Cleveland Browns Training Camp Report: 8/21/12

line of scrimmage

Brandon Weeden probably won’t like much of what he sees from the film of this practice. It wasn’t interceptions or drops, but rather passes that were off the mark. In my nearly half dozen practices this year, it was Weeden’s most inconsistent performance. At least in 11 on 11 drills.

There were the two passes that sailed over Greg Little’s head for example. Or the out route throws that didn’t connect.

Weeden bounced back in 7 on 7 drills however. Completed a nice out route to Benjamin.

It was a slow day at practice otherwise. The team came out in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts. After positional warm-ups, they went at each other in an 11 on 11 drill. Following that drill, the team collectively took their shoulder pads off and went to ‘shells’ which are just half inch thick plastic shoulder pads. There was no real contact following the switch.

The team concentrated a bit on the running game while still in pads. Montario Hardesty bounced a run to the outside off of right tackle for a big gain. The question that bears asking following that play is was it a product of a good offensive effort, or poor rush defense? Unlike the tootsie roll pop question, I think the world will know soon enough.

That isn’t meant to take anything away from Hardesty. I had a good angle of the play, and Montario read it very well. After breaking through the hole, he saw his blocks developing and bounced away from the middle of the field and the line-backers, then beat Haden to the corner.

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Jordan Cameron made a very nice catch over the middle, taking the ball away from two defenders and earning some oohs and ahs. If they were giving away awards for ‘most improved’ in camp, I bet Cameron would be in the running. I have to believe he’s developing like they hoped he would when they grabbed the basketball player in last year’s draft.

Speaking of the draft, Tom Heckert has to be happy to see so many of his late round picks earning jobs in camp. As he talked with Jimmy Haslem on the sidelines, it would be hard for him to notice-

4th round picks- Cameron, Marecic, Benjamin and Johnson all are being counted on to contribute this season.

5th round picks- Skrine and Pinksto. Pinkston will start at LG again this season, and Skrine is thought to be pushing Sheldon Brown at CB. He is most certainly the starter for Haden, should Haden be suspended.

6th round pick Billy Winn could end up a de-facto starter this year.

7th round picks- Smelley, Wade and Haag. This is an impressive collection of 7th rounder. Haag will start at FS. Wade has been very impressive and will certainly get some time as a dime defender. Smelley may just beat out Marecic before everything is said and done.

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Travis Benjamin has been back to practice and looks good. He was working punt return with Josh Cribbs. There was a little wrinkle thrown in that I think could be very effective with Benjamin’s speed. I’m a fan.

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The Browns worked on third and long for a good part of the 11 on 11 and 7 on 7 practice time. It is obvious that they have designed plays for receivers to catch the ball underneath and fight for the first down. They practice it. This is to the complete dismay of those who would rather see them throw the ball past the markers in the first place. Like me for example.

On third and long the defense usually does one of two things- they bring the house and make you get rid of the ball quickly, or they rush three and drop eight making it difficult to find an open man. By running off a DB with a WR and then throwing to another underneath they can usually get the pass away and make a completion. The problem is that the team isn’t getting the yards after catch needed for the first down. Hard to blame the receivers for not getting extra yards when a defensive back is on their backs instantly.

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Oniel Cousins missed practice again. As I sat and watched the second team line play, the thought of Jeff Shugarts making the team hit me like a ton of bricks. It could happen.

Somewhere a ref is readying his flag for a false start.

  • TSR3000

    Any word on when T Rich will be back? Is he expected to play in week one?

  • NoVA Buckeye

    J.B. “False Start” Shugarts could actually make this team?!?!?!?! Though, to be fair, when he’s NOT jumping offsides, he’s a quality tackle that plays a good game. If he can fix that obvious issue, he could have a good career somewhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cb.everett.9 CB Everett

    Ha. I can’t believe they’re actually “practicing” throwing short of the markers on 3rd down! Please tell me that’s sarcasm that flew over my head. If not, maybe the receivers are “practicing drops” and Weeden “practicing overthrows” to bring about 3rd down scenarios, which in turn gives Reggie Hodges some reps on 4th down?!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If the guys selected in the late rounds are earning jobs what does that say about the guys chosen in the early rounds?

  • mgbode

    GB and NE are two teams that often throw short of the markers. they expect their WRs to be hit in stride by the QBs and the WRs to make the YAC for the 1st down.

  • DontbringLBJback

    At the presser on Sunday (after Camp) Shurmur said TRich was about 10 days away from getting back on the field. He said “he is coming along, about where we expected… maybe a little ahead of that.”

