Overcast skies hovered over the Cleveland Browns this morning as the team's rookies and tryout players took to the the practice fields in Berea for their second team practice. Following this weekend's practices, the team will retreat from public view until mini-camps in June.
With Friday's media crush mercifully ended, less than a quarter of the number of cameras dotted the sidelines as Romeo Crennel's staff started throwing some more complex tasks at their rookies and walk-on players.
"We added some more stuff... and it looked like we added more stuff because we couldn't get lined up, and didn't throw as well as we threw yesterday," head coach Romeo Crennel told the much-smaller media contingent after practice.
"We added more, and we threw it at (the rookies). I told them that they had to keep up or they're going to get left behind... overall it didn't look as good today as it did yesterday, but that's part of football."
While coaches shouted at players struggling to keep up with the mental demands tossed at them, a few youngsters managed to stand out.
Quarterback Brady Quinn had a mixed day, looking better at times, but clearly not having the fortune of working with experienced receivers. Second-year player Kendrick Mosely was participating in camp, and quickly became a favorite target of Quinn's during the light scrimmage.
"When you have a guy not lining up where he's supposed to line up, and not running the route he's supposed to run, then your quarterback doesn't look as good as when he's throwing against air", Crennel said after practice.
"The receiver who has some experience is 18 (Kendrick Mosely)... It didn't take long for (Quinn) to figure that out either. "
While Mosely was a frequent target, he didn't escape criticism, either, as he found himself criticized for giving up on a route when matched up against impressive young cornerback Eric Wright.
Of all the rookies other than Quinn, Wright seemed to stand out to most observers quickly.
"He looks very athletic", Crennel said of the second-round pick. "I think he's got nice smooth feet, does a good job of jamming receivers, and he does have a confidence in his ability and what he can do".
"He looked pretty decent", Crennel concluded, in a comment which borders on wild-eyed enthusiasm for the understated head coach.
In addition to the light scrimmaging, the rookies spent about ten minutes practicing punt coverage and returns. With Dennis Northcutt leaving through free agency, a number of new players had a chance to flag punts. Among those catching kicks were CB Eric Wright, WR Syndric Steptoe, WR Mike Mason, and Mosely.
Crennel also said that the team would look at Josh Cribbs and S Sean Jones as potential punter returners, and then narrow down the competitors during training camp.
The Browns are practicing again this afternoon and will continue rookie camp through tomorrow. None of the remainder of the camp is open to the media or public.