Cleveland Browns Training Camp: Day 3 recap

Jul 31, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrell Pryor (11) signs autographs following practice at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, OH. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 31, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrell Pryor (11) signs autographs following practice at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, OH. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns hit the field for Sunday’s practice in Berea in pads for the first time this training camp.

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson has made his ambition clear since the beginning of training camp; to stack good days on top of good days. Throughout the first three sessions in Berea, it seems Jackson’s mantra has been fulfilled.

The Browns have run into a little bit of everything; from poor weather pushing portions of the first two practices inside, to the adjustment of Sunday’s practice in pads. This wide-ranging adversity the players and coaching staff have been faced with contributes to the ideal Browns organization; one that is resilient, and one that has an identity. Today’s practice in particular was very indicative of this increasingly tough football team.

“I’m very happy with our football team,” coach Jackson commented in his press conference directly following practice. Jackson specifically referred to the physicality, and how revealing the first day in pads was for the organization.

Jackson was especially proud of the veteran players, who have exemplified professional behavior. Under this regime, training camp is “different than what they’re accustomed to,” as Jackson put it. This presumably means that this coaching staff’s style is more physical than what players experienced under past coaching staffs.

The fact that the veteran players are buying into the system throughout this change is reassuring. They are trusting the process, and going all in with this group of coaches.

But by no means does this dedication make the process of developing this team easy. Jackson remarked about trying to find ways to get the most out of wide receiver Josh Gordon‘s talent. Gordon’s talent is too valuable, and must not be wasted. Additionally, converted receiver Terrelle Pryor is experiencing the challenges of a position change. According to Jackson, even though Pryor is doing very well so far at his new position, evident by his electrifying catch today, the experiment is a “work in progress.”

The offensive line is another intriguing group occupying many headlines early on in camp. Rookie Shon Coleman looked promising today after recently returning from an injury. The Browns hope Coleman can fill a significant void on the line, the right tackle position. Although nearly every offensive line position is still fairly uncertain, Jackson was proud of the unit’s physicality as they wore pads for the first time. Veterans, such as nine-time Pro Bowl selection Joe Thomas, contribute to a line that has so far created nothing but optimism for the coaching staff and fans.

Overall, the first practice in pads resurfaced a recurring theme in every NFL team’s training camp; the balance between physicality and health. The Browns have made it clear the team is emphasizing the need for contact in training camp to prevent injuries in the regular season.

But when it comes to quarterbacks, their safety remains the top priority. When asked about a minor incident involving contact with a quarterback Sunday in which Jackson had to intervene, the coach’s blunt response was as follows: “We don’t touch our quarterback ever.”

There were a few minor injuries Sunday, but nothing that seemed too severe.

The message in training camp is clear, and it couldn’t be more evident at this point that the Browns are very well-coached. Judging based on the first three practices of training camp, this team is certainly moving in the right direction. So much so that the players, fans and coaching staff aren’t the only ones who have taken notice.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam also spoke to the press prior to practice on Sunday. Much like Jackson, Haslam was enthusiastic about the progress the organization has made up until this point.

“I’m really excited about where we are as a franchise,” Haslam said. The Browns owner also described what he sees as a “noticeable difference in our building, in terms of energy level and collaboration.” Coming directly from the owner of this team, who has had a history of being very frank with Cleveland fans, this statement proves just how well the Browns have begun training camp. Everyone is encouraged, all the way from the fans to those at the top of the organization.

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As for Jackson, his objective remains clear. “When they hired me, they told me my job is to win,” Jackson said. “That’s what I’m going to set out to do.”

It appears this team’s mentality reflects Jackson’s. They act professionally and practice hard, knowing that the only way to succeed is to take training camp one day at a time. If this encouraging trend continues, there is reason to believe that the Browns truly will stack good days on top of good days, and enter the first preseason game in Green Bay well prepared.

Next: Jimmy Haslam: We are realistic

Training camp continues tomorrow, once again running from 3:00 PM to 5:30 PM. Tickets are still available, and can be found here.  The full schedule for Browns training camp, including the Orange and Brown scrimmage, can be found here.