If you haven’t been to any of the Cleveland Browns training camp sessions, it might be too little, too late. Tuesday morning’s practice was the second-to-last open camp session, with Wednesday morning’s being the last.
So what happened on Day 18 of training camp on Tuesday?
1. When Baker Mayfield’s interview with GQ Magazine made it’s way to social media, it took Twitter by storm. While there were plenty of interesting comments made by the Browns quarterback, there was one that particularly stood out:
“I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones,” Mayfield says of Jones, who was 17-19 at Duke. “Blows my mind. Some people overthink it. That’s where people go wrong. They forget you’ve gotta win.”
“Either you have a history of winning and being that guy for your team or you don’t.”
After the comments blew up, even making some Giants players stick up for their quarterback, Baker took to Instagram to make a statement regarding the comments, saying that it isn’t what he said and this is all just for some clickbait.
“Full Quote for you people that don’t understand the media is making a story,’’ Mayfield posted on his Instagram story on Tuesday. “This is not what I said…just so we’re clear. I also said I was surprised I got drafted number one. Then was talking about the flaws in evaluating QB’s. Where I brought up winning being important. Reporters and media will do anything to come up with a clickbait story. Heard nothing but good things and wish nothing but the best for Daniel.’’
Per usual, head coach Freddie Kitchens will always have his quarterback’s back, and rightfully so.
“No. I do not have any comments,” Kitchens said. “I think you probably need to go back in look. He has the ability to decide whatever he wants, but that was during the draft when it was going. He is a football fan, also. I really do not have any comment for it, and I am pretty sure he will not. It is nothing against Daniel Jones. He was talking.”
2. Speaking of Browns players talking about current New York Giants players, Odell Beckham Jr. also had some things to say about his former team in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
In a situation like his, Beckham says, a star player will often get a chance to discuss his preferred trade destinations. But he was never asked. In fact, he claims to know that the Giants received better offers and still chose to send him to Cleveland, out of spite, hoping to stain his career with the enduring stigma that comes with playing for the Browns. “This wasn’t no business move,” he says. “This was personal. They thought they’d send me here to die.”
Luckily for both the Dawg Pound and OBJ, well, he didn’t come here to die because the 2019 Browns (and beyond) aren’t the same old Browns. There’s something special brewing in Cleveland, something that will likely stick around for the long haul.
Much like he was for Mayfield’s comments, Kitchens was also asked about OBJ’s. Some even questioned if OBJ was all in with the Browns due to his comments.
“I will address this one time and one time only. If you guys remember back a long time ago, I made a statement and I said I want him physically and mentally ready to go, alright?” Kitchens said. “It was not that he could not learn the playbook. It was that I wanted him all in when he came, and he is all in. That is all we need to worry about right now. It does not matter what his state of mind was then. The guy was loved in New York. He spent six years in New York. That was his home so of course, it is a shock. I know it is a shock. I guarantee that if you ask him now, he is not talking about that. Timestamp the article or interview.
“No doubt (he’s all in). When he came back, he was all in – exactly what he promised me he would do. I trust him. He trusts me. I will not betray him. I do not think he will betray me.”
3. In case you were wondering, it’s true: The Browns still have a kicker problem. Nothing has really changed since the second preseason game, so Greg Joseph and Austin Seibert are still competing for the starting nod, or should I say, the competition that will determine who doesn’t finish last because the two have both struggled throughout camp.
There was a new development on Tuesday: Punter Jamie Gillan was kicking field goals. After a 74-yard punt against the Colts last Saturday, he proved that his leg isn’t just for punting, but possibly for kicking as well.
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) August 20, 2019
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) August 20, 2019
At this point, the Browns need to try any and all avenues to find their starting kicker. Allowing the Scottish Hammer to give it a shot isn’t a bad idea.
“I can’t answer that,” Kitchens said about the decision to keep Gilliam as a punter or move him to kicker. “When all of the guys were coming out, I know we all looked at him as a punter, but things change. It may have changed today. I do not know. Hopefully, they have it on video.
“I can’t confirm either way. I really can’t. [The specialists] are over there doing their routine to get loose and stuff like that. I know I have seen him over there get his leg loose by swinging it – like when you hit those hole in ones, you have practice swings (laughter) – to get his hips and legs loose. I do not know if that was the same type of thing. I have not seen the video or anything.”
4. Having fully recovered from a torn ACL that he suffered in December 2017, Jaelen Strong has had a very strong training camp with the Browns. So good that he might have already locked himself into a 53-man roster spot. Only time will tell but catches like this certainly help his case.
5. What do you know, the right guard position is still a problem and there is seemingly no end in sight. On Tuesday, backup tackle Kendall Lamm was given reps at right guard. It’s clear that the Browns are exploring all avenues for who their starting right guard will be this season, which says more about how bad the position might be than how versatile some of the linemen are. Then again, offensive line coach James Campen doesn’t want anyone too worried quite yet.
“You have to be prepared for guys that are in different positions and those type of things,” he said. “We have done some things in closed practices too and those things on a competitive advantage for ourselves. But I am not disappointed at all.”
Kitchens isn’t nervous about it either. But he knows that they have to figure it out sooner rather than later.
“It depends on how they play, seriously. I told those guys the other day, we have five practices and two games [before the regular season],” he said. “If that is too much pressure for you, then you are probably in the wrong business. Everything we have done is to try to prepare them for that situation and try to put pressure on them in the midst of practice. Can someone go from on the team to off the team in five practices and two games? Of course. Can someone go from off the team to on the team? Of course. Can somebody go from a backup to a starter? Yes.”
6. After having an impressive start to camp, Derrick Willies seemed to have fallen off the map a bit, especially after he was seemingly passed by Jaelon Strong on the depth chart as well. While he has somewhat struggled recently, Willies had one of his best practices of camp on Tuesday. Whether it as the fact that he was all over the field or seemed to catch everything thrown to him, he showed us why he deserves to be on the team this fall.
7. Speaking of Sports Illustrated, which we discussed earlier, isn’t the SI cover this week just beautiful? Like, seriously, how awesome is it that the Browns are showcased on the NFL Preview?
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 20, 2019
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.