    If he’s true to his word, TRich should be on the field middle of next week for 1 or 2 practices, and then should suit up for the Bears on Thursday Aug. 30th. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Shurmur holds him out of that game.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    They don’t have to earn their jobs, I guess? Haden, Ward, Little, Taylor, Sheard, Richardson, Weeden, Schwartz… all starters.

  • DontbringLBJback

    Lots of team do this… basically if you know there will be 4 DBs standing at the first down marker, you try to throw short and fight for the extra 2 or 3 yards… not a great game plan, but if you have Little, Cribbs, Cameron, Gordan, I can see those bigger guys getting the yards. With Benjamin and his speed, it may help open up other areas of the field (ala Mike Wallace for the Squellers).

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Go Pats go!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cb.everett.9 CB Everett

    I think Little’s probably got the most legitimate tackle breaking YAC right now. That 20+ yard catch he had vs GB, about 6 yds were dragging 2 defenders and stretching out. Loved to see that. Hopefully with Gordon’s size, he’ll have that ability down the road. First step is routes & snagging balls…baby steps.

  • DontbringLBJback

    Only 1 Pat that I’d like to see go: Shurmur. :-)

  • sgtkickarse

    I really don’t think he plays that Bears game. I understand wanting to get some reps, but I think he practices as much as he can that last week, and then gets his game reps in Week One.

    I am just glad that it does seem we have depth in the RB unit this year. I am way more confident than I was last year, even with the man crush on Hillis that quickly died down with his shenanigans.

  • sgtkickarse

    I am excited about Cameron. I think a big TE who can get down field and catch will completely change this offense. Having a reliable guy who is explosive in the middle of the field will make life so much easier for Weeden, and for Gordon and Little on the outside. I like Watson, and he has reliable hands, but at this stage in his career, with injuries and age, he is dependable but not explosive. Cameron looks like he can become the real deal out there.

    I am not too worried about Weeden. I totally expect him to have issues sometimes. His age makes everyone act like he has to be an instant hall of famer or he is a bust. But he is still a rookie. He will take some lumps, make some mistakes, and have some growing pains. As long as he keeps progressing and learning from those mistakes, I am fine. QBs can play at a high level into their late 30s in today’s NFL. So he has time to blossom even though he’ll be 29 this year. The important thing he is big and tall and can sling it. We haven’t had that very much here in a long time. DA was a poor decision maker, Weeden just needs to be careful and not be quite as much gun slinger as he has looked early.

    Overall though, way more excited about this season than I have been in at least five years.

  • Harv 21

    Agree 100%, saw it used effectively all through last year’s playoffs. Problem with the Browns has been the timing and talent, so opposing safeties and LBs need only concentrate on one guy running that one route. Little was repeatedly gang-tackled in an area where he should have been covered by one guy playing a little off of him.

    There’s no reason to be depondent that they’re practicing it. They have to try to perfect it. If Richardson is a threat circling out for a swing pass, if Benjamin is the guy who will finally make a safety turn his back to the line of scrimmage, and if any other receiver is deemed worthy of defensive attention, the play can work well.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    LoL I don’t forsee him lasting long if I have to be honest maybe this season.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If I was a little taller, if I had a little more hair and if I was just a tad bit better looking I could be George Clooney’s brother too! Dare to dream.

  • Harv 21

    don’t get your point. Is it unrealistic to think Trent Richardson might be an upgrade from Ogby? Benjamin and Gordon from Robiskie? Little somewhat better in year 2? Weeden an upgrade from Colt? Cameron from a frequently concussed Watson? Shwatrz from whatever?

  • HenryDawg

    That’s not even the point. The fact is that sometimes you have no options over the top (in fact, most good defenses are going to take away optimal yardage) so sometimes your only option is to try and pick it up from underneath. If The Real Shamrock wasn’t so clueless about football…

  • atodd

    I wouldn’t get too excited about the later-round draft picks. I like Wade and Winn from this year’s draft. But not a single one of the guys you name would start for any other team in the AFC Central. Travis Benjamin is no Antonio Brown — he’s a one-trick pony. All of Heckert’s draft picks is a product seeing time on Sunday of this regime’s obvious philosophy to draft guys and give them a try-out on game day. It will yield the Browns 3 or 4 wins this year. Three drafts and three off-seasons and this still looks like an expansion team. When Haslem shows these guys the door only one or two of Heckert’s picks outside of the first two rounds will stay on for more than a year or two.

  • woodyherman

    I watch Shugarts on every preseason down he played. He went up against a 9 year veteran at Green Bay and dominated him. He looks fast and for the irst time in years healthy.
    By the Green Bay cut Hargrove a few fays after the game.
    Why the cheap shot at a three year starter for OSU who played through injuries because they had nobody to back him up is a slap to all bukeye fans.