April 23, 2014

Browns Training Camp Notes 8/11: All About Speed, Skrine and Saturday

After taking the last three days in full pads, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur opted to let his players run Thursday’s practice in shells as the Orange and Brown gear up for their first preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.

As the team will host the Super Bowl champions in just a little over a day, here are some quick notes involving your Cleveland Football Browns:

- Donning helmets and shorts, Shurmurs squad was able to fly around Berea with the goal of ramping up their learning curve with about 36 hours until kickoff.  Resting tired legs from a hitting standpoint, Thursday’s practice featured a heavy dose of passing as the team opted for drills involving receivers and tight ends versus the secondary as well as a large focus on red zone play, again featuring their pass-catching weapons. 

- With Mohammed Massaquoi moving to a walking boot – Shurmur hopes it will be a shoe allowing him to do some light running sooner than later – rookie Greg Little was frequently seen running with the first-team offense.  Aside from a 50/50 ball that wound up in the hands of fellow first-year player Buster (whose given name is Randall) Skrine, Little caught every ball thrown his way.  It was noted that Little had had some rough days at camp leading up to today, but he has undoubtedly taken it all in stride, stating his mantra is to “build off of the day before.”  He most certainly did so today.

- Skrine himself had an excellent day, pulling in the interception, running with the first team in nickel situations and being all over the field.  Following practice, he repeatedly used the term “technique” as he has somewhat been typecasted as a speed guy coming out of college.  While he is amazingly fast, his willingness to go toe-to-toe with oversized and freakishly athletic tight ends was very impressive on this day.  He was abused a bit by Evan Moore on a red zone play, but nothing to these ends (whom he is giving almost a foot to in stature) was a gimme.

- That said, expect a ton of passing to tight ends.  The Browns have cornered the market in athletically gifted tight ends and they’re using them.  A lot.  Ben Watson, Evan Moore and Jordan Cameron all caught multiple passes in various situations.  These guys will be fun to watch in the red zone.

- It was during one-on-one drills when safety Usama Young pulled up lightly with a hamstring injury attempting to guard Moore.  Mike Adams took over as the first-string free safety for the rest of the day.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Young was given time to recuperate.

- For what it’s worth, fans will see a lot of Skrine throughout Saturday’s contest as he has officially been deemed second team punt and kick returner. “I’ll be seeing a lot of time. Everything I’ve been gifted with, I’m going to use it,” Skrine said following the three-hour practice.

- As he has all preseason, Pat Shurmur has had glowing remarks about his rookie speedster.  “He competes and is a scrappy, scrappy guy,” Shurmur said following drills.  Giving Dimitri Patterson some rest today, Skrine stepped up and answered every challenge that was given to him; this is apparently a trend as Shurmur had noticed Skrine hiding in the back during the first few sessions of post-practice stretching only to see the defensive back fighting for a spot in the first few rows within days.

Skrine says that several fans have challenged the track star to a 40-yard dash, but no teammate has been willing to take him on. Also worth noting, the largest home attendance Skrine says he had in Tennessee-Chatanooga was around 18,000.  He’s looking forward to the energy that Cleveland fans can provide every Sunday this season.

- Brandon Jackson has been dubbed a “key guy” for this Browns offense.  A scheme fit, Jackson has impressed all through camp.  While Peyton Hillis is obviously the lead guy in the backfield, there will be considerably less concern about him breaking down with Jackson on the roster.  He was used in running plays, as rare as they were, as well as passing downs out of the backfield.  No word on if he had been helping the defense scheme in preparation for his former team.

- Montario Hardesty was still inactive despite having his helmet.  No word on when he’ll be given clearance. All other players who spoke said that they were eager to get back on the field.  The first team will be playing for the entire first quarter on Sunday, per Pat Shurmur.

Photo via Craig Lyndall/WFNY

  • mgbode

    keep hearing great things about all our young CBs. Hope that is more on them and not on the ‘quality’ of our WRs.

    good test for them against GB as they have pretty good WR depth.

  • bobby

    Buster skrine and James Dockery are both guys I want to see this weekend/preseason. I can see 5 CBs being Haden, Brown, Patterson, Skrine, and Dockery. Hopefully we find some depth in the front 7.

    Have you guys seen a difference between Adams and Young? Is one standing out over the other? I have this feeling from what Ive been reading that Adams is performing better but Young is getting all the chance to win it.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    I went into today hoping to watch Young. Unfortunately, he hurt himself within the first hour. Maybe Craig or Rick could expand.

  • Nicky Z

    Hardesty needs to get on the field… The Browns seem to have a solid stable of backs building up, Hardesty may soon find himself the odd man out.

  • MallaLubba

    Is Shurmur the light, “don’t over work them” type of practicing coach? It’s really hard to judge with the change in overall practice techniques across the league but it feels like he’s not willing to push players even a little when it comes to injury recovery (good thing) and he’s willing to allow for less contact (debatable thing)or he even gave a day off practice in an already compact preseason (questionable thing?).

  • Shamrock

    Eagles signed WR Steve Smith, man Philly is spending. I know he’s no Brian Robiske but still.

  • mgbode

    Steve Smith is coming off microfracture surgery. He is a man who relies on precise cutting and going underneath.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Coach Shurmur was asked yesterday if he wanted Mike Adams to be the backup at safety because of his ability to play corner as well. He hemmed and hawed a little bit about saying the starter would be the guy who played best, but whoever isn’t the #1 it is great when they can contribute at other spots in the field.

    At this point, I would say that they have both played pretty well. Mike Adams has a small leg up because he was already under contract and had some extra days in camp while Usama Young waited for league rules to allow him and the rest of the free agents to start playing.

    So, I think it is still early. Young and Adams have both looked pretty good, but the Browns seemed pretty eager to insert Young into the starting position with the #1′s after he was allowed to start practicing.

  • Shamrock

    @mgbode And he’s still better then Robiske.

  • REEPJP

    I for one am a huge fan of TE involvement in an offense. Too often are these guys overlooked (i.e. OSU). When we have the athletes we do at the position, these guys create huge match-up advantages for the offense.

    With Colts scrambling ability and our TE’s abilities to run, I would love to see a solid dose of Waggle and Bootleg plays with the TE streaking across the field 10-12 yards deep.

  • Harv 21

    @11: me too. Big tight ends with soft hands would seem to play into Colt’s strengths. Not a rocket arm, but savvy enough to put it up where and when only his big guys can grab it.

    Like how Heckert is restructuring the roster for the WCO. QB must have a brain and touch on the ball; all non-linemen must have hands. That’s why Royal and Vickers are gone.

  • Shamrock

    How about Lee Evans of Buffalo? Reportedly on the trade block.

  • bobby

    Thanks Craig. I have always been a Adams fan and thought he played solid when given chances. I would not be upset if hes next to Ward week 1.

    As for the WRs, Shamrock I would not expect much of anything. We have Little who is showing glimpses of being a big time WR (if he were more consistent, then a stable of younger guys who will be given an oppurtunity to get in the NFL and be contributors this year. No big name guy is going to be brought it. Also Steve Smith is out until October at least.

  • Adam F.

    Buster Skrine’s given name is Darryl, not Randall.