7/31: Detailed Practice Report

Swerb runs down what happened in Saturday's practice...

Originally posted in Ask the Insiders, 7/31 7:00PM

8:00 AM - Driving into Berea. Drive past about 40 cops on my way in. I'm wondering what the hell is going on in my pre caffeinated state.

8:30 AM - Receive a full cavity search (I'm almost not kidding there) upon arriving at the complex and knew something was amiss. I look yonder, and see the leader of the free world about 40 yards in front of me encircled by Browns players and coaches. A very pleasant surprise to start the morning, regardless of your political persuasion.

8:50 AM - Practice started a little late because of the Bush visit. I assessed the situation and decided to go focus in on the LB's first, who were working as a group with their position coaches. Was pleased to see many of my friends from this website over there as well. Things that caught my attention were...

  • The overall size and speed of this unit. These guys fly around the field. Very strong and athletic. Chaun Thompson is a specimen.
  • LB coach George Edwards told a staffer to "put the dummies away, we're not using them". Instead, LBs worked on straight fundamentals for 20 min. Wrapping and breaking down on tackles, positioning, footwork, and technique.
  • Moretti and Gardner are noticeably a step slower than most of the others in the unit. I don't see either making this team. Buhl is very fast, but has shaky technique and is undersized. While he has upside and potential, I saw why the NCAA Div I tackle leader went undrafted.

9:20 AM - Team went to 7 on 7s. I quickly noticed Pete Garcia as a eager onlooker. He watched most of practice today very attentively. Here's what hit me...

  • Faine has covered his whole left arm in tattoos. Im not a tattoo guy, but it looked real nice.
  • Garcia is a leader. Very assertive, he is in charge out there. He's in great shape.
  • Terrelle Smith brings it. Made some thunderous hits. He is a one dimensional player though. Strictly a lead blocker, nothing else.
  • Gerard Warren is in the best shape I've ever seen him in....though he has not set a high standard in previous years.
  • Lee Suggs looked quick. They threw to him out of the backfield ALL DAY. I mean 10-12 times.
  • Ryan Tucker is sporting a full beard and 80's style mullet.
  • Oakley (OL) struggled. He was giving away hints when he was pulling vs plowing, and Cedric Scott ate him up. Scott was active all day.
  • James Jackson tweaked a hammy yesterday, and shut it down about 15 min in. Nick Maddox got a lot of reps and looked good. He is Jamel White, but for a million less than we would have had to pay Jamel.

10:00 AM - Went over and hunkered in right by where the WR's and CB's were doing a short passing game drill. Observations...

  • Roosevelt Williams is a physical corner that is starting to excite me (not in that way). He likes to mix it up. He looked solid.
  • Andre Davis (WR) is poised for a breakout season. He looks great. There was no question to me that he was the best WR on the field today.
  • CJ Jones dropped a couple balls. I heard another reportet mention he had some drops yesterday too.
  • Campo is a maniac. Little Italian guy gets fired up. Constantly harping on tackling, positioning. Relentless. I like Campo alot. I feel he is a top 10 DC.

10:20 AM - Team went to full 11 on 11 drills to end the 1st session. Team was also in full pads in the AM session. Some notes I jotted....

  • Mason Unck made a nice INT of a McCown pass. McCown got a lot of reps today because Holcomb The Messiah was shut down after about 10 min and 3-4 weak throws.
  • Butch said later in his post practice press conference that "they just wanted to play it safe with Kelly" and there was nothing wrong with him. He clearly lacks zip. McCown was below average all day....not unexpected though for a rook. McCown is rail thin. I mean real thin.
  • Garcia looked good, sharp. Accurate when on the run, I like that.
  • A lot of Willie and Suggs together today. They split Suggs out wide on several occasions.
  • Chaun Thompson made an incredibly athletic play to have Quincy dead in his tracks for about a 10 yard loss on a reverse...then took bad positioning and slipped. Butch mentioned Chaun needs to break down better in the post game press conf.
  • Campo almost burst a blood vessel in his forehead when the D jumped offsides 3 plays in a row.
  • Other players that caught my eye with multiple impressive plays were Sherrod Coates, Cedric Scott, and Alvin McKinley.

10:45 AM - 1st session ends. Had a chance to speak with about ten different Browns in the newly pimped out locker room. Faine, Mustard, Chaun Thompson, D.Sanders, Quincy, Dawson, Heinrich, and others. Sound clips should post tomorrow.

11:30 AM - Jeff Garcia held a press conference. Mentioned he has met Bush before, Bush remembered him. Was questioned twice in a row anout his arm strength, and he responded firmly to the contrary. Mentioned he loves the TEs here even without Winslow. Sound clips from this will post soon as well.

