Cleveland Browns: Training Camp Day 1 recap

Jun 7, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson yells to the team during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson yells to the team during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns got back to work Friday, opening their annual training camp in Berea.

The Cleveland Browns are once again beginning on a clean slate. And this time, there’s a uniquely fresh feeling of optimism in Berea. The opening day of training camp has always been a day filled with enthusiasm and hope, and today, the mood of the training facility is no different. What is unique, however, is just how calm, confident, and prevalent this sentiment is.

The Browns’ fresh leadership is undoubtedly partially responsible for this, as is the anticipation of another season. If the first day of training camp is any indication, the Browns are on the right track to improvement in 2016.

Despite the widespread feeling of hope and optimism, the day started with a little bit of a setback. Due to weather, Friday’s practice to open training camp was moved indoors, and made unavailable to the public. Though the lightning in the area prevented fans from witnessing the first true practice of 2016, the workout was by no means entirely spoiled.

The first true practice was a solid one and not easy by any means, as the Browns moved from outdoors to indoors, and back outdoors again, all throughout a two-hour window. The team had to adapt to the inconvenient conditions, adversity which head coach Hue Jackson embraced.

“That’s the sort of adversity a coach likes,” Jackson stated sincerely in his post practice press conference. “Overall it was a good start.”

Jackson went on to reiterate that the opening practice was “good,” but also said that it was “not great.” Quite possibly, one of the main reasons for this was the offense’s inability to protect the ball consistently. Though the defense deserves credit for forcing numerous turnovers, Jackson prides himself on the offensive side of the football, and wasn’t pleased with the ball security early on.

For the defense, it was a day of adjustments, but a positive beginning. Jackson confidently told reporters that cornerback Joe Haden will be ready to go for the opener, despite still being on the PUP list. It was also a positive day for third year cornerback Justin Gilbert, as Jackson told the media that the former Oklahoma State Cowboy is “doing outstanding,” and that he is “excited about his future here.”

The defensive schematic transition is another aspect of camp which will be critical for the team’s success this season. With rookie Emmanuel Ogbah expected to play a significant role, Jackson ensured that defensive coordinator Ray Horton would “try a little bit of everything” with Ogbah. Overall, the defense looked sharp in day one, and Jackson downplayed the challenge of their transition.

Possibly the most dominating headline of Thursday was Hue Jackson’s promise to name the starting quarterback before the first preseason game in Green Bay. This raises the stakes of the 10 practices remaining between now and August 12th. It also indicates that coach Jackson either already has a good idea of who his starter will be, or he is confident that presumably either Robert Griffin III or Josh McCown will make an immediate impression.

In today’s practice, Griffin received the majority of the reps. Jackson praised Griffin, saying that he appeared to be “the same guy that came out in 2012.” This is encouraging news for Browns fans, who have been anxiously anticipating the development of a franchise quarterback for countless seasons. As for McCown, Jackson in no way belittled him, explaining that the reason for his lack of reps in the opening practice was the fact that he didn’t need many, being a seasoned veteran.

Overall, Jackson referred to his team as having a “backyard mentality,” yet still disciplined. This combination is one that the Browns have been pursuing for years, and it appears that they may finally have it. Jackson anticipates his players to be ready to go tomorrow, and would like to see the team “stack good days on top of good days.”

Tomorrow’s practice will be the first practice the fans get to see, and is already sold out. It will run tomorrow from 3:25 PM to 5:55 PM in Berea.

Next: Joe Haden expects to be back Week 1

The full schedule for training camp sessions has been released, and tickets for future practices in Berea can be found here.