Once upon a time when theOBR was named BTNG.com and BerniesInsiders.com, a column was run named "Sunday Morning Massacre". The column would take a look at everything Cleveland Browns, as well as looking at the AFC North division opponents.
As the Browns are in the second week of the 2012 training camp season, the "Sunday Morning Massacre" and its overload of Browns notes makes a return trip to Cleveland, here at theOBR.com
At the onset, the "Sunday Morning Massacre" will consist of solely Browns news, unless something outrageously stupid occurs within the division – come to think of it, doesn't it always?
* The Achilles and ankle injury suffered by starting OLB Chris Gocong will sideline the player for the season, if not longer. Preliminary tests show the Achilles tendon to be torn and potential soft tissue injury persists. According to a team source, the Browns medical staff is of the belief Gocong has potentially suffered injury to the ankle itself.
* LB's Kaluka Maiava and James-Michael Johnson head the list of candidates to replace Gocong (season) and Scott Fujita (3-game suspension) heading toward the regular season. Both Maiava and Johnson have performed well in camp, with Johnson looking very impressive in the opening week of training camp.
* There is a question to be answered about the Browns success running the ball in training camp. Is the majority of successful due to the two starting DT's missing practice sessions, with two rookies and a handful of average linemen filling the interior of the line? Or is it, the Browns offensive line has been tremendous and the RB's are just that good? Actually, it's about a 50-50 proposition, the Browns offensive line has been solid, the RB's have been quick and hard-running, while the defensive line and linebackers have some good moments.......This team needs a healthy Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor back on the playing field.
* Starting DT Phil Taylor has been working on his lower body and other stretching exercises while sidelined due a pectoral tear which required surgery. Taylor has been lifting weights for the past couple weeks, but is not been cleared to go fully out, as the surgical region needs additional time to heal. Taylor's lifting is procedural with this type of injury to stretch and strengthen the area. As theOBR hears it, barring any setback, Taylor could be ready by week-six of the regular season.
* Rookie DT's John Hughes and Billy Winn continue to gain valuable reps in training camp. Hughes had demonstrated of late his ability to maintain gap integrity, while Winn and his quickness has shown the ability to penetrate the gap. While not truly ready for prime-time, the two rookie DT's are displaying promise, but have their hands full with the Browns offensive linemen (which is looking like a very solid group).
* DT Ahytba Rubin has sufficiently healed from a pelvic tear and is participating in practice sessions. Rubin won't be eased too much into training camp routine, but the coaching staff will not physically beat him down.
* Veteran DE Marcus Benard has stepped up his game over the past two days. Benard had struggled with his hand down on the ground, but in very recent practice sessions, Benard is getting off the spot quicker and is beginning to look like the player than had 7.5 sacks two seasons ago.
* Veteran Juqua Parker and Frostee Rucker are making an impact in their first training camp with the Browns. Rucker has been solid, nearly an immovable object at DE, while Parker at age 34 still has a bounce in his legs.
* WR Carlton Mitchell, out with a leg injury is losing valuable ground in the race to a roster spot at the position. The addition of Josh Gordon removes one open spot, while the emergence of Travis Benjamin, Josh Cooper and Jermaine Saffold has Mitchell falling down the depth chart.
* If today was cut-down day to 53 players, Greg Little, Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin and Josh Cooper would easily be my five receivers, and if a sixth was available........."
* Strangely enough, Benjamin struggled on Saturday with drops. Having been one of the biggest performers in camp, Benjamin's drops are somewhat concerning. Whether the rookie has hit the wall in camp, which isn't uncommon for rookies early or Benjamin struggled with the difference in how the ball gets to him (Weeden - hard, tight and quick / McCoy - slower, lets rotation and not spun) is a question we'll have to watch play out in the upcoming week.
* In talking with those closely associated with the Browns, the organization is very satisfied with the early development of rookie QB Brandon Weeden. Though the Browns expected Weeden to compete and make mistakes, the coaching staff, up to the team president is said to be extremely pleased with manner which the rookie learns from mistakes, his ability to hang in the pocket to make throws and his accuracy. After a few days of practice sessions, Weeden and the receivers have gotten on the same page regarding timing and ball placement.
* QB Colt McCoy continues to study and practice as if he is the starter. McCoy has been helpful to Weeden, being a true pro according to the rookie QB. While McCoy is not likely to be the starter, he has performed better over the past few days. Much maligned due to his average arm strength, McCoy has been able to get the ball down-field on numerous occasions, though attempts across the middle of the field remain inconsistent.
* As training camp progresses it will be very interesting to watch the developments at the QB position. With Weeden as close to a lock as there is to be the starter, the battle between McCoy, veteran Seneca Wallace and Thaddeus Lewis will be intense. The coaching staff likes Lewis as a development third QB, which could lead toward McCoy and Wallace battling it out for the backup role. If camp practice sessions are truly the barometer, McCoy is winning the battle.
* The Browns coaching staff has been impressed with starting LG Jason Pinkston. Pinkston spent the off-season working on his conditioning and technique. As one staff member tells theOBR, "Pinkston is light-years ahead of where he was when the season ended."
* When asked about the development of starting RG Shawn Lauvao, "He (Lauvao) is okay, we're watching his weight distribution."
* Rookie RT Mitchell Schwartz has had his fair share of battles early and often in training camp. DE's Jabaal Sheard and Marcus Benard, with the rookie handling himself sufficiently, while gaining valuable experience. Early in camp, Schwartz split time with veteran Oniel Cousins as camp opened, but the tide has changed, with Schwartz lining-up exclusively with the first team.
* As training camp progresses, Cousins role could be in question. The veteran lineman can play guard or RT, and has not fared too well as LT. With the emergence of OL Ryan Miller and the ever-improving Dominic Alford, Cousins could be pushed from the roster. The ultimate answer will be, how much youth and inexperience is too much, and Cousins has experience on his side.
* An interesting development in training camp may be the play and versatility of offensive lineman Ryan Miller. Miller a sixth-round selection of the Browns in the 2012 NFL draft has practiced at guard, LT and RT in camp. The Browns coaching staff has moved Miller to different positions throughout the early portion of camp to gauge his versatility, and they have been satisfied with the play of the lineman. Outside of being tough and physical, Miller possesses great size and strength, with his agility being far better than the scouting staff had viewed while in college at Colorado.
* "He's a big man (Miller) and he can move pretty damn well too. He's surprisingly agile and physical, he has the look of a player that can fit into the mix here," the staff member said.
* The Browns coaching staff likes rookie C/G Garth Gerhart. Gerhart has done reasonably well in camp, but could be a camp causality due to the talent amassed along the offensive line. If Gerhart doesn't make the 53-player roster, the Browns may be looking to get him on the practice squad.
* Rookie S Johnson Bademosi, full of athleticism and quickness continues to catch the eye of the coaching staff. With second-year S Eric Hagg gaining reps ahead of veteran Usama Young, it's Bademosi that has taken reps behind starter T.J. Ward and Hagg. At the present, Bademosi needs to continue to develop and show-up in early pre-season games to push a veteran such as Young.