"What We've Been Told"

Numerous notes on player development and injuries, along with thoughts on a handful of roster battles.

"What We've Been Told"…………………….

On the injury front…………….

… there has been plenty of speculation as to the status of rookie WR Travis Benjamin. Benjamin played well in the Browns preseason opening win over the Detroit Lions, but has been MIA since. The Browns offer up nothing other than he is ‘sore' from the game, Benjamin has not been on the practice field. While nobody near or within the organization will comment directly on Benjamin's status, we are have been hearing the rookie did receive treatment on a shoulder and leg in the days following the game.

… second-year TE Jordan Cameron has performed very well in training camp and it translated to the playing field last Friday night in Detroit. Cameron has caught the ball very well and his blocking is on the rise, though he has plenty of work to do in this area. Cameron left the playing field Friday night with a back issue, which we are hearing is deep contusion in the tail-bone region. The TE isn't expected to miss much time, but it's unlikely he will play Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.

… WR Mohamed Massaquoi has returned to the practice field after his concussion or non-concussion, dependent on whether you ask the team or the player. Massaquoi passed all the required tests before he could begin to practice with the team.

… rookie RB Trent Richardson is rehabbing following minor knee surgery last week. Richardson has been doing strength and conditioning exercises to strength the areas around the knee. Richardson is expected to be ready for the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

… veteran Frostee Rucker is battling knee soreness, which has kept him out of practice and the preseason opener. We have been told if this were the regular season, Rucker would be on the field.

… DT Scott Paxson is expected to miss four weeks with a sprained knee.

… CB Dimitri Patterson is expected to miss two weeks with an ankle issue.

… MLB D"Qwell Jackson has been held out of practice sessions due to a shoulder issue. TheOBR has learned Jackson's shoulder is not sprained and the veteran could be on the practice field next week.

Onto to player notes……………

… all remains quiet on the Joe Haden front. ESPNCleveland.com reported Haden had allegedly failed a drug test and would be suspended for four games by the league. At the time of this writing, nothing has been handed down by the league office.

… the coaching staff came away from the Browns win over the Lions impressed with the performances of CB Trevin Wade, DT John Hughes and LB Craig Robertson.

A month ago if someone stated Wade and Robertson would be positioning themselves for roster spots, most would have looked puzzled. Since the rookie camp process and into training camp, Wade and Robertson have impressed.

Wade has shown to be very fluid, he uses his hands well and demonstrates the ability to close on a receiver.

Robertson has been like a sponge in sessions. The rookie flows to the ball well, is showing the ability to shed/fight blocks and make tackles. Robertson's quickness and agility have been a constant showing in camp.

… the coaching staff was not too happy with the work of WR's Greg Little and Josh Gordon. The case in point with both players is, both young receivers ran poor routes ( rounded routes, did not hard sell before cut and slow coming out of cuts) and appeared lackadaisical in the preseason opener.

… DE Brian Sanford may get caught in a numbers game when the Browns cut the roster to the 53-player limit, but the young defensive lineman has grown significantly since coming to the Browns. Sanford has improved his game against the run and has developed a couple nice moves when getting after the QB.

… if the game was based solely on penetrating, DE Emmanuel Stephens would be locked in as the starting LDE. While Stephens penetrated the line of scrimmage on numerous occasions last Friday in Detroit, he forgot that the DE also has to play the run. When Stephens did read run, he whiffed badly on a couple tackles.

… second-year DE Jabaal Sheard should take comfort in wanting to improve upon his rookie season. Sacks are a beautiful part of the game, but playing the run is a critical component in becoming a complete defensive end. Sheard's inconsistency against the run is a facet of his game to watch.

… Detroit rushed for 190-plus yards against the Browns and did so in nearly every imaginable manner. There was power rushing off-guard, there were off-tackle dashes and cutbacks. With the DE's playing mediocre run defense, the DT's either inexperienced or limited on the talent scale (except for Hughes, who played very well) and LB's unable to fill gaps due to the lack of integrity up-front, the Browns rushing defense remains a very questionable unit.

… with the defensive line struggling against the run, the LB's as a group can be hard pressed to make plays according to the flow of the defense. Though this being the case, there were ample opportunities for MLB Ben Jacobs (replacing the injured D'Qwell Jackson) to make plays. Jacobs was late in reacting, which this hesitation or total misread of the play only compounded the issue.

… look for rookie LB L.J. Fort to gain reps earlier in the game against the Packers on Thursday night. Fort has displayed the ability to shed blocks and hit the gap in practice sessions and has a nose for the ball.

OLB's Scott Fujita, Kaluka Maivia and James-Michael Johnson played at an adequate level, for the first preseason game.

… much isn't noted about the play of the FB's on the roster in camp, but rookie Brad Smelley appears to have become an equal to second-year FB Owen Marecic. Marecic came to the Browns a season ago with the reputation of being a solid blocker and potential target out of the backfield. Smelley selected by the Browns in the 7th round of the 2012 draft has been everything Marecic hasn't been to this point in his career. Let's not forget though, Marecic was sidelined with a couple concussions issues a season ago and missed valuable time.

… second-year CB Buster Skrine came to camp this summer in position to pressure veteran CB Sheldon Brown. While Brown has had a solid camp, it's Skrine that has been somewhat exposed. The CB is as fast and quick as any player on the Browns roster, but he far too often permits a receiver to beat him, causing Skrine to grab at the jersey of the opposing receivers. This has happened in camp practice sessions, as well as Friday night in Detroit.

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