"What We've Been Told"

Numerous notes and thoughts on the Browns in training camp, as well as thought on a handful of roster battles.

From "What We've Been Told"…………………….

…all the discussion coming from the organization regarding rookie QB Brandon Weeden is not hype or a PR move. Weeden is progressing well in camp, very well according to those in and around the team. Head coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress are anxious to get him into pre-season game action.

…the left knee soreness experienced by rookie RB Trent Richardson is not expected to be significant. Richardson has been extremely active in camp and has felt a little soreness the past couple of sessions, which the organization wants to error on the side of caution.

…rookie offensive RT Mitchell Schwartz has gained the starting position, at this time. Schwartz has come into his own over the past week and appears very comfortable and confident. While the coaching staff hasn't named him the starter, he is closing in on the official role.

…veteran special teams specialist and WR Josh Cribbs has saw his role with the offense diminished significantly. With each passing week, Cribbs' activity on the offensive side of the ball has been cut, as the youth (Gordon, Benjamin, Cooper and Safford) are gaining an increasing number of reps. In the best shape he has even been, Cribbs again appears headed to being a special teams demon for a Browns special teams unit lacking consistency a season ago…..and we'll add, Cribbs isn't too happy being moved away from the WR role he played a season ago, but is a team player and do whatever it takes to win.

…interestingly, while the Browns have limited Cribbs' role at WR, they are in position to carry one less WR and utilize Cribbs, if necessary. It's unlikely the Browns will keep one less WR due to the talent they believe is developing at the position.

…look for the Browns to run numerous three-WR sets when the season begins. Veteran Mohamed Massaquoi, Greg Little and rookie Josh Gordon have had outstanding camp sessions and each has a developing on-field relationship with Weeden.

…the Browns coaching staff has a promising but difficult time due to the improving depth at the WR position. Rookie Travis Benjamin has a roster position locked-up, while Josh Cooper, Jordan Norwood, Jermaine Saffold, Owen Spencer, Bert Reed and Rod Windsor look to shine and gain a roster spot.

…the once promising future of WR Carlton Mitchell is now at the make or break stage in Cleveland. With the developing talent on the roster in camp, Mitchell has had trouble getting on the practice field. Mitchell must display the ability to remain healthy and make plays through the pre-season games and camp practice sessions, or his likelihood of making the 53-player roster is remote.

….rookie DT John Hughes has been shining in the absence of starter Phil Taylor. Hughes has done a solid job, especially in recent days in handling the overall responsibilities the DT position entails.

…defensive coordinator Dick Jauron is one happy camper in camp due to the acquisitions of DE's Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker and the return of safety T.J. Ward. The DC is said to have been less than satisfied with the play coming from the DE spot opposite DE Jabaal Sheard a season ago and loves the presence Ward provides in run support.

…a season ago it was Jauron that told head coach Pat Shurmur safety Eric Hagg can become a player at this level. In his second training camp, Hagg is starting opposite Ward, while veteran Usama Young has been relegated to backing up Ward.

…have no fear, veteran Sheldon Brown is still your starter at CB opposite Joe Haden and hasn't been overtaken by second-year CB Buster Skrine or Dimitri Patterson. The Browns like Patterson as the nickel CB, while they like Skrine's skill-set and speed, but does not position himself to utilize his speed and quickness. Skrine has displayed the tendency to let receivers cross his face or beat him, them often will grab.

…rookie OLB James-Michael Johnson is making a strong push to start opposite Kaluka Maivia, while veteran Scott Fujita serves his three-game league imposed suspension. The next few weeks could determine whether Johnson becomes more than a stop-gap starter at the start of the season. Johnson has distinguished himself thus far.

…OLB Craig Robertson has been a pleasant surprise to the coaching staff. Robertson, an athletic sort has been consistent throughout the spring and early summer sessions. Robertson's attention to detail and taking to coaching has elevated him to be a contender to make the team.


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