On Joe Schobert
The rookie LB has taken a primary role as an OLB in training camp sessions. Like most rookies, Schobert has had his ups and downs in practice due to thinking through the process, rather than instinctively playing the game. Coming from early session notes, Schobert has work to do on sealing the edge and has displayed a tendency of getting caught inside/traffic.
A belief among Browns staffers is Schobert is likely to flash as practice sessions progress -- early indications are Schobert is better in the hitting environment
On Players Who Have Surprised So Far
WR Terrelle Pryor -
"We watched him grow, he was taking in everything like a sponge and you could see the pride and expectations he has for himself. He was given a set of things to work on between OTAs and camp and he did just that. He is not only competing, but he's been one of the best WRs in camp to this point."
Rookie OL Spencer Drango -
"The expectations we have for him are fairly high, but he is coming much quicker than we anticipated, he not only competes out there, but handles himself -- and we have moved him around a bit. He may legitimately have the skill-set to play outside-in."
CB Jamar Taylor
"We knew he was talented, but has had injury issues and some other noise. Looking at him, we felt the risk was worth the reward -- he hasn't been a player that was in trouble, maybe a bit misunderstood, but a young guy that a change of scenery could help -- that's where we are and he's been very competitive as a nickle and dime and squarely in the mix right now."
"We're expecting Danny (Shelton) to be a different player than he was a season ago and we're asking him to play differently. He has done a great job getting his weight down, he's been active in film, now it's all about being instinctive, keeping his pad level down and getting through the linemen -- he's getting there."
RG3 has continued to impress in camp. The Browns offense, while not entirely tailored to his 'specific' skill-set, the QB has been effective and efficient, displaying good deep ball accuracy and hitting the intermediate routes. An area which RG3 must improve is getting through his progressions before utilizing his legs.
While HC Hue Jackson has remained steadfast in not naming a starter to this point, we have been told that RG3 will be named the starter unless the wheels fall off the wagon
Gilbert has had an up and down camp to date. Gilbert was reasonably solid the first two sessions and has had some issue the past two sessions. Gilbert must improve his press coverage, he's been abused on numerous occasions when missing the jam and being out of position (whether coming off the ball or when getting caught looking into the backfield)
TE Gary Barnidge, coming off sports hernia surgery made his initial training camp practice session on Tuesday. Barnidge, the Browns legitimate veteran presence at the position looked good in passing drills and his activity level will increase in stages following the Browns off-day on Wednesday.
TE Connor Hamlett has been a pleasant surprise to the casual observer, but according to Browns brass, Hamlett demonstrated effectiveness, quickness, understanding of responsibility and the ability to create sufficient separation. Following a couple nondescript practice sessions, Hamlett has stood-out in the three sessions on the outdoor fields in Berea.
Hamlett's blocking in drills have been adequate-plus and has displayed the ability to get up the field in the passing game.
Rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman and relative rookie as a wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor continue to stand-out in practice sessions, with Coleman displaying excellent receiving skills and ability to separate and haul-in nearly everything thrown his way.
Pryor has dropped a few passes in practice sessions, but continues to grow as a receiver, displaying a large catch-radius and uncanny ability to jump/out-fight defenders.
DE/OLB Emmanuel Ogbah was showing signs of 'getting it' in OTA sessions as an OLB and the climate has changed for the rookie.
While the Browns staff contends Ogbah may still see time/reps as an OLB, the focus has been geared toward Ogbah the defensive end since the season-ending injury suffered by Desmond Bryant.
In true contact drills/no holds barred drills - Ogbah has looked better than he has in regular camp drills. Utilizing his strength, speed and aggression, Ogbah is going to be a work in progress, but has flashed upside in limited drills to date.
Prior to suffering what has been termed a very minor arm injury, Erving has held his and plus some in early training camp sessions. A season ago Erving was easily beaten off the snap and 'run-over', what a difference and off-season, coaching and a significant off-season in the weight-room has done for the second-year lineman.
The Browns staff, and namely HC Hue Jackson and OL coach Hal Hunter have been pleased with Erving's work, his preparation and continued development.
"Cam is a different guy than he was when we got here. He is engaging, works his ass off and has the desire to get better. People forget, he did not play much center, was drafted as a talented young guy that would be developed -- he has often mentioned, everything around here (Browns) is different now."
In the earliest of camp sessions, the safeties were a fairly nondescript group, as the offense was getting the better of the sessions. On Monday and Tuesday, Moore had become increasingly vocal and flashing in practice sessions -- intercepting one pass and breaking up another, while displaying better coverage skills when compared to Saturday/Sunday sessions
"Josh (McCown) is the consummate professional, he works hard, knows hpw to play the game, understands the offense and is a great teammate in the QB room. If not for the efforts or Josh, Robert (Griffin III) wouldn't likely be where he is today on the practice field. We didn't know how he (Josh) would welcome the position he was in (bringing RG3 and rookie Cody Kessler), but he has been tremendous -- more for those other guys in the room than anything else."
3/5 of the offensive line has been replaced and while the coaching staff believes the line displays promise and potential, the proof will be in the pudding.
In early camp sessions, center Cam Erving, RG Austin Pasztor (in for John Greco) and Alvin Bailey have performed adequately -- but the defensive competition is also in the learning process. The true tale for the offensive line will likely come in the days leading up to the first couple preseason battles, with the scrimmage with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers potentially big.
Plenty has been noted about the offense making plays and beating up on the defense at times and this wasn't unexpected heading into training camp. Hue Jackson needed to get the QB spot incorporated in a quick way on the practice field, which includes gaining as much experience/reps as possible for Griffin III, Coleman, Pryor, RBs and the OL.
The offense, predicated on movement and getting the ball out quickly should have the upper-hand against the defense, which is predicated on pressure, blitzes and physicality -- while in sessions there has been 'anything goes' periods, this is far from a game condition where the QB and skill position players can be hit -- or laid into at full speed, recklessly.
In drills which are basically touch drills, the defense is gaining ground
The Browns staff has been pleased with the work OT Shon Coleman is putting in and the staff is being cautious in these early sessions in not rushing the rookie into too much activity. Coleman has primarily worked at the RT position, as the staff sees this as an opportunity for him to be readied and potentially see the field quicker, though there is more to the story.
While Coleman has spent considerable time picking the brain and learning technique from All-Pro LT Joe Thomas, the Browns presently believe in getting Coleman accumulated to the RT spot at the present, if the need arose, present #1 at RT, Alvin Bailey could slide to LT, with Coleman potentially playing RT.
Outside of rookie Corey Coleman, WR Marlon Moore may have performed as well if not better than any receiver in camp during the Browns first two practice sessions. Moore has been consistent in practice sessions, but has not taken his game to the next level in subsequent sessions as Terrelle Pryor and rookie Rashad Higgins have impressed.
Is between CB Jamar Taylor and K'Waun Williams -- in the nickel and dime packages, both have performed well and have fed off one another. Looking for DBs that can run and hit, Taylor and Williams have been receiving praise from DC Ray Horton and DBs Coach Louie Cioffi during sessions the past couple days.
In speaking with a member of the Brown staff, there is no desire by the organization to trade QB Josh McCown at this point in time