News, Notes, Tibits and a Rumor or Two

Through a couple weeks of training camp and a preseason game to boot......these don't look like your Cleveland Browns.


TheOBR has learned OG Shawn Lauvao suffered a high ankle sprain, as we previously reported as well as minor ligament and cartilage damage.

The injury issue, including surgery could put Lauvao on the sideline up to eight weeks.


Despite a shoulder injury which sidelined him for a period of time in training camp, theOBR has learned that Tashuan Gipson is expected to be the starting free safety next to T.J. Ward.


The Browns came away satisfied with Pinkston's performance, not only in rhe preseason opener, but in camp sessions of late.

Pinkston is working toward getting the mental aspects, the reactionary facets back in check after missing a good portion of the 2012 season due to a blood clot.

The young veteran is getting his game bearings back and should continue to build upon his camp sessions of late and preseason game play.


TE Jordan Cameron can look like the second coming on one play, only to look like a lost child in the wilderness the next.

There is little doubt Cameron has the physical tools to compete and be successful at the professional level.

But, in watching Cameron I see a young player that requires a strong hand to gain consistency -- to bring that talent out.

Far too often, Cameron cuts routes off short or doesn't sell the route.

And as for blocking..............major work.

Browns defense vs Rams

TheOBR has learned the Browns utilized less than 25% of their defense against the Rams.

DC Ray Horton called the same defense - play sets often to evaluate the rotation of players and gain a realistic opinion of how each performed under pressure.

Horton, theOBR has been told was not too satisfied with the play of numerous players in the defensive backfield and inside linebacker.

TheOBR will attempt to gain specifics in the coming days.


As well as Weeden looked in the Browns preseason opener you'd never guess he has had his fair share of ups and downs in training camp.

As a followup to his Thursday performance, Weeden through numerous interceptions over the weekend in camp practice sessions, though he looked composed and unrattled.

The issue with Weeden comes down to making quick, decisive reads. Far too many times, Weeden will wait a tick too long or look at another option before coming back to a read -- which by then is too late and a big play opportunity is missed.

This is an aspect which OC Norv Turner talks through with Weeden at every opportunity.

Evaluation Quote - From AFC Suit and OBR Friend

As told to theOBR stemming from Browns preseason opener -

"A big difference that can be seen just from a quarter or so of watching the Browns is in attitude, confidence and coaching. The experience of Norv Turner (OC) is evident and (Brandon) Weeden was making decisive reads and throws."

"You get a sense in watching what they (Browns) are attempting to accomplish, they are going to be a tough team in 2013 and definitely on the way up. Horton's (DC) will get after an offense, just like the Ravens and Steelers, the division will be tighter from top to bottom than it has been in years."


Plenty of camp talk has surrounded the acquisition and professionalism of Davone Bess, the diligence of Greg Little and the trials of Josh Gordon.

The forgotten man and one which may be having the best camp of all in Cleveland could be WR Travis Benjamin.

Benjamin has been stellar as a receiver and on special teams. On numerous occasions in camp sessions, Benjamin has been uncover-able, which includes being covered by CB Joe Haden.

Possessing tremendous speed and quickness, Benjamin worked diligently this off-season to improve his strength and route running. Benjamin is getting in and out of routes significantly better and consistently, when compared to his rookie season in 2012.


S Johnson Bademosi may be athletic, long, lean and quick, but his inability or slow reaction time in picking up receivers will prove to be costly to the second year DB.

Bademosi was consistently late in converge against the Rams, which is a tendency he has shown in camp sessions.

Gaining experience and developing in the scheme is a must for the DB, as he is not quite ready to take the reigns next to starter T.J. Ward.


WR Naaman Roosevelt has come on strong over the past week to 10 days of camp.

Roosevelt, primarily a special teams member while playing for the Buffalo Bills has had success as a receiver in the league, when the opportunity presented itself.

With injuries to David Nelson and Jordan Norwood, Roosevelt continues to gain reps and make plays.

Roosevelt is much quicker and smoother than advertised and makes all the catches -- along with some sensational grabs. He gets in and out of routes efficiently and uses his body well to put space between the ball and defender.

