Wednesday morning wasn't just another day at training camp. The team appears to be getting into a rhythm and the practice session displayed some intensity, aggressiveness, and physicality. We also saw some improvement coming out of the quarterback position.
RECIEVER CHURN ON THE DEPTH CHART: Wide receiver Maurice Mann made a couple nice grabs in drills, but the same can not be said about Travis Wilson. Wilson, a second-round draft selection last season again dropped a pass, slipped and fell on the grass, and displayed some frustration in another drill as two balls thrown his way were not catch able.
As Wilson's struggles continue, the opportunity for Tim Carter and Josh Cribbs to impress the coaching staff in practice sessions has increased. Carter, vying for a starting spot, has been getting some reps opposite Braylon Edwards with the first team while in camp. The depth chart would probably show Joe Jurevicius remains the number-two receiver in camp at this time, however.
Following Wilson's struggles during the practice session, Jurevicius consoled the young wide receiver, showing him how to use lean (leaning with the shoulder into the defensive back, then cutting off the move) to create immediate separation in the passing drills.
Mann, signed prior to training camp, is quietly having a good summer in Cleveland. His adequate speed and quickness have allowed him a few shining moments during these early camp sessions. More importantly, he takes well to coaching and gives maximum effort.
DRILLING ON THE LINE: In 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, the team appeared more physical and practiced with some immediacy.
The battle with Smith wasn't the only interesting note of the morning for Fraley, as he went toe-to-toe with Ted Washington and held his own. Fraley is having a very solid camp, looking more physical and agile than the player we saw during the 2006 season.
Rookie Joe Thomas struggled somewhat, while not being completely overmatched at any given time, he tends to start slowly and gain consistency as the practice sessions progress. Once Thomas gets into the flow, he locks-up much quicker and shows his strength and agility. He has shown overall improvement since the start of this camp, but still remains behind Kevin Shaffer on the depth chart, though he continues to take some reps with the first team (notably when Shaffer swings over to the right tackle spot).
Shaffer continues to impress at this year's camp and is competing at a high level to maintain his starting role at left tackle. Splitting reps between left and right tackle, Shaffer is has displayed athletic ability and versatility, reducing the concern about the impact of moving from the left to right spot.
As Thomas' consistency improves, the team is heading for a decision between Shaffer and Ryan Tucker at right tackle.
Tucker has been reliable for the Browns at the right tackle position since arriving from St. Louis. His 2007 camp may be the finest camp Tucker has had to date with the Browns. He has been determined, aggressive, and technically sound.
A POUNDING ON DEFENSE: A physical presence was noted regarding the Browns defensive units today. The cracking noise of pads could be heard a far distance from the activity. Whether it was in individual, unit, or team drills, the team had a look of purpose on this day.
Robaire Smith was taking it to the left-side of the offensive line, while Washington and Shaun Smith were relying heavily on their size and strength in drills. Linebackers, Andra Davis and D'Qwell Jackson stepped into running lanes during the practice session, which was rarely seen on a consistent basis last season. Late season sensation Leon Williams played the run extremely well, but was somewhat late in his coverage responsibilities during a couple plays during team drills.
Another day, another session, we'll be back with an evening practice update later today.