Cleveland Browns enjoy first joint practice with Tampa Bay
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns held the first of two joint practices with Tampa Bay on Tuesday and got the better of the Buccaneers.
The Cleveland Browns took their show on the road Tuesday to Florida, holding the first of two joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Judging by what took occurred at One Buccaneer Place, it is safe to wonder if Tampa Bay will want to show up on Friday for the scheduled preseason friendly between the two teams.
“We had a lot of good work. On all three sides for us – special teams, offense and defense – it’s really good to come out and do this against another team,” head coach Hue Jackson said in his post-practice press conference. “It’s good to be in this situation practicing against a different team. We’ll go back and watch the tape. I know there are some things we have to clean up and do better. At the same time, I thought the work overall between both teams was really good.”
On offense, the Browns made it through their second consecutive practice with their top wide receivers on the field, with Josh Gordon and Terrelle Pryor reportedly taking turns working over the Buccaneers secondary.
“I don’t want to go and put bulletin board material stuff out there because we’re all pros out here,” Pryor said after practice. “We’re all going to battle. If you look at just the size and speed of what me and Josh have, of course, it is somewhat of a disadvantage in some stuff. We are going to go out there and battle our butts off.”
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The only negative from the offense came in the form of a pair of interceptions by Robert Griffin III, who was nabbed both times by rookie cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.
Defensively, the secondary received a boost with the return of cornerback Joe Haden, who had one of the Browns two interceptions. Jamar Taylor, who is working this week as the outside cornerback opposite Haden, also picked off a pass.
“I like Jamar’s game,” Haden told cleveland.com. “He’s really, really quick. He’s able to make very sudden movements and come out of his breaks extremely fast. He’s a smart player. He doesn’t just line up and go play. He kind of surveys, sees two by two, two by one, he checks splits, just the advanced corner.”
Taylor, who was a bit of an afterthought when the Browns acquired him in a draft-day trade with the Miami Dolphins, continues to make an impression on the coaching staff.
“He makes plays. I can’t wait to go back and watch our defense, but that’s what we expect from our corners,” Jackson said. ‘They have to get their hands on the ball. It’s unfortunate, sometimes their defense got their hands on too many of our balls. We need to keep getting better on both sides of the ball. Defense, we have to get turnovers. On offense, we have to prevent them.”
And it wouldn’t be a joint practice against another team without cornerback Justin Gilbert continuing to disappoint.
While the Browns were ready to get to work, the same cannot be said of the Buccaneers.
“No juice, no juice,” head coach Dirk Koetter told Tampa’s website. “No one wanted to practice today.”
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The Browns and Buccaneers will go at it again on Wednesday, this time without pads, as the teams continue to prepare for Friday’s 8 p.m. kickoff at Raymond James Stadium.