getting these guys better and continuing to get better. The process of evaluation and the process of judging them has not concluded yet. When it concludes, then we will make that decision.”
3. The kicking competition isn’t the only one that the Dawg Pound has been worried about this summer. The other is the starting right guard position. It has seemingly been a carousel all camp, with a number of players getting a chance to prove that they could potentially be the guy.
While guys like Eric Kush, Drew Forbes, and Austin Corbett have all received plenty of opportunities to prove that they deserve the starting nod, none of them have stepped up the way Kitchens wants them to. It’s why so many players continue to get reps with the first-team at that position.
4. Ever since making his debut at camp, Kareem Hunt’s workload has continued to increase. On Monday, he essentially had his best day of camp while getting the most opportunities he has received so far. Whether it was the run game or catching balls on the outside, the running back was doing it all for the Browns.
5. After getting hurt on the first day of training camp, Damion Ratley returned to practice on Monday. The wide receiver is now a bit behind the eight ball but will look to impress enough in the next couple weeks to prove that he belongs on the 53-man roster. He has the skillset, just needs to be more consistent.
“I like his range, his length, I like his speed,” Kitchens said on Monday. “He’s got deceptive top speed. I just need to see consistency.”
6. Not to get too ahead of ourselves, but Browns fans love high expectations. So do the players, I guess. We all know how much Cleveland improved from the moment Baker Mayfield took over the offense early on last season, and with the additions the team has made this offseason, expectations are higher than ever.
Considering the high-powered offense has to go against all of the talent on defense on a daily basis, it will only improve the two units.
“One of the best offenses in the league against one of the best defenses,’’ safety Damarious Randall said. “What more can you ask for? Every day we’re just competing and just making each other better.”
Not only does he think the defense could shut out opponents, but he’s not back downing from how dominant the Browns offense could be either.
“Well, I mean we definitely got the talent to shut out a lot of opponents and to not give up a lot of points,’’ he said. “This defense is definitely talented and we just gotta keep working together and keep filling in the little holes that we got each and every day to keep communicating more and I feel like if we’re on the same page, we’re going to be one of those unstoppable forces on the defensive side of the ball.”
Buckle up, Dawg Pound. This is going to be one heckuva ride.
Open sessions throughout training camp:
Thursday, July 25 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET • Friday, July 26 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. • Saturday, July 27 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. • Sunday, July 28 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. • Monday, July 29 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. • Wednesday, July 31 – 10 a.m. – 12 pm. • Thursday, August 1 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. • Friday, August 2 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. • Monday, Aug. 5 – 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. • Tuesday, Aug. 6 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. • Friday, Aug. 9 – 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. • Saturday, Aug. 10 – 2:45 – 4:45 p.m. • Monday, Aug. 12 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
• Tuesday, Aug. 20 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
• Wednesday, Aug. 21 – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.