Things get heated… Training Camp Notes 07.29.14

Browns training camp

Browns training camp

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought Monday’s practice lacked the competitive fire that we’ve been hearing about.

The dial on the intensity knob got turned up on Tuesday. There were bodies flying around. There were footballs thrown at heads. There was pushing and shoving. There was a skirmish that included at least 15-20 players.

The tone for the day was set by coach Pettine, who told the players that he didn’t want a flat practice with the off day coming on Wednesday. He wanted some enthusiasm. He wanted some fire. He got it.

The team was in full pads again on Tuesday, and worked heavy on the run game just like Monday. This time the ball was moving toward the sidelines more, and the defense was making sure that the ball carriers were stopped and were constantly swatting at the ball trying to force fumbles.

The offense took exception to the intensity with which they were punching at the ball.

Running back Ben Tate found himself wrapped in the arms of several defenders on one particular running play, and ended up firing the ball at Ahtyba Rubin’s head. Now Rubin doesn’t quite have the temper of Phil Taylor, but he certainly isn’t going to stand by and let a running back fire a ball at him. A scrum ensued. I think some of the players that were involved were kind of caught up because of their proximity.

I would say that the offense was likely ready to release some frustration. The defense most definitely had the better day Tuesday. Coach Pettine would say after practice that while you don’t like to see these skirmishes, sometimes it can be good for one unit of side of the ball to stick up for each other, to avoid being bullied around at practice.

There was also a competition set up between the offense and the defense for the last scrimmage session of the day. The winning unit would get to wear orange jerseys for practice on Thursday. The defense won.

Bullet Points:

— CB Justin Gilbert continued to show why Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine thought so highly of him in the draft. He made several plays on passes, including getting great position of Miles Austin and picking off a slightly underthrown ball from Brian Hoyer. Gilbert also fell down during a 7-on-7 drill (I did not see if there was a collision or he tripped) and was favoring his right leg after he got up and walked off the field. He did return after checking with the staff on the sidelines, without missing any reps.

— Another defensive back that had a good day was Johnson Bademosi. The safety made at least two nice pass break-ups as well, and up-ended WR Travis Benjamin on one played.

— With all of those defensive backs having nice days, it goes without saying that the quarterbacks didn’t really shine. Johnny Manziel was intercepted a few times, I believe all while working with the second unit. Twice he threw picks when there was no receiver in the neighborhood of the ball. You can’t automatically assign blame to Manziel without knowing if the receiver ran the right route.

— Lost in the Hoyer/Manziel battle is the fact that there are two other quarterbacks on the roster. Conner Shaw is the rookie from South Carolina battling Tyler Thigpen. Thigpen has a ton of experience on Shaw, and was in Buffalo with Mike Pettine. There was one play in particular that showed Shaw’s inexperience reading an NFL defense. He has a wide receiver coming open deep across the middle, but rushed the ball to the sideline for an incompletion.

— Marlon Moore was in uniform and participating in practice after signing with the team on Monday. He is wearing number 15.

— I talked to a scout from the Canadian Football League. With some 30+ extra players on the roster, a number of these guys will be looking for work in a few weeks. The CFL will be there with open arms for several of them. This scout had his eyes on rookie WR Taylor Gabriel. If the Browns don’t keep him around on the roster or practice squad, he’ll get offers.

— Machine Gun Kelly was at practice Tuesday, apparently as a guest of Joe Haden. That’s all I have to say about that.

— Phil Taylor, John Greco, and Billy Winn remain on the non-football injury list. Jason Pinkston remains on the roster, but nowhere to be seen. The Pinkston situation is strange. In the meantime, Garrett Gilkey and Joel Bitonio take all the reps with the first unit.

[Related: Looking at Kyle Shanahan’s zone run game]

  • Garry_Owen

    Machine Gun Kelly? All I can think about when I hear that name is this:

    (WARNING: Do not watch if easily offended. This may violate “Before You Comment” rules, but I think if we compare samples, I’m okay.)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    He wasn’t relevant even when he was relevant!

  • RGB

    No Kirksey highlights?

  • mgbode

    for as much as everyone knows that I love Bitonio, please remember that I loved Gilbert first.

  • maxfnmloans

    Phil Hartman was awesome. What a shame.

  • Garry_Owen

    Truly. A really good guy, too, from what I understand.

  • mgbode

    Conner Shaw

    I know it’s a minor thing, but it’s Connor “T2” Shaw.

  • Garry_Owen

    Kinda spreading the love around today, aren’t you? How’s a guy supposed to know that he’s special?

  • mgbode
  • RGB

    I prefer Connor “There can be only one!” Shaw.

  • saggy

    As long as we are comparing B samples, only.

  • saggy

    How good are you and I feeling about the browns this year? In my entire life I don’t think I’ve been able to nail a draft like we did this year. I

    was high on Shazier but we got Kirksey at better value. I think this kid has a real future in that hybrid Linebacker/Safety – the safebacker (needs a better name).

    And I can’t wait until Bitonio goes all MMA on some unsuspecting Linebacker.

  • mgbode

    Yep, Farmer must read this site and took a liking to our posts. Even the UDFA list included some favorite flier guys. Considering neither of us has liked a draft this much before and the Browns drafts have stunk, it can mean only good things :)

  • mgbode

    Either works and shows that he is a badass.