- The knee injury suffered by offensive lineman Rex Hadnot is not as serious as many believed. When the injury occurred, those in attendance viewed Hadnot grimace in pain and pound the turf.
One local media report originally noted Hadnot injured his ACL -- which is not the case, then later changed the same report to note the MCL was damaged -- which is the case. Hadnot has the knee immobilized presently and there is a possibility the veteran could return to the field in approximately four weeks.
In a battle at the left guard position with Eric Steinbach, Hadnot had been receiving approximately 1/3 of the reps with the perceived starting offensive line and was praised by head coach Eric Mangini recently for his physical style of play.
- The injury suffered by WR Syndric Steptoe (shoulder) is unfortunate, but part of the game. Granted, the team was on the field while it was raining on Saturday during an abbreviated practice session, which closely resembled a walk-through for the scrimmage scheduled for Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
During the session, Steptoe attempted to haul in a pass, stretched out fully and landed awkwardly. The rain had nothing to do with the injury -- this was a football injury and they happen.
I for one believe practicing in the rain could be of benefit to the team. That being said, one could honestly call this a practice session -- unlike the physical and hitting sessions of days prior, this session was nothing like the others. Sure, you want to see players protected and readied for the regular season, but working in the rain is part of this game played outdoors by most teams and the head coach is exposing the team to the weather conditions.
- The release of defensive lineman Shaun Smith should come as no surprise to the resident OBR faithful. During the off-season and again prior to training camp, John Taylor and I noted on numerous occasions Smith would have some issues making this team.
The bottom-line with the player is his work ethic, attitude and mouth were more than this coaching staff was willing to deal with. In all actuality, Smith was not having a bad camp in drills -- all the things Shaun Smith surrounding him outside of the immediacy of the play were his undoing.
Smith, a laid-back sort, was never one to be a leader. During the off-season, Smith was informed by the organization to work harder and smarter. A very vocal individual, Smith would often be overheard razzing teammates, at times to an extent where "pleasantries" were exchanged.
On numerous occasions early in training camp, defensive line coach Bryan Cox communicated with the lineman, telling him to pickup the pace -- Smith simply is too lax and may have grown too accustomed to the country club setting that was Cleveland Browns training camp and practice sessions during the season.
- Rookie WR Mohamed Massaquoi's production has caught some by surprise, but not the Browns organization and theOBR staffers following the young player. Massaquoi has been very consistent as well as displaying some explosive qualities.
It is not a surprise to see Massaquoi lined up with the starting offensive unit. Of the rookies in camp, the WR has progressed the most while on the big stage. Improving his running of routes and learning how to position himself between the ball and defender, while also maintaining the route, was an area worked on early with the rookie.
It's early and a lot of football is to be played, but through the first week of practice sessions, Massaquoi is impressing.
- Another WR that has been noticed is Lance Leggett. Long, lean and fast, Leggett is a case where a player may have the early jitters, but if you go to him enough, his talent and confidence begin to shine.
After the initial couple camp practice sessions, Leggett seemed destined to an early departure from camp -- he struggled with his routes and did not catch the ball well. In recent days, Leggett has been very good and is displaying the ability to beat DBs when provided the opportunity to face off against the first- and second-team defense.
- A full week into camp and the QB position remains as muddled as it was when camp commenced. Presently, the coaching staff is unsure which QB is going to be the starter; as a result, you can expect increased pressure placed on Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn -- not only to lead the offense effectively, but to see which player will emerge as the leader on the field and in the locker room.
Both players continue to have their fair share of struggles, along with some positive practice sessions. Consistency is the issue in the fact that there has been very little of it thus far -- outside of number-three QB Brett Ratliff, who is not in the equation for the starting role but should be if the two top candidates continue to struggle while he continues on a workmanlike path.
Let's not forget, Mangini wanted Ratliff in the draft-day deal completed with the New York Jets. And, arguably Ratliff performed as well or better than the QBs in Jets' camp a year ago, but had no shot with Brett Favre riding into town.
- Quietly, safety Hamza Abdullah is having a solid camp. A relative unknown heading into the off-season, the staff likes his makeup, size and ability to absorb and utilize information on the practice field. While Abdullah will not unseat starters Abe Elam and Brodney Pool, the opportunity to fill a depth role at the position and on special teams is an increasing possibility.
- WR David Patten has played the part of the invisible man for portions of camp sessions. Patten, a veteran who does not practice with the team all the time, often he can be viewed working on quick-rep strength training, riding the stationary bikes or running up the hill next to the Browns training facility, Mount Belichick. When on the field, Patten continues to display his terrific speed and quickness -- off the field he is a mentor, almost a coach to some.
The role Patten will have with this team going forward is somewhat clouded. Patten has been effective when on the practice fields, as evidenced in the Browns' scrimmage on Sunday. Patten, if healthy, can help this team; the questions remain, can he remain healthy and what promising young player may be released if Mangini decides to keep the veteran in Cleveland?
The word is, Patten is going to be on this roster unless the unexpected occurs -- injury, another player plays his way onto the roster, etc.
- OLB David Bowens was a questionable free-agent acquisition according to many covering this team. Thus far in camp, Bowens is showing he has skills to pressure the QB and practices in the mold of a Mangini player.
Granted, the staff is not overworking the veteran often during two-a-day sessions; Bowens can be viewed riding the stationary bikes and working on strength training while wearing a sleeve from his right knee to ankle.
- The coaching staff is not concerned with the somewhat mediocre start by rookie center Alex Mack. Mack, may have run the most laps around the practice fields due to mistakes in sessions, but the young man comes back harder and stronger the following opportunity.
Any lineman will have trouble with the likes of NT Shaun Rogers and Mack has. The organization is of the belief the rookie is progressing -- and Mack will see an increasing number of reps with the first team in the days to come.
- A fourth-round draft selection from a season ago, LB Beau Bell lives football. Bell does one thing well on the field, and that is putting his helmet on a body. The problem has been, Bell has been too slow in recognition most times and hasn't been able to show the reckless explosive qualities he did in the collegiate game.
The clock is ticking on Bell, as well as LB Leon Williams. With no ties to the majority of players in this camp, a player is not likely to make the roster on anything other than play or potential.