The last of the scheduled two-a-days kicked off Tuesday as the players hit the practice fields at 8:45 a.m. under clear skies in Berea, Ohio. Unlike many training camps of the past, the weather this year has been extremely cooperative, and plenty of work has gotten done.
In what has transcended into the customary in this training camp, WR Travis Wilson continues to make catches and Syndric Steptoe exudes hard work and consistency, while QB Derek Anderson gains the confidence and consistency to improve upon his 2007 season.
And, in what continues to be an interesting and unlikely story, WR Steve Sanders today continued his surprising ascension on the depth chart. As noted in this column late last week, the unheralded receiver was going to receive additional opportunities in the passing game. Not to disappoint, the WR has been steady, catching the ball with consistency and playing himself into a role. During this practice session, Sanders hauled in multiple passes from Anderson while filling in for the injured Braylon Edwards.
"I am grateful for the opportunity I have here. To be home, having the chance to play in Cleveland is like a dream for me," Sanders said.
Considered a long-shot not too long ago, Sanders is making his presence known.
PLAYERS OF NOTE
- WR Syndric Steptoe continues to be the #2 punt return specialist, as well as alternating with Travis Wilson as the #3 in certain offensive sets. Again on Tuesday, Steptoe was extremely workmanlike and found ways to utilize his quickness and deceptive strength to get open over the middle.
- WR Travis Wilson may be the perceived front-runner for the #3 WR spot, but the competition is close. Wilson did haul in a couple of passes in the session, but was rather lackadaisical in special teams drills. Not being physical enough at times has been an issue for the WR -- in both routes and in this drill -- as he did not fight the blocker off when racing downfield.
- DE Louis Leonard continues to impress at DE. Leonard has begun to settle in nicely; on two occasions he beat backup RT Isaac Sowells and was in position to make a play in the rushing facet of the team drills.
- ROLB Kamerion Wimbley displayed solid backside support in rushing drills, as well as solid recognition on a reverse in the same drill.
- S Mike Adams has been solid throughout training camp and Tuesday was no different. Adams, who has been seeing extensive time covering the slot in the nickel package, was quick in recognition and hit the gap quickly in drills.
- DE Corey Williams has flown under the radar during this training camp, but this athletic defensive linemen has been quickly absorbing the scheme. Due to a shoulder injury, the veteran was unable to participate in drills until late last week. In the sessions since his return last week, Williams has made steady progress. On this day all the studies came together as the lineman turned rookie OG Nathan Bennett inside-out on a running play and followed that up by sticking RT Isaac Sowells, which closed a hole quickly.
- NT Ahtyba Rubin has shown signs of life over the past two practice sessions. While the rookie continues to have consistency issues, the 330-pound lineman is beginning to grasp his gap responsibility while also creating some push against the likes of C Hank Fraley.
- DE/NT Melila Purcell is struggling. The second-year lineman is being handled at the point of attack, and hasn't displayed the consistency necessary to be a contributor.
- FB Charles Ali again on Tuesday was a factor as a lead blocker in the running game. Ali kicked LB's on three occasions in team drills.
THE INFIRMARY REPORT
- NT Shaun Rogers was held out of the practice session due to some knee discomfort. Rogers is expected to be at practice late this afternoon.
- TE Martin Rucker is scheduled to have an MRI on his knee. Rucker twisted the knee in the practice session on Monday.
- WR Kevin Kasper (hamstring) remains out.
- OT Cliff Louis (neck) was in pads today, but did not participate in team drills.
- FB Kolo Kapanui did not practice this morning.