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Cleveland Browns Training Camp – Things to Keep an Eye on

Cleveland Browns Training Camp – Things to Keep an Eye on

Training Camp 2017 – Cleveland Browns

In just a matter of days now, the orange and brown will put their pads on and head onto the practice field in Berea.  In addition to the many position battles; there is a handful of interesting aspects of this franchise.  Overall, I feel this camp will be much improved from the 2016 one – hopefully that translates into the season.  Let’s look at a few interesting parts of training camp.

Responding to Williams

At this point, Browns’ fans are well aware of new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and what he brings to the table.  However, in addition to the yelling and firing up the unit – it will be fascinating to see how the athletes respond to this much different form of coaching.  I anticipate improved play, as athletes attempt to avoid criticism while getting into Williams’s good graces.  Some guys could get defeated mentally by this; however that could be pretty apparent if an athlete or two are released after having tough practices.

Hold the Peppers?

In this day in age, the holding out of rookie Jabril Peppers is simply asinine – and the safety could enter camp in trouble.  Ed Reynolds, Ibraheim Campbell, and Calvin Pryor will all enjoy their reps with the defensive unit, while the unsigned rookie is sitting and waiting.  While not a murder’s row of NFL-caliber defenders, they will be ahead of Peppers.  As Corey Coleman proved last season, missed time definitely hurts one’s development.  I don’t want it to see that happen two years in a row – but that might be what happens to this franchise.

Which Kind of Experience is Better?

Brock Osweiler is the only quarterback on the Browns’ roster who has earned a victory in the NFL – while making some plays for two other franchise prior to being traded to Cleveland.  Meanwhile, Cody Kessler is the only signal caller who has experienced the tutelage of Hue Jackson firsthand.  Will one of those factors matter in the quarterback derby?  I would like to believe that Osweiler’s multiple seasons in the league makes him significantly better than his two competitors, but this position has been unpredictable for decades now.

Testing Depth

I’m not trying to get ahead of myself, but one could make an argument that the Browns are quietly building depth on both sides of the ball.  Therefore, seeing Williams shuffling defensive linemen around in certain packages should be expected.  If the coach can lock down how to best utilize these athletes now, the defense will be in good shape come September.  Meanwhile, the offensive side of the ball might feature some rotations to determine who can be counted upon in 2017.  Right tackle, wide receiver, and the running back pecking order are a few areas of this team that Jackson and company would like to sort out over the next few weeks.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in Players, Training Camp

 

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Training Camp and What I Saw – Cleveland Browns

Training Camp and What I Saw – Cleveland Browns

Sight and Sounds from Training Camp

I recently traveled west to Berea and watched the Cleveland Browns training camp practice – for the first time in nine years. During that time frame, the franchise has gone though a number of changes; most notably the countless number of personnel. I would like to believe they are on the path towards greatness in 2016; however there is still a great deal of work that has to be done before success is accomplished. What happened during practice? I’ll fill you in below:

More “Team” Practicing

This relates to witnessing more eleven versus eleven on the football field – it should be fairly obvious, but the best way to get better is to simulate game situations. I understand positional group practicing is important (especially for technique tips and improvements), but going head to head is important. The fact that coach Jackson had multiple situations like this makes me feel a little better about this team’s chances this fall. Hopefully this translates to better learning and execution during games.

Larger Guys

I don’t know if I am getting smaller or if Browns players are getting bigger, but standing up close to a few guys – I have noticed that the Browns have quite a bit of large individuals. Josh Gordon, Terrelle Pryor, and Shon Coleman (to name a few) definitely have the physical abilities to play in the league – it is another story as to whether they can compete each and every play with their counter parts. 

Coaching is Present

In the midst of the day’s first eleven on eleven portion, head coach Hue Jackson (loudly) corrected Cody Kessler under center. While the athlete did not particularly like to hear this, it should set him up for expectations in the future. I believe Jackson can continue to mentor the young guys and work to instill the correct work habits, techniques, and mindset to become excellent football players.

Conclusion: Not surprisingly, the amount of contact was not abundantly clear during the Browns’ training camp I recently went to. However, the drills appear to help with tackling (using an inflatable wheel teaching to wrap up) and other vital skills that appear to be lost in today’s NFL. It’s still too early to make a final prediction for this season’s record – but this remains the optimistic season and Hue Jackson and company at least provide more faith than his last few predecessors.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2016 in NFL Season

 

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Why Possibly Moving Training Camp is a Good Idea

Why Possibly Moving Training Camp is a Good Idea

Exiting Berea Would Be a Wise Decision:

It recently came out that Cleveland Browns’ fans would be required to “register” for training camp practices this July and August.  This is a free, online process – however it guarantees entrance when others will be denied.  The reason for this, is due to the higher demand to see the players (particularly one rookie quarterback) up close and in person.  Not being able to accommodate fans is unacceptable in today’s NFL – and the Browns’ front office knows this.  Searching for different venues is the likely next step in this process, and in my opinion, the smart thing to do.

Greater Attendance –  This goes beyond the obvious, as larger fields would be able to support more individuals to watch the orange and brown.  Should the Browns look for areas with seating (i.e. metal bleachers), they could implement a solid selling point.  For every die-hard fan that attends training camp, there are multiple supporters who would not mind “taking a load off” during sessions that span over two hours.  It appears relatively simple and straight-forward, but it could be a way to get more customers.

Increased Exposure – Being accepted into the national spotlight has been something foreign to this franchise over the past twenty-five years.  However, in the span of a few weeks – the opposite has been the norm.  Getting more into free events would only exacerbate this, especially when large media outlets would want to be a part of the action.  In addition to the headlines for the on-the-field product, you can bet that several vendors will supply hats, jerseys, and shirts for people to purchase.

For those who live further away from Berea, (now) having training camp closer could mean family trips to watch the Browns.  Again, die-hards will go no matter the locale – within reason.  The front office needs to determine where are the best venues that will produce spikes in attendance by the casual football fan.  Will getting this faction turn the next generation to the good side (instead of waving yellow toilet paper)?   The team can only hope; of course, winning in the fall can also work wonders for youngsters new to the game.

Changing the Culture – A repeating theme of the 2014 squad has been to shed itself of its previous losing mentality.  Since last season, there has been roster turnover, coaching and general manager changes, and discussion of new uniforms (to be implemented 2015).  Perhaps moving the team during summer camp can further along this process, as the Browns have seen little success in the approximate twenty years at the campus of Baldwin Wallace.  Sometimes a positive psyche can provide an advantage that translates to success during games.  I understand the culture change may not occur overnight, and not all shifts will be good ideas.  However, this owner has proven that he is willing to think outside the box and put his stamp on the Cleveland Browns.

Conclusion:  I am excited to hear the team could move summer practices to other areas in Ohio (and possibly multiple).  The fan base could be broadened, as well as the team getting more notoriety than in previous years.  I have faith the team can get it right; hopefully that time is just around the corner.

 

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