Tag:Training Camp
Posted on: August 5, 2009 1:41 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2009 1:45 pm

Training Camp Observations: 8/4/09

I apologize for the delay in posting this.

These are my observations from Tuesday's practice held at the Browns' facility in Berea. I spent the better part of the day talking with Tony Grossi and Kenny Roda among others, as the media was confined to a small section of the practice field. Though accomodating, Grossi seemed very jaded about the entire experience. He was very helpful, and I appreciate his help.

 Thoughts on the offense

  • We are beginning to develop a good sense of how the Browns' offense will look in 2009. One of the biggest changes from 2008 will be the emphasis on the draw play. Mangini's Jets lead the NFL in draw plays in 2007, so it's to be expected he'll bring a similar offensive approach to Cleveland.


  •  Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll seems to be comfortable calling for the draw on any down or distance - regardless of situation. The Browns have ran a number of different plays from the draw - most noticiably play action passes and the flea flicker.


Thoughts on the team

  • Joe Thomas looks as good as ever. He held up in pass protection all day, as rushers seemed to give up when testing the left side.


  • It may still be early, but Abram Elam sure looks like a ball-hawking safety. He has a knack for jumping routes, as he picked off Brady Quinn in practice.



  • Despite his small stature, Syndric Steptoe has performed well on offense through the first few days of training camp. Steptoe hasn't looked as well in the return game, as he displayed poor field awareness and lacked game-breaking speed on kickoffs.


  • Jerome Harrison made a great catch on a poorly thrown ball by Brady Quinn. He also looked better running the football, as he broke off a few big gains in team drills.


  • Kamerion Wimbley really impressed me in 11-on-11 drills. He has shown good strength (as evident by the large number of quarterback hurries he has through camp) and is primed for a breakout season.


  • Mike Furrey is a veteran leader. In addition to making a few nice catches in traffic, Furrey was seen at practice barking out orders to the younger wide receivers.

Thoughts on the rookies

  • The MVP of training camp thus far has been James Davis. Davis showed ability in blitz pickup this afternoon, broke a long gain on a draw play, and made some nice moves in the open field.

  • If there were one player that has had a disappointing training camp to this point, it would be first round pick Alex Mack. Mack seems to lack the bulk to sustain blocks against some of the bigger defensive lineman. He was beaten by Ahytba Rubin in pass protection and seems to really struggle adjusting to the next level.

Thoughts on the quarterbacks

  • Derek Anderson missed a throw under pressure. He threw beind his intended receiver.


  • Derek had a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage. This was the third pass Anderson had tipped, which is strange considering he's usually the tallest player on the field.


  • Brady overthrew yet another deep pass in practice. His intended receiver was about 15 yards deep.


  • Quinn was able to complete a few short to mid-range receptions, much to the delight of the small crowd on hand.
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 2, 2009 2:43 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2009 1:47 pm

Training Camp Observations: 8/1/09

Last night, I had the privilage of attending the evening session of the Browns training camp. The practice was open to the public and I encourage everyone to head out to Berea to see the Browns practice. Brady Quinn, Coye Francies, Ryan Pontbriand, Brodney Pool, Josh Cribbs, and a host of others were on hand - mingling with the fans while signing autographs for free.

It truly was a special night.

This Gentledawg has taken note of everything that happened at Saturday's practice. My geniune thoughts are listed below.

Thoughts on Warm Up

  • Derek Anderson needs to look in the mirror before coming out to practice. The Scappoosian passer wore knee-high white stockings with long orange shorts. Absolutely dreadful!
  • Shaun Rogers is a big man. While the vast majority of players wore orange shorts, Rogers was seen in what can only be described as cut-off sweatpants. I guess the shorts didn’t fit him.
  • Kicker Phil Dawson, long snapper Ryan Pontbriand, and punter Dave Zastudil stayed together for the majority of the day. They all looked like BFFs.
  • While the players warmed up before practice started, Derek Anderson sang along with part of the Black Eyed Peas’ song I Gotta Feelin . He sang: “And tonight’s gonna be a good night!”

Thoughts on the Offense

  • Mangini wasn’t kidding when he said we would see elements of Rob Chudzinski’s offense in 2009. There was plenty of motion and formation shifting at the line of scrimmage.
  • Browns quarterbacks spent the majority of the day in three and four wide receiver sets. Whether this was something exclusive to today or not remains to be seen.
  • The tight ends were often times found deep down the field in the passing game.
  • Anderson, Quinn, and Ratliff worked on a unique drill which featured timing routes on play action. The receivers made four sharp cuts and then came back to the ball just as the passer rolled out of play action. Only Ratliff’s receiver caught the ball in bounds.
  • As expected, the Browns’ offense will incorporate several elements of the West Coast Passing system. Running backs often peeled into the flat or ran short passing routes over the middle.
  • The evening practice featured a substantial amount of shotgun offense. The quarterbacks lined up with two receiving options (usually a running back and a wide receiver) in the backfield in addition to the three receivers lined up in the passing game.
  • Daboll and Mangini seem to place an emphasis on throwing the ball away if nothing is there. Brady Quinn intentionally threw two balls at receivers’ feet on blown up screen plays instead of taking a loss of yardage.