12:00 PM - 3:00 PM Attended the great tailgate at Wallace Lake. YBD cooked so much food it was absolutely ridiculous. Had a great time bull shitting with the great people from this site, eating, tossing the football, and talking Browns. Weather was beautiful after some morning showers.

3:15 PM - Second session begins. I went to check out the special teams drills. They were working on footwork and technique on blocking for and running down punts. There are many players on this team that need to excel in this area to win a roster spot. Unck, Gardner, and Jameson all impressed. Jameson and Gardner were reliable Special Team players last year.

3:25 PM - Stretching drills.

3:35 PM - Went over and watched agility drills for the DL , LBs, and DBs (separate). Thoughts...

  • Lehan had trouble hanging on to the ball today. Dropped probably 3 INTs and 2 loose fumbles in the one agility drill.
  • Corey Jackson has quick feet. This kid is FOR REAL. Filthy athletic. Tall, yet quick.
  • Buhl's technique was again spotty. Kentrell Curry just looks like a player. He needs to add a little size. He's raw. Looks promising though.
  • Andra Davis is poised for a MONSTER year. He looked awesome in all facets today. In one funny moment though, he wiped out hard trying to navigate his way through some pads he was stepping through in an agility drill. He ate it hard, drew laughs. Gardner ate it even harder a second later.
  • Henry made an amazing INT in the back of the end zone in the last drill here with the DBs.
  • Amon Gordon had a period of struggles where he crossed a couple of assignments, causing DL coach Patterson to admonish him..
  • If Warrick Holdman stays healthy, he looked very much today like the Pro Bowl caliber player he was in '01. He's active. He's smart. And he is a fundamentally sound player.

4:00 PM - One on One OL vs DL drills. These are my favorite. Observations....

  • Verba looked really good. And made Ekuban look very bad on a couple of occasions.
  • Garmon did not impress me whatsoever. Much shorter than I thought, very slow of foot. Would not surprise me at all of Beasley and Zuk/DeMar are our starting OGs vs Baltimore. Big Money abused Garmon a couple times. OL coach Zerlein was constantly working with Garmon.
  • Klabo struggled massively today. (Editor's note: Klabo has been injured since the NFL Europe season and is just getting back on the field)
  • Faine had some epic battles with Roye, then Warren. Faine won most of the battles. I love this kid.
  • Corey Jackson is an impressive athlete. Quick off the edge.
  • Jamal Reynolds looked more like a 1st round pick than a 1st round bust. Had his way with the 3rd team OTs.
  • Mark Word also looked good. Abused DeMar when he was put in at LT.
  • Alvin McKinley and Cedric Scott were active forces all day.

4:35 PM - The team practiced kick returns for 12 minutes. The six players they had taking back kicks were LaTerance Dunbar, Lee Suggs, CJ Jones, Nick Maddox, Andre King, and Jason Geathers.

4:45 PM - To finish practice, the team ran 11 on 11's for about 35 minutes. A lot of things I saw here reinforced opinions I had developed during this exciting and muggy day. This is what I noticed:

  • Garcia continues to work the short pass game with great efficiency. Alot ot balls to the TE's (two in a row to Mustard), alot of balls to Suggs, alot of balls to ANdre Davis.
  • On a safety blitz, Earl Little made a great play where he tipped the ball. Steve Heiden made an even better play coming down with the tipped ball.
  • Nate Hybl does not look good at this point in training camp.
  • I'm really glad Andra Davis is our MLB.
  • I would bet $500 straight up right now that Corey Jackson makes this team. Consistent disruption from Corey.
  • I can't believe how many times they've thrown to Suggs out of the backfield.
  • Michael Myers, who was quiet most of the day, made some plays here in the 11 on 11's.
  • Luke McCown (to constant chants of "Luke") scored on a 20 yd run after things broke down on one play. It was nice vision/decision making.
  • Chaun Thompson has freaky talent, making another couple of nice athletic plays. I worry about his football IQ though. One bonehead maneuver negates 3 solid plays.
  • Nick Maddox continues to make good use of the reps he's been given today. He's a shifty back. You can tell he's worked hard this off-season.

5:30 PM - Butch Davis has a press conference after practice. He talked about Bush for about 10 min. You could tell it meant a lot to him and that he genuinely likes the President. He said Bush asked him several specific questions about the team this year. Bush knew Phil Dawson (thanked him for making a FG that won UT some game Bush remembered), Garcia, Tucker, and a couple others. Butch said it threw things off a little to start the morning, but it was well worth it.

Davis poo-pooed concerns about Garcia's long ball throwing ability. Mentioned Chaun Thompson's lacking technique. Briefed us on Holcomb and James Jackson sitting out practice.

Butch was very happy with the practices, and frankly, so was I. It was clear this was a team that has worked hard this off-season. It was clear this team has more depth than any other version Post Betrayal.

Sound bites of this press conference will also post later.

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