Standard disclaimer: This is mini-camp, a practice session where players are not in pads, and there is no contact per the league's agreement with the NFLPA. In mini-camp, one can only gain a glimmer of promise or potential failure.
With that out of the way: on to what I saw, day three, practice five, in sunny Berea, Ohio:
- Quarterback play remains inconsistent, although the group is gaining some ground on the new offensive system. Derek Anderson appears to have a leg up - he is throwing the ball better than any QB in camp, and ran the first team at the end of practice. Syndric Steptoe and Kendrick Mosely each dropped perfectly thrown passes from Anderson. Mosley also was on the receiving (and made the reception) end of a jarring, incidental contact hit by linebacker Leon Williams on a pass from Anderson. One knock against Anderson was his inability to get a play off in time during the session.
- Brady Quinn continues to show some progress with the crispness of his passes. Joshua Cribbs dropped two well-placed Quinn passes while I was watching. On a go-route early in the practice session, Quinn slightly overthrew Cribbs with Therrian Fontenot in coverage. With the clock running down, Quinn completed a sharp out pattern at the hash marks to Jerome Harrison and fumbled the snap on another opportunity.
- Twice during the practice session, nose tackle Shaun Smith broke through the line, with the potential of sacking Quinn and Ken Dorsey if it were allowed.
- Cornerbacks Eric Wright and DeMario Minter continued to display solid coverage skills during drills. This has been a common theme throughout the OTA's and mini-camp sessions.
- If there was an "impact" coaching hire this off-season, outside of offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, it has to be the addition of receivers coach Wes Chandler. An outstanding receiver at the professional level himself, Chandler demands maximum effort and precision from his receivers. On one occasion Thursday, Cribbs made a lackadaisical effort on a pass from Charlie Frye, which led Chandler to give Cribbs some ribbing on the field. As Cribbs attempted to walk away from Chandler, the coach demanded Cribbs retrieve the ball, while it lay at the feet of Chandler. We may have not witnessed this type of action from offensive assistants in past camps.
- Running back Jamal Lewis claims to be approximately 80-percent recovered. If the speed and quickness he is displaying is just at that level, he is going to be a very interesting player in the Browns scheme this upcoming season. Lewis took a quick screen pass from Anderson, quickly cut up field, and raced away from the defense, untouched toward the end zone.
- Defensive back Gary Baxter was out on the practice field, but was not involved in the activities. Coming off double patellar tendon surgery, Baxter vows he is on the verge of making an improbable comeback, with a return to the game following his potentially career ending injuries.
- Wide receiver Braylon Edwards was the first receiver to work with the quarterbacks during individual drills, while sporting a bottle of Gatorade, soon followed by Joe Jurevicius and Tim Carter.
- Some sideline noise (Frasier, Frasier) directed at defensive end Simon Frasier while mixing it up during 11-on-11 drills late in the practice session.
- Josh Cribbs, Brandon McDonald and Syndric Steptoe received the majority of the work in punt return fielding drills.
- Team owner Randy Lerner was present on the field during the practice session on Thursday.