With William Green yet to sign a contract, James Jackson is benefiting from taking all of the snaps at running back. Jackson will be the only running back in camp until Green signs or until the rest of the veterans report Friday afternoon.
In just a few short drills, Jackson showed that he has fully recovered from the left ankle injury that forced him to miss five games during his rookie season. He was agile and energetic, carrying the ball over and over without a break during a spirited 9-on-9 drill.
The Browns had 35 players in uniform, including a handful of selected veterans, most of whom finished last season with injuries. Among the veterans participating Tuesday were Jackson, Earl Holmes, Lewis Sanders, Tyrone Rogers, Rickey Dudley, Mark Campbell, Arnold Miller, Paul Zukauskas, Marcus Spriggs, Chris Sanders and Michael Jameson. The quarterbacks were Josh Booty and Kevin Thompson. Tim Couch, who has attended with the rookies in previous years, was not on the field.
Shaun O'Hara was not in uniform, but the third-year linemen practiced long snaps off to the side with free-agent punter-kicker Jay Taylor. Lamar Chapman watched from the sidelines with a brace on his left knee.
The highlight of the afternoon was provided by middle linebacker Andra Davis, who shed a block and quickly found his way through traffic to stop Jackson on a run between right tackle Joaquin Gonzalez and right guard Qasim Mitchell.
Andra Davis' play drew raves from Butch Davis, who jumped into the middle of the pile to high-five the rookie linebacker.
Butch Davis showed Earl Holmes that he is counting onthe veteran free agent to be a key in run defense, yelling "cause a wreck Earl, cause a wreck" as the linebackers maneuvered around cones during one drill. It's hard to get a feel for a player from watching half of just one practice, but Kevin Bentley looked exceptionally quick during individual work.
On the negative side, rookie free agent guard Qasim Mitchell false started twice during 9-on-9 drills. Tight end Alvin Morrow also jumped early.