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.
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.
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.
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.
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.