Rob Chudzinski’s first training camp as a head coach is officially underway. The Browns practiced in front of a slightly subdued crowd for most of the evening session. That is until the local boy turned head coach ran down the sidelines slapping high fives and interacting with the 2,692 fans assembled.
“We have a long way to go and a lot of work to do, but you have to take a first step to do that and we took the first step today,” said Chudzinski after his first practice was complete.
For Rob growing up in Ohio as a Browns fan, this practice was a special one. “It was awesome,” he said. “Looking out and seeing some of those young faces out there with their Browns jerseys on and knowing how much it meant to me and how much it means to them.”
One of the biggest questions coming into the first practice was how second-year running back Trent Richardson would look coming off multiple injuries last season. The answer: Pretty good. Richardson was quick and looked confident running and changing direction. He certainly did not appear to be hindered in any way.
“It seemed like he didn’t have any issues,” said Chudzinski of Trent Richardson. “He looked pretty good out there for the first day. I thought he caught the ball well, and ran the ball. He did some good things.”
– There were plenty of plays in the passing game as well. Brandon Weeden found wide receiver Josh Gordon early and often. Gordon’s impending suspension certainly didn’t seem to limit Gordon’s number of reps or targets. He lined up with Greg Little and Devone Bess for the majority of the first team reps, and made several catches. On one play he laid out on the sideline for a low pass and came up with it.
– Gordon’s practice ended a little early when he came down while fighting for position on a deep pass. He reached for his calf and sat on the ground for a few minutes stretching out. In his comments to the media afterward, Chudzinski said it was a a cramp.
– Defensive tackle Phil Taylor sat out of practice with a wrap on his lower left leg. He suffered a calf strain a few weeks ago and will be day to day. John Hughes took his spot in the middle of the Browns defensive line.
– Tight end Kellen Davis also sat out of practice with a knee sprain.
– First round pick Barkevious Mingo played almost exclusively with the second unit. During his first series you could hear the coaches calling out his name a few times for some ‘instruction’. He does look quick though.
– Jabaal Sheard was the right outside linebacker and Paul Kruger played the left side. Craig Robertson, coach Horton’s “ace in the hole”, was next to D’Qwell Jackson throughout the practice.
– In the battle of the secondary, score an early victory for free agent cornerback Chris Owens who picked off a Brandon Weeden pass intended for Josh Gordon. He had at least one other pass break up.
– Second year wide receiver Travis Benjamin was the target of choice for both Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer. He had several nice grabs. Greg Little beat Joe Haden deep on a pass, but had a couple of dropped passes. After practice, Little was working with the juggs gun on low throws.
– T.J. Ward made a few nice plays breaking up passes against Jordan Cameron and Greg Little.
– Finally, there was a scuffle that broke out during an offensive line drill that spilled into the practice session next to them. It appeared that Joe Thomas was involved somehow, and ended up at the bottom of the pile.
Photo: Rick Grayshock/WFNY