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Now, onto the show.........
- DB Hank Poteat, TE Steve Heiden, OLB David Bowens and WR David Patten sat out the evening practice session for reasons undisclosed by the team. Later in the practice session, TE John Madsen joined this group after taking a crushing hit from CB Eric Wright on the first play of the session.
- During the session, one the side, Poteat and Patten worked on strength training exercises -- quick reps of light weights.
- Defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson keeps the DB's on their toes in camp sessions. Henderson constantly preaches technique and preparation to his group. The DB's work daily on positioning, coverage and tackling drills -- and the players are responding.
- During positional coverage drills, Wright and rookie CB Coye Francies excelled. There is no doubt Wright has solid coverage skills and with another season under his belt and working with a new coaching staff, Wright is excelling and enjoying camp.
Francies, known as a solid coverage CB at the collegiate level, is impressing in camp. Displaying solid footwork and exceptional recognition skills for a rookie, Francies has been moving up the depth chart, or, as the team might consider it, he's beginning to get reps against the better talents at the wide receiver position.
- In true Eric Mangini style, the Browns defense is doing a solid job of keeping the play in front of them. At the same time, we are not seeing the same type of "lay off the receiver" scheme as we have in prior camp and seasons. The corners are aggressive and more hands-on with the receivers.
Defensive backs are closing on receivers quicker, playing closer to the targets and not afraid to take reasonable chances. It is one thing to prepare in practice sessions, it's another to carry the scheme and attitude out on game-day. We will certainly get a better grasp of the Browns defense when the pre-season kicks off.
Prior to and following the casual lap taken by each player, each defensive lineman continued to have the upper-hand in individual blocking drills, which carried over to 11-on-11 team drills.
- DE Robaire Smith was quiet throughout the sessions on Friday. Coming off three consecutive days of outstanding practice sessions, Smith was adequate and continues to line up with the starting unit.
- Due to Bowens sitting out the session as a precautionary measure (leg), Alex Hall and Titus Brown gained reps with the first team defense. Each player has had their moments in training camp, with Brown being the surprise. In the session, Hall and Brown applied some pressure -- but had moments of getting trapped up-field.
- With the injury to offensive lineman Rex Hadnot (knee), the offensive line rotation was shuffled. Dustin Fry had been primarily at center with the third team and at times with the second unit, lined-up at LG with the second unit. Known more for his ability to play within the box, Fry displayed some athleticism and effectiveness in being the pulling guard on a couple run assignments.
- Veteran Ryan Tucker was back with the second team at RT, as John St. Clair lined-up with the first team.
- QB Brady Quinn came out at the start of practice and was lights out. Opening the session with a dart to WR Braylon Edwards, the QB quickly hit rookie WR Mohamed Massaquoi for a TD just inside the goal line. Massaquoi briefly juggled the bullet, before hauling in the pass.
Moments later, an elevating Massaquoi hauled in a spectacular over-the-head and slightly behind pass, falling just inside the pylon for a TD. Later in the session, Massaquoi hauled in another TD reception, as well as making a couple other receptions in team drills. Through the first week of practices, the rookie from Georgia has bordered on exceptional -- and has taken reps away from the Browns other 2009 draft selection, Brian Robiskie.
Edwards also has a strong session following a quiet morning practice for the number-one receiver. Throughout the session, both Quinn and Derek Anderson found Edwards in the passing game -- with Edwards also finding his way to the end zone on a pass from Anderson.
- Robiskie was not a factor in the session and has been taking an increasing number of reps with the second team due to the emergence of Massaquoi and presence of Josh Cribbs in the passing game.
- Following a sequence of sessions in which WR Paul Hubbard was very good, the second-year player has once again been somewhat nondescript.
- With the WR's in camp displaying positive results in sessions, the QB's getting the ball into the hands of the players must be doing something right… right?
Both Quinn and Anderson have been successful in camp sessions. Neither player has been lights-out for an extended period of time, as both run hot and cold -- with the latter becoming less of an issue as practice sessions commence.
Despite a handful of throws which should have been better, the session may have been a day which Quinn turned the corner. The third-year QB was loose, he had a hop in his step and came out firing. One observation I have had on the QB is that he does not practice instinctively -- in this session Quinn appeared to react, rather than being somewhat mechanical as he can be. Also worth noting is that when Quinn got into his groove, his passes were sharper -- much less of an accuracy issue as he has been struggling with on occasion.
Derek Anderson is practicing as if this is his team and in the end anything could happen. Outside of a few interceptions in earlier sessions, Anderson could arguably be practicing at a higher level than Quinn. Throwing darts all around the practice field, Anderson is doing a much better job in reading and throwing passes to running backs and tight-ends in the short to intermediate game. One of his strengths, the ability to get the ball down-field, has not been a factor in sessions, as neither QB has been effective in the true vertical aspects of the game.
As has been the case day-in and day-out, neither QB is establishing himself as the front-runner -- while each has improved in different ways since the beginning of camp.