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.