On Sunday, they jogged.
On Monday morning, they sprinted.
That's figuratively – and legitimately -- how much better Monday's training camp practice was for the Browns offense in comparison to the one the previous day, about 20 hours before.
Following a comedy of errors on Sunday, including penalties, poor throws and catches and fumbled exchanges between the quarterback and center, causing an irate head coach Eric Mangini to order every offensive player to jog a lap around the field as punishment, the group picked it Monday and came up with the biggest – and most electrifying – play of camp thus far.
It occurred when quarterback Brady Quinn lofted a perfectly-thrown 98-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lance Leggett down the left sideline. The lanky Leggett, who spent all of his rookie season of 2008 on the Browns practice squad, turned one way and then another and he ran under the ball and then sprinted into the end zone. No one was going to catch him. He was a nationally-ranked track star while at the University of Miami.
Quinn jumped into the air and thrust his arm in celebration. The play no doubt alleviated at least some of the frustration he felt for the way he and the rest of the offense performed on Sunday.
With Braylon Edwards out with an unspecified injury, Leggett and the rest of the young receivers are getting a lengthy opportunity to showcase their skills. And the quiet, 6-foot-3, 205-pounder is taking full advantage of it. Keep an eye on him. Especially with a brand new coaching staff in place with possibly a new pecking order at every position, he could be a darkhorse to make the team.
Mangini has the reputation of being a tough, hard-nosed coach, but maybe his kid's glove approach to what happened Sunday was just what was needed to right the ship so quickly.
Instead of reading the players the riot act – "I don't believe in yelling. That's just talking. That's meaningless," he said – Mangini explained that he and the other offensive coaches simply showed the players what went wrong and why, and what they had to do to correct it.
It obviously worked. And now the Browns hope it works during the season.
"You're going to have times in games when what happened on Sunday, happens," Mangini said. "All of a sudden, things are going bad and you have to figure out a way to get yourself out of it.
Quinn and Leggett would like to be the ones to jump-start the Browns the next time as well.
STATUS-QUO: Most of the returning players from last year, even the more talkative ones, have become very tight-lipped because of the presence of the no-nonsense Mangini. But one player who hasn't changed much is fun-loving defensive lineman Shaun Smith, who continues to spend practice joking with teammates, coaches and even the fans. When he saw a little boy using a cell phone to take his photograph, Smith worked up a frowning expression to throw the kid's way and said in warning tone, "Now don't photoshop that." The panicked boy turned to his dad and said, "What does photoshop mean?" This is practice for the sports broadcasting career Smith hopes to have someday, and probably will. But at the same time, Smith realizes there's a new sheriff in town in Mangini and knows that despite the fact he has 19 starts the last two years for the Browns, he has to be at the top of the game to carve out a niche with him. As part of that effort, Smith has shed 35 pounds from last year and is now down to an almost svelte-looking – for him – 318 pounds. That has helped him to be faster and more athletic. "As I've always told you guys," he said to two reporters, "it's a privilege to play in the NFL. It's a privilege to play for the Cleveland Browns. I could just as easily be working at Wal-Mart." He's not apprehensive about playing for Mangini. "I've played for tough coaches. I played for Bill Parcells (with the Dallas Cowboys for two seasons)," he said. "Parcells, RAC (former Browns head coach Romeo Crennel) and Mangini all have Super Bowl rings, so there's something to be said for the way they coach."
UP NEXT: The Browns will practice Tuesday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., but it will be closed to the general public. The next public sessions will be Wednesday from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m. and then again from 5:45 to 7:45 p.m.
QUOTABLE: "If he's going to wear that number, he has to learn how to reach back and grab his hamstring when he gets beat like that." – longtime Browns radio color analyst Doug Dieken, throwing a playful jab at former Cleveland Pro Bowl cornerback Hanford Dixon, after the current Browns corner who wears Dixon's old jersey number of 29, Corey Ivy, was beaten on a pass play.