The Cleveland Browns host joint practices against the New York Giants ahead of their week two preseason matchup.
‘We’re talking about practice’- every sportswriter, analyst, and commentator since the infamous Allen Iverson rant from 2002. Well, we are. We are talking about practice. Two practices in fact.
On Thursday the Cleveland Browns will be hosting the first of two joint practices at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus in Berea with their upcoming preseason opponent, the New York Giants. With the Browns starters not getting much, if any, action during their first preseason game, this will be the chance to really get after it.
In the vanilla world of preseason football, joint practices offer the chance to actually put plans into action. Other than the occasional fracas or skirmish, only small clips of these joint practices will ever see the outside world. This controlled setting offers coaches the opportunity to dial it up a notch and see what really works in live-action.
In terms of the work that can be accomplished, joint practices are far more practical than preseason games. In a scrimmage, the only game applicable scenario the starters ever see is an opportunity to conduct an opening drive. That is why you see many teams march their starters out for the first drive and then shut them down.
While the preseason games can be effective in terms of a dress rehearsal, it does not allow your starters to get efficiently effective work in. In a joint practice, the coaches control down and distance as well as the scenario. Red zone, two- and four-minute offense, third and longs; all of the ebbs and flows of a game get their proper attention.
For the Browns, in particular, coach Stefanski is going to utilize these practices with the Giants to their fullest capabilities. This is where Baker Mayfield and the starting offense will be able to gauge where they are at in terms of league competition. After spending training camp sharpening their skills against the likes of Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, Denzel Ward, and John Johnson III; working against a different defensive scheme will be a welcome sight.
Although the preseason does serve a purpose, it’s just not much of one for the starters. The preseason games are a great tool to grade and evaluate players who are on the fringe of making the team. It also provides players who are not going to make the team the opportunity to put good work on tape that might land them on another team.
That opportunity was taken from fringe roster players last year because of the pandemic. With the Browns roster sitting where it is currently, look for several players that do not make the 53-man roster to latch on with one of the other 31-teams.
There is only one downside to these joint practices, they will be closed to the public. Although, we will get to see how effective the sessions were for the Browns come September 12th at 4:25 pm.