Talkin' 'Bout (Family Day) Practice

More than 11,000 watch Browns learn new offense. Don Delco was in the press box and reports from the Stadium...

CLEVELAND – On the bus ride over to Cleveland Browns Stadium on Saturday morning, Browns tight end Evan Moore had a moment to himself.

"It felt really good to be out there," Moore said. "As we were driving up here I thought, ‘It's been a long time since we were there.' Especially me, personally, I missed the last four games of the season. It was good to be out there in a game-type situation."

The Browns held Family Day at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Saturday, which equated to a team practice in front of 11,965 fans. It was the first time the team took the field at Cleveland Browns Stadium since the 41-9 loss to Pittsburgh on Jan. 2. More than seven months later, the Browns trotted out of the northwest tunnel with a new collective bargaining agreement, a new head coach, a new defensive coordinator, plenty of other new faces and, well, the same orange helmets sans logo.

The offense was the focal point, led by its anointed starting quarterback, Colt McCoy. It has been a little more than a week since the CBA was agreed upon and the team is in a constant state of learning a new playbook.

Saturday's performance went a long way toward mastering said playbook.

"Terminology is a little different and you have to adjust to that," Peyton Hillis said. "You can learn that in a month. I've had five different playbooks in five years. I feel like I could get comfortable with a new playbook pretty quickly."

Hillis' role in the new offense will include catching more balls out of the backfield. In seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills, McCoy found Hills on check downs and screens, but in red zone drills, the second-year quarterback has found a few security blankets in Moore, Ben Watson and Greg Little.

Moore caught a couple touchdown passes in various drills on Saturday, one from McCoy and one from backup quarterback Seneca Wallace.

"You have to utilize the tight ends," McCoy said. "Smith, Moore and Jordan Cameron have those big bodies. Those are quarterback-friendly targets. They can go make some plays. We got some weapons."

At the much-maligned wide receiver position, Little showed his playmaking ability with a one-handed catch during a passing drill and, later, a stylish 5-yard touchdown reception. From the shotgun, McCoy threw a jump ball to Little, who soared above two Browns' defenders for a touchdown. On the next play, McCoy hit Moore for another 5-yard touchdown.

"I thought we had a really good day," McCoy said. "I talked to (Browns coach) Pat (Shurmur) after the practice and we joked how far we made it in one week. The first couple of days, conceptually, we knew what was going on, but for the wide receivers, tight ends and offensive line it was all new to everybody. There were little things within our concepts where we made mistakes."

The Browns have exactly one week until playing host to the defending Super Bowl champions Green Bay Packers in the opening week of preseason. There is plenty of work to do despite already coming a long way, according to Browns players.

"We're learning things at a rapid pace and picking it up really well," Hillis said. "We're excited about the progress.

"The timing is just not there," McCoy said. "It is night and day to where we started. The coaches have done a tremendous job. With less practice time with the new CBA, we are working hard and we want to be good."

Mistakes are happening. There were times the Browns offense and defense did not look sharp on Saturday. But that is to be expected.

"We make mistakes every time we are out there," McCoy said. "We come back, watch the tape and we aren't making the same mistake again. We are growing and learning."


END IT WITH STYLE: The Browns concluded Family Day with two-minute drills. The first-team offense stalled at the second-team defense's 43-yard-line. With one second left on the clock, Phil Dawson trotted onto the field and booted a 60-yard field goal.

DEFENSIVE DECISIONS: When the first-team defense was on the field, Jabaal Sheard and Jayme Mitchell played right and left end, respectively, while Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin were the tackles.

"It was my first time ever in the stadium," Taylor said. "It felt good. Defensively we made some mistakes. Offensively we made some mistakes. We have to learn from it and correct it in practice this week."

D'Qwell Jackson played middle linebacker as he was flanked by Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong. In nickel situations, Gocong came off the field and was replaced by rookie defensive back Buster Skrine.

In base 4-3 formation, the Browns rotated cornerbacks while Usama Young and T.J. Ward held down the safety spots.

O-LINE JOSTLING: The Browns' first-team offensive line had several lineups. The constants were Alex Mack at center and Joe Thomas at left tackle. Shawn Lauvao played some left and right guard. Pat Murray played some left guard, as did last year's starter, Eric Steinbach. Tony Pashos played a majority of the first-team snaps at right tackle.

SWAG SIDELINED: Cornerback Joe Haden (hamstring), wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (foot) and running back Montario Hardesty (knee) did not participate in the practice. All three were on the field. Hardesty could be seen in full pads running sprints in the west end zone, midway through practice.

DUNK YOU VERY MUCH: A few plays after Little caught the jump ball for a touchdown from McCoy, Little caught another touchdown on a slant route. This time, Little went up for a reverse dunk on the goalpost in the east end zone.

Little's name for the dunk?

"Boomshakalaka," he said.

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