The three year veteran has beaten every CB in camp on one occasion or another.

Once considered a long-shot to make the team, Roosevelt is squarely in the mix.


Rookie WR Cordell Roberson is having a solid training camp, which hasn't caught the Browns by surprise.

Roberson has excellent size and quickness, with his ability to beat DB's outside the hash marks being something of a consistent trait.

The rookie has caught the ball well in camp, but needs to improve his route running, especially routes which he has to cut without rounding the route and losing momentum.

The competition for the later roles on the depth chart has been intense and Roberson's camp and preseason game success could factor into the equation.


OT Ryan Miller continues to be among the missing due to a concussion suffered in practice.

Miller a second year offensive lineman does not have a history of concussion or head/neck issue and the manner which he went down (in one on one drills) raised additional concerns as to his future health.

Miller is under the league concussion policy and must be medically cleared before he can return to action, which does not appear to be any time soon.

The possibility grows that Miller could be placed on IR.


CB Trevin Wade displayed some promise, while gaining experience a season ago as a rookie for the Browns.

In camp sessions, Wade has not taken the next step in his development. The second year CB continues to get caught looking into the backfield, continues to have issues getting beat over the top and has not shown consistency in knocking a receiver off his route.

With a new coaching staff in place, a player such as Wade must display a skill-set adequate to fill a depth role for the team.

Presently, due to injuries at CB, Wade will gain reps and could show, but his performance to date has been sporadic.


FB Owen Marecic's time with the Browns could be ticking down.

Marecic has done well as a receiver coming out of the backfield, but has been average as a blocker and isn't a special teams demon.

With Chris Ogbonnaya continuing to take starter reps at FB and has displayed the ability to be an effective RB and special teams player, Marecic must begin to show superior skills and productivity in camp sessions to remain on the roster.


RB Montario Hardesty has struggled with a hamstring injury which has robbed him of significant practice time and opportunities.

Hardesty has returned to the practice fields, in a limited capacity which does not include team drills.

With RB Dion Lewis slated to fill the valuable third down back / receiving role and the emergence of RB Brandon Jackson over the past week-to-ten days, Hardesty as theOBR has noted on numerous occasions during camp is in a precarious position.

Unless he can get on the practice field, get and remain healthy and compete, Hardesty could be a camp casualty or trade prospect.


OL Chris Faulk (knee) continues to work with trainers on conditioning and strengthening of his knee.

A high-regarded prospect prior to a serious knee injury, the Browns are taking their time with the young lineman in hopes he can make a complete comeback and compete later in 2013, with 2014 looking more like a realistic time frame.


LB Justin Staples is getting noticed by the staff since being moved inside,

Staples is athletic, aggressive and plays through every play. At times the rookie can get caught in traffic and walk into blocks, but his determination and consistent improvement make him an interesting prospect.

Due to the Browns questionable talent and depth inside, Staples has an opportunity to earn a roster spot with continued development and solid practice/play time.


LB Justin Cole has performed reasonably well in camp sessions, displaying solid quickness and athleticism.

Cole has been average against the run due to having some issues getting off blocks. The LB can be engulfed by linemen when he doesn't beat them with his first step.

With questionable talent and depth inside, the Browns have looked at Cole and Justin Staples due to their athleticism.

A four year veteran, Cole is fighting for a roster spot.


WR David Nelson continues to work outside of team drills. Nelson has been working with trainers to further strengthen his surgically repaired knee (ACL surgery).

Nelson experienced discomfort and minimal swelling in the knee in drills early in camp and has been sidelined since.

The Browns are hopeful Nelson could be back on the practice field, in a limited capacity within a week.


ILB L.J. Fort continues to be workmanlike, yet unspectacular in camp sessions and into the first preseason game.

Fort's game isn't based on quickness, but rather a player which is a cerebral, a sure tackler and takes good angles.

In camp, Fort has been consistent, against the Rams in the preseason opener, Fort uncharacteristically missed tackles, was caught out of position and didn't play particularly well.


ILB Tank Carder showed in the preseason opener what is game is about -- the LB plays well in the box, is physical and reacts at an above average level.

