Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) - The Cleveland Browns didn’t exactly put on a clinic Sunday afternoon as they returned from an off day to begin the final week of training camp.
The first team offense struggled to find any rhythm in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work all day.
There were several dropped passes and bad throws. After practice, coach Pat Shurmur conceded that things could’ve been crisper on the field.
“Thought it was a little sloppy in some ways,” Shurmur said. “Coming back after the day off, sometimes that happens, but especially early. I thought by the end they were focused in and we got a lot more done — which is good.
“Started out, as I mentioned, a little bit sloppy, but finished up strong.”
The Browns will wrap up camp practices on Wednesday and players will be out of the team hotel on Thursday.
Shurmur wants to make sure that his team is focused on getting better on the field and not being able to leave the hotel soon.
“It’s important that we keep our foot on the gas and get as good as we can get before we actually move out of the hotel and go to the last phase of training camp,” Shurmur said.
What’s The Rush: Don’t expect Shurmur to name a backup quarterback anytime soon.
Shurmur is content to wait until week 1 to name Brandon Weeden’s backup.
“I don’t see a real urgency right now to settle that,” Shurmur said. “Everybody’s out there working hard and Week 1 it’ll pretty much be unveiled who’s two and who’s three. I don’t necessarily see the drama in it quite frankly. They’re working through it.”
Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace are vying for the job.
Through 2 preseason games, Wallace is 10 of 17 for 130 yards and a touchdown while McCoy has completed 10 of 14 passes for 146 yards including a third quarter touchdown drive against the Packers.
Richardson Ahead Of Schedule: Running back Trent Richardson could be back sooner than hoped.
“He’s getting better every day, so his progress has been outstanding,” Shurmur said. “He’s about where we thought he’d be at this point, probably a little bit ahead of that. So he’ll be out here soon.”
Richardson underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Aug. 9 and the team remains hopeful that he’ll play Sept. 9 against the Eagles.
Playing It Close To The Vest: The third preseason game is the dress rehearsal for teams around the NFL. The Browns and Eagles find themselves in the unique position of playing Friday night as well as in week 1.
While Shurmur likely won’t show much in terms of play calling, the starters will still get their work in Friday night at the stadium.
“I think it will be more of a lack of scheme thing more than anything,” Shurmur said. “In terms of the guys out there playing, our guys need work. We have it pretty much planned out based on who’s so sore from this game they can’t go on to next game.”
Shurmur said that he plans to play his starters “about a half” however that is subject to change and not set in stone.
“I think it’s fair to say that our ones or the guys that line up as ones will play a half or a little more, maybe a little less,” Shurmur said. “It worked out for the offense that we had 40 plays by halftime [Thursday against Green Bay], which is unique for a preseason game. That was really good work. We got a half of football in 40 plays. You can’t always count on that, so we’re gonna have to kind of reserve the ability to change that plan.”
Much like the Browns did against the Packers, the Eagles will treat their second preseason game Monday night at New England like their dress rehearsal.
Back At It: Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, tight end Ben Watson and receiver Rod Windsor returned to practice Sunday.
Watson, who participated for the first time since Aug. 3 was limited to individual work.
Jackson returned from a sore shoulder but took the time while on the sidelines to mentor the younger players.
“They ask a ton of questions — and that’s a good thing,” Jackson said. “I did the same thing when I was a rookie. Just being on the field, talking to them as the play is going, just to get them comfortable with just talking on the field and verbalizing anything you see, or whatever tip I may have. Just try to help those guys out. So the more we talk and communicate, the more we can feed off each other and understand how each other plays off it.”
Not being able to practice helps Jackson with the mental side of the game and to see it from a different perspective. He learned a lot during the 2 seasons that he was sidelined with pectoral muscle tears.
“When I was injured, I tell everybody that’s probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” Jackson said. “What I learned just watching the game, and just understanding why we call defenses when we call it, and understanding situations of the game. So that part of it was great. And I try to apply it anytime I play and help the young guys understand the way I look at down and distance versus the time left on the clock.”
Defensive end Frostee Rucker also was limited to individual work Sunday.
“Camp injuries happen, stuff happens,” Rucker Said. “But you’ve got to fight your way back. That’s what I’ve been doing and I’m happy to be back and part of the team.”
Rucker has a brace on his right knee which he will continue to wear for a while but he’s close to being 100 percent and expects to be there come week 1.
Injuries: Safety Ray Ventrone cut his practice short and had a large wrap on his right hamstring.
11 players missed Sunday’s practice.
CB Dimitri Patterson (right ankle), S Usama Young (reported hamstring), RB Trent Richardson (left knee scope), WR Carlton Mitchell (right leg), LB Chris Gocong (torn right Achilles tendon), DT Scott Paxson (right knee), OL Oniel Cousins (general soreness), DT Phil Taylor (pectoral surgery) and LB Scott Fujita (general soreness) LB Emmanuel Acho (general soreness) and DE Juqua Parker (undisclosed) did not practice.
Up Next: The Browns will practice Monday morning at 8:45 but practice is CLOSED to the general public.
The team has 2 open practices remaining – Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:45 a.m.