To finish a week of grueling practice, the Cleveland Browns took the field in Lebron James‘ neck of the woods, InfoCision Stadium in Akron, OH. The Browns are just a week away from their first preseason games vs. the Detroit Lions. Here are my “Dawg Bones” from Friday’s practice and today’s scrimmage.
Snead Sighting: Out of Ball State University, Willie Snead was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent a day after the 2014 NFL Draft. Before yesterday, Snead, bunched with a plethora of wide receivers, was lost and not noticed. In Friday’s practice caught four passes in team drills and scored two touchdowns. While it’s a longshot to make the team, Snead is coming along and has a little cockiness to him in his body language.
Put me in Coach: The orange jerseys have been popular with the players. Coach Mike Pettine has made the bright jerseys the prize during his competition. To end practice on Friday, Pettine sent some offensive and defensive coaches out there to field knuckle ball punts from Spencer Lanning. The coaches on offense caught all of their punts and the defensive coaches put one on the ground. Offensive players will be in orange on Monday.
Camp Surprise: A nice story and surprise last season was defensive back Josh Aubrey. After finishing last season on the injured reserve, Aubrey has bounced back nicely in camp. Against Brian Hoyer and the first team offense, Aubrey made an awesome one-handed interception on Friday. For someone back on the depth chart, that gives him two total picks in seven practices.
Goose Egg: The Family Day scrimmage at InfoCision Stadium in Akron can be summed it in one word – DEFENSE. Cleveland’s defense shut down both Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, allowing just three Billy Cundiff field goals. Not counting separate red zone work, the offense had 12 drives and had zero touchdowns. Cleveland quarterbacks threw three interceptions including two by rookie Connor Shaw.
Inside Linebacker Battle: There is a nice battle going on between Craig Robertson and Chris Kirksey. The winner will start next to Karlos Dansby at the other inside linebacker spot in Pettine’s 3-4 system. So far, both are playing well, but this is something to really watch throughout preseason.
Meanwhile, in NY: While the Browns practiced on Friday, All-Pro receiver Josh Gordon spent over nine hours meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York. They must have a ton to discuss because the meeting now has a sequel. Gordon will be back in New York on Monday to find out the rest of his fate. He is facing a season long suspension for multiple violations and is in Stage III of the NFL’s substance abuse program.
Bark at the Moon: Second year outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo is being highly praised by Pettine, saying his play had “jumped out” and “made big strides technique-wise” since the spring. Pettine loves the fact that Mingo added weight and muscle to his frame. In Saturday’s scrimmage, Mingo had a nice interception of Hoyer.
Food for Thought: Now, it’s only been seven practices for the Browns and this is just an observation. But, how can this be a true quarterback competition if the playing field isn’t level? Fact: Manziel has not taken one first-team snap in any of the seven completed practices.
Gipson Update: In what looked might be something serious when it happened, safety Tashaun Gipson should be back on the practice field by mid-week. Arguably, Gipson was one of the Browns’ best defensive players a season ago.
Where’s Ricky Bobby? Slowly but surely, speed burner Travis Benjamin is being weeded out of the receiving corps. Granted he is coming back from an ACL tear, but Benjamin is hardly getting any reps with the deep receiver group. He did not see one team drill snap today at receiver. However, most of Benjamin’s reps are coming from what he does very well – returning punts.
No Major Injuries: All and all, the Browns are relatively healthy right now. Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron was banged up in Saturday’s scrimmage, but Pettine said he was taken out of the practice as “precautionary”. Cameron should be back on Monday for practice.
Orange-and-Brown Nation: Total attendance for today’s Family Day event in Akron – 20,673.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net. Email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org