Where Carder struggles is when he has to demonstrate the speed, quickness and agility to make the ordinary play. Carder lateral movement is average at best and he struggles from the hashes out.


Veteran OT Rashad Butler has been healthy in training camp and is showing the ability to provide depth and experience to the offensive line.

Butler has been average in camp sessions, which can be viewed as a win for the Browns and the lineman due to the pressure being put on the linemen and especially the tackles due to the scheme of DC Ray Horton.

Butler to this point is showing to be an upgrade over injured OT Oniel Cousins, but his injury history is one which will keep the staff hopeful he can remain healthy.


The Browns continue to be impressed with the development and work ethic of rookie offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey.

When the Browns were considering Gilkey late in the draft, their concern was whether the young lineman could play as physically and nasty as he did at Chadron State -- against lower level competition.

The Browns liked Gilkey's make-up, both physically and mentally. There were concerns and still are reservations about his lateral movement, but his footwork is quick and efficient and Gilkey works -- he plays through the play and isn't afraid to hit.

Against the Rams, Gilkey looked the part of a viable offensive lineman. The rookie is getting some reps against the first team defense and will continue to do so as the Browns ready for the 2013 season.

Due to the ankle injury suffered by OG Shawn Lauvao, Gilkey has been thrust into a prominent role and the rookie has been solid to this point in time.


NT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste has had a nondescript training camp with the Browns, which isn't good due to the depth and competition along the defensive line.

Jean-Baptisle has shown little burst in camp sessions and doesn't hold well at the point of attack.

Against the Rams in limited action, Jean-Baptistle was a non-factor - his burst and point strength were pedestrian.


DT Ish Kitchen has been a force in training camp practice sessions and continues to thrive since coming to Cleveland during the 2012 season.

Kitchen displays the ability to penetrate as well as being stout at the point of attack against the run.

Against the Rams, Kitchen demonstrated his versatility and determination in playing early and often in the Browns preseason opener.

Due to his size, strength and physical ability, the Rams were unable to stonewall the defensive lineman and often Kitchen was driving lineman back on their heels.


DE Ahtyba Rubin has been workmanlike throughout training camp as he adjusts to the switch from DT/NT under previous coaching staffs.

Rubin displays adequate speed and quickness at DE, and is generally a run stopping - maintain line integrity type lineman which is a necessity in this 3-4 defensive scheme.

The Browns need to improve against the run and Rubin will be a consistent presence in this facet.

As the Browns work former DE Jabaal Sheard and rookie Bark Mingo at OLB, Rubin's consistency will be a benefactor in the scheme and player development playing behind/next to him.


Defensive lineman Brian Sanford flashes in camp sessions and in game conditions due to his ability to penetrate the gap, but is mediocre against the run, which was evident in the preseason opener.

Sanford's quickness and his lack of patience hurts his overall play/productivity due to being out of position.


DT Phil Taylor has been a beast in camp settings and he displayed his explosive ability in the preseason opener.

Despite playing a handful of plays, Taylor was a presence along the defensive line and his physical play resulted in a turnover.

Taylor had worked diligently in the off-season to come into camp in the best shape he has been since coming to Cleveland.


DE Billy Winn is quickly becoming a favorite of the staff due to his hard, physical play and productivity.

Winn continues to demonstrate excellent quickness at the point, but his continuing development of his upper body has enabled the second year defensive lineman to become a well rounded player.

Winn uses his hands well and is learning how to leverage blockers, which has helped his ability to disengage offensive linemen.

Through training camp to this point, Winn has arguably been as good if not better than starter Ahtyba Rubin, but Winn must display his skill-set on a consistent basis and continue to work on his run stuffing/recognition ability.


DE Hall Davis continues to impress in camp sessions and was solid in the Browns preseason opener.

Davis has displayed speed, quickness and athleticism at the DE position and is learning pass rush techniques.

Where Davis does struggle a bit is against the run, where his inexperience and desire at times gets him out of position and he can be bodied off the spot.

These facets as well as Davis' ability to learn/develop the necessity to shed/disengage blockers will be of vast importance to his continued development.

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