Sunday: Notes of Note

There are always a few plays in practice which stand out, particularly during team drills. But subtle development continues on both sides of the ball in the Browns practice sessions. Lane Adkins has his eye on how the team is gaining steam toward the 2008 season.....

Coming off a rousing reception from over 26,000 fans at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Friday evening, the team was back on the practice fields Sunday in sunny Berea, Ohio. The reception for the team was quite loud and lengthy at times, as the organization welcomed members of the Browns Backers Worldwide to the practice session, in what was a climax to the the Browns Backers weekend in Cleveland.

- TE Kellen Winslow (coaches decision)
- OLB Antwan Peek (knee surgery)
- OG Ryan Tucker (hip surgery)
- OG Seth McKinney (ankle) did not practice.
- TE Steve Heiden (knee) did not practice, but noted the knee is getting better.
- FB Lawrence Vickers (hamstring) did not practice, was present for the session.
- C Marvin Philip did not practice
- S Gary Baxter was on the field, but did not practice

On the practice fields, the team is a slightly closer to fill strength today, as WR Kevin Kasper was in pads, but did not work in team drills and DE Corey Williams was in pads and participated only in particular drills.

- Williams noted he was not going to rush getting back into the swing of things. Also, Williams is excited about having the opportunity to face someone other than his teammates in practice sessions. According to the DE, his goal and that of the team is all about getting ready for the start of the season.

- With Williams being limited in drills and not participating in team/contact drills, the starting defensive line is Shaun Smith at LDE, Shaun Rogers at NT and Robaire Smith at RDE. NT Louis Leonard rotated in and out with this unit periodically.

- The Browns second-team and third-team defensive line which consisted of Melila Purcell, Ahtyba Rubin and Chase Pittman/Brian Schaefering was pushed around at the point of attack by the interior of the Cleveland offensive line consisting of Derrick Morse, Lennie Friedman and Nathan Bennett. In drills, the ends (mainly Purcell and Schaefering) were pinned easily and the NT (Rubin) was moved off the ball and stood-up. This is becoming an issue far too familiar in practice sessions and one which is concerning due to the inability to maintain the point of attack.

- Due to the knee injury to OLB Antwan Peek, veteran Shantee Orr and David McMillan saw reps as the backup to starter Willie McGinest.

- In the Browns base nickel defense, McMillan replaces DE Shaun Smith, while S Mike Adams replaces McGinest and LB Leon Williams replaces LB Andra Davis. In some of the sessions, Adams has been solid in covering the slot receiver.

- Speaking of Orr, the OLB again battled with starting RT Kevin Shaffer. Orr's quickness and deceptive strength caused Shaffer some problems during the session. What has been making Orr difficult to harness is, his excellent quickness and low center, as he is able to beneath the linemen and utilize leverage off the edge.

- While Kasper returned to practice in a limited capacity, WR's Travis Wilson and Syndric Steptoe continue to take advantage of the increased workload. Steptoe has been very dependable in the slot and is running very good routes. One aspect of his game is vision, the WR has an ability to find a 'soft' spot and settle in. Also, he has been solid in gaining separation crossing the middle and on the quick slant patters.

- Steptoe and Wilson have alternated as the #3 WR in three receiver sets. In some sets, rookie TE Martin Rucker has saw time with the first team offense.

- As for Wilson, Sunday was like any other day for the WR. The third-year receiver caught numerous passes in team drills, working in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. The opportunity to face starting CB's Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald and veteran Terry Cousin has helped this talented receiver improve his route running and how to get off a defender. The only balls Wilson missed on the day were two overthrown deep routes thrown by Brady Quinn and Ken Dorsey.

- The CB's were active in 7-on-7 drills, with McDonald nearly intercepting an Anderson pass intended for Braylon Edwards. A play later, S Brodney Pool stepped in front of TE Brad Cieslak and nearly intercepted another Anderson pass. Later in the same session, CB A.J. Davis stripped WR Steve Sanders of the ball after a reception and recovered the fumble.

- Interestingly, the coaching staff appears to be settling in on a rotation at the CB position, for the present time. Wright and McDonald are the starters, Cousin is the #3, with A.J. Davis lining up as the #4. Presently, Jereme Perry and rookie Damon Jenkins are the #5 and #6. Rookies Mil'von James and Gerard Lawson are carrying up the rear of the depth chart again on this day.

- RB Jerome Harrison continues to be a blast coming out of the backfield, not only in the passing, but as a rusher. Harrison is quick and explosive, but his best quality may be in his vision and toughness. The RB possesses an ability to make the first defender miss, which ultimately leads to additional yardage.

- For the not too pretty category, RB Jason Wright easily beat rookie LB Beau Bell into the flat and hauled in what would have been a significant gain in the passing game.

- Hey Lefty! Between drills, starting QB Derek Anderson was lobbing a football around to one of the staff members on the field. Big deal right? We'll, the QB was doing the tossing with his left arm. Incidentally, the more Anderson tossed the ball left-handed, the better the ball spun off his hand.......much like with his day-job, the ball was consistently a spiral. An observing Braylon Edwards yelled to Anderson, "don't you even think you'll be throwing me any of that".

- Following the practice session, Vickers and Winslow worked on the JUGS machine, while a good number of the players signed autographs for the thousands of fans in attendance.

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