BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Greg Little is a believer that hard work pays off.
Little caught 53 passes for 647 yards and 4 touchdowns last season but knows as he enters year 3 it’s time to up his production – and in a brand new offense.
“I think this is really the first time I have to learn an offense coming out of college,” Little said. “With Shurmur’s system being so similar to what I ran in college it wasn’t much of a learning curve there. I think now I really have to challenge myself to get in my playbook when I’m not in the building, and I think our team is taking the same approach there, and we’re doing pretty good with it right now.”
All offseason during OTA’s and minicamp, Little spent time after practice working on catching passes and running routes. He has continued that routine into training camp.
Little even went to Oklahoma a few weeks ago to work out with quarterback Brandon Weeden.
“I just don’t want to leave any opportunity for me to get better wasted,” Little said. “I just feel like I need to take advantage of every single day and the time that I have in the building and away from the building to get better.
“I think that a lot of [expectation] is being put upon the receivers to do better. I’m just taking [upon] myself to try and push my fellow receivers to get better too.”
That work hasn’t gone unnoticed by head coach Rob Chudzinski.
“I have been really pleased with Greg all along,” Chudzinski said. “He’s made really big strides in the spring. He still has a long way to go and a lot to learn about football, playing receiver and the details of the position. That is the biggest thing I stress with all the guys; these guys have potential, but it’s about knowledge, it’s about detail and it’s about drive. Those are the things, to reach your potential, you have to focus on.”
Day For The D – Friday it was the defense’s turn to shine.
The coaching staff continues to install their systems on both sides of the ball but the number of broken up passes and interceptions prompted Chudzinski to joke after practice, “Whatever it is, we won’t put those in there tomorrow.”
The focus during team work was on 3rd-and-long situations.
The secondary, led by Joe Haden, Tashaun Gipson and Johnson Bademosi, did their best to make it a long day for the offense. The trio were all over receivers and passes during 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 work.
“I think the secondary made some really nice plays,” Chudzinski said. “They really broke well on the ball on a couple of them. Again, we will just have to look at the tape and see where we go from there on both sides of the ball.”
Haden was the biggest ball hawk, even greeting Brandon Weeden at the start of the first 11 on 11 session by jumping a short route to Josh Gordon and coming away with a pick-6.
“Yesterday the offense was getting the best of us, and today we had to step it up,” Haden said. “Because they were a step ahead of us today we had a meeting like come on man we gotta step it up and get our hands on more balls. That’s what we came out there and tried to do.”
Chris Owens got the first reps with the first-team defense on Friday while Buster Skrine rotated in. Both made nice plays to break up passes.
Cleared To Go – Receiver David Nelson took the field for the first time as a Brown after passing his physical Friday.
Nelson, who tweeted earlier in the morning that he was cleared and ready to go, participated in individual drills but sat out the team portion of practice.
“He’s a big guy. He has big hands,” Chudzinski said of his first observations of the veteran. “He’s been productive. He’s played and he has experience. We’ll just have to get him out there. He hasn’t been in the system, so obviously he’s just been learning through meetings. Just getting out there and going through the route tree was a good starting point today.”
Chudzinski hopes to upgrade Nelson and get him involved in team drills soon.
“I think it was monkey off his back to actually have a sigh of relief to feel like he’s getting some work done football wise,” Little said. “He has been off the field in the film room. He’s just as excited as we all our to have him out there.”
Little knows that the addition of Nelson along with Davone Bess this offseason upgrades the receiving corps significantly.
“I think it makes us a complete core as far as we have me and Josh [Gordon] and Travis [Benjamin] here last year with Jordan [Cameron] and a bunch of other guys, but I think they’re going to push us as a complete group to get better.”
Gone Fishin’ – Nose tackle Phil Taylor along with tight end Kellen Davis should be back in a few days.
Taylor, who is resting a strained left calf muscle, strolled onto the field wearing a Browns fishing hat. He left the pole and bait in the locker room.
“I’m expecting him back in the next few days,” Chudzinski said. “He feels good and he worked hard on the side with the trainers. All reports I’ve gotten are pretty positive.”
Davis is out with a sprained knee but Chudzinski isn’t worried about either of them missing significant time.
No Tweeting For Me – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin joined Twitter Friday but don’t look for Chudzinski to follow suit.
“I’m not a real technology guy,” Chudzinski said. “I wouldn’t even know how to get started on that. I have a hard enough time with my cell phone.”
Tomlin’s first tweet was simple, “Hello Twitter. Expect no BS from me. Just straight fire!”
Up Next – The Browns return to the field Saturday afternoon at 4. Gates open to the public at 3 p.m.
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