Thoughts on Derek Anderson

  • During 11 on 11 drills, Abram Elam picked off a Derek Anderson pass intended for a wide receiver.
  • Anderson completed several deep balls down the field. He showed great touch as every long pass he threw either hit the receiver in stride or required little adjustment on the receiver’s part.
  • Derek Anderson took the majority of the first team reps throughout the evening practice. Eric Mangini personally watched Anderson work with the first team along with quarterbacks coach Carl Smith.
  • Derek Anderson ran a penalty lap for an undisclosed reason.
  • After throwing a caught ball slightly behind a receiver, Derek Anderson apologized. “My bad,” he said.

Thoughts on Brady Quinn

  • Brady Quinn struggled to connect downfield with wide receivers. It wasn’t an issue of arm strength, but one of arm accuracy. Quinn overthrew Martin Rucker on a deep pass pattern by three yards…twice.
  • While working with the second team, quarterbacks coach Carl Smith encouraged Brady Quinn to take shots down the field when available.
  • After the team was dismissed, Braylon Edwards approached Quinn and the two played catch from about ten yards apart. They stayed like that for ten minutes.
  • Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson held light conversation as the two played catch after dismissal.
  • Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson seem to have contrasting styles of quarterback play. Quinn is far more passive and selective in his decision making, taking only what he knows he can complete. Anderson is not afraid to take shots down the field – a far more aggressive approach to quarterbacking.
  • Brady Quinn ran a penalty lap for an undisclosed reason.

Thoughts on Braylon Edwards

  • Perhaps the most peculiar part of practice came at the end when Mangini gathered the team for final instructions and group prayer. Every single person affiliated with the team gathered around the coach except for Braylon Edwards. Edwards stood a good 20 yards away from the team by himself.

Thoughts on the rookies

  • Brian Robiskie might be even better than advertised. In addition to sharp, crisp route running, Robiskie snatched a Derek Anderson lazer out of mid air with his hands coming across his body.
  • Out of all the running backs that took the field for practice, no one stood out quite like James Davis. Davis, the sixth round selection from Clemson, broke off a few long runs in addition to displaying good hands for the reception. He stood out in the position drills and looks like one of the better runners on this team.

Thoughts on everyone else

  • Josh Cribbs did not look like a natural receiver, catching several balls with his body. He still has some work to do.
  • Steve Heiden was in a red shirt, and did not do much on the field. He stayed after dismissal and worked the jug machine in impressive fashion. Nice hands.
  • Kamerion Wimbley is strong. He seems to have developed a nice bull rush technique.
  • Jerome Harrison had a disappointing day of practice. Harrison dropped two easy passes coming out of the backfield.
  • Still on Harrison, he was completely man-handled in a one-on-one pass protection drill by Beau Bell.
  • Lawrence Vickers was beaten twice in one-on-one drills by quicker practice squad linebackers. He looked terrible and was visibly and audibly frustrated.
  • Jamal Lewis does not possess natural hands for making the reception. He is body-type receiver.

Thoughts on Player Chatter

  • I asked Brian Robiskie which position we can expect to see him play this year. “All of them,” he responded. Robiskie has spent time as the X,Y, and Z receiver.
  • While signing autographs for the fans, I asked Charles Ali just how big he really is. He laughed, and then asked the fans to guess. Ali began a Price is Right style game when fans began shouting out different numbers for his weight. The winner, without going over, guessed 248 pounds. He won Ali’s left glove.
  • Brodney Pool took time after practice to meet and greet with the fans. Pool was asked how many tackles he expected to make this year. “I’m looking for those picks,” he said.
  • Still on Brodney Pool, I approached him and inquired about his choice of hairstyles. “What’s going on with the waves?” I asked. He laughed. “Nah, I don’t care about stuff like that,” he said while smiling.
  • After the team was dismissed, Coye Francies came over to sign autographs. I asked him why he, unlike many of his defensive back teammates, does not use Twitter. “I can barely figure out the internet,” he said.
  • Brady Quinn came over to sign autographs for the fans. Francies saw this and said, “you guys better go get one of those. That’s where the real money is.”
  • After chatting it up all day with the players gracious enough to stop by, I stood face-to-face with Brady Quinn. I took a few pictures, but strangely, I had nothing to say.
  • After spending close to 15 minutes signing autographs, Brady Quinn left to attend the players’ meeting. A father stood there comforting his little 7-year-old boy. The kid idolized Quinn and was crying because he was unable to get a Brady Quinn autograph. As Brady was jogging back to the building, tight end John Madsen called out to Quinn in hopes of having him sign the kid’s jersey. Brady never came back.

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com