BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Receiver Greg Little is still adjusting to Norv Turner’s new offense as he looks to take a big step this season with his production and in his career.
There’s little question about the amount of work he’s been putting in. Little is often one of the first players on the field and one of the last off of it every day. He spends a significant time running extra routes and taking reps on the jugs machine.
Add working with the defensive line to the mix.
“It was kind of thing I gravitated towards,” Little said. “Kind of like during the offseason during OTAs. I just know that it started to help me in training camp when we started to see press coverage and I kept it up. It’s helping my game a lot dealing with press coverage.”
During Friday’s practice Little jumped in a defensive lineman drill. He hopes that learning proper hand fighting technique working against defensive lineman will help him deal with cornerbacks and get off the line.
“Often times linemen deal with that first initial punch from an offensive linemen,” Little said. “And it’s just knocking the hands down and doing the different moves they do to get the offensive linemen’s hands off them. I just gravitated toward them and kept it working.”
Little is often matched up with Joe Haden during 1 on 1, 7 on 7 or 11 on 11 drills and the techniques have helped him.
“I noticed Joe mentioned that he didn’t really know that I worked with the defensive line,” Little said. “Every time he puts his hands up I am able to anticipate that and that’s due a lot to the work I do with the d-line.”
Duking It Out – It appears that nose tackle Phil Taylor and center Alex Mack aren’t likely to eat together in the cafeteria anytime soon and the two went at it twice during Friday’s practice.
“It’s just practice, just practice,” Taylor said.
Taylor took a swing at Mack and hit Mack’s helmet with his hand following a play during 11 on 11. Then during an offensive-defensive line drill Taylor pushed his forearm into Mack’s neck and kept going after the whistle which angered Mack.
“It’s the middle of training camp,” Chudzinski said. “You get tired going against each other every day. They’ve had a good competition. That makes everybody better. Those two guys have been going at it. We’re hoping they’re going to be outstanding players for us.”
Defensive lineman Brian Sanford has started a pair of scrums in camp already and there’s a sense a major blowup could happen at any moment.
“I think that’s kinda the natural course of going against the same guy all the time,” right tackle Mitchell Schwarz said of the fights. “It’s understanding tempos, it’s understanding different things. I think personally you don’t want to do anything that you’re not going to do in a game.
“I’m not going to take a swing at a guy in a game. That will get me ejected, 15 yard penalty. That’s not going to help the team. You gotta defend yourself at some point. You can’t just let guys run down you all day, so it’s kind of a nuance little thing.”
Kick Me – Kicker Shayne Grahm was given the day off by Chudzinski leaving the field goal duties to rookie Brandon Bogotay. He made 3 of 4 field goals to end 2 minute drives which didn’t gain much yardage.
Bogotay hit from 46, 47, 51 but was wide left from 41 yards away.
Saturday night will not be the first chance for Grahm or Bogotay to kick at FirstEnergy Stadium. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor has taken them to the stadium to kick regularly so they can get acclimated to the unique conditions.
The Gun Show – Referee Ed Hochuli was on hand to help officiate Friday’s practice.
Hochuli is one of the leagues most well known officials because of the tight uniforms that he wears to show off his bulging muscles.
Injuries – Free safety Tashaun Gipson, who sustained a sprained shoulder Sunday following a collision with Josh Gordon, returned to team work but appeared to be injured late in practice while defending a touchdown throw to Greg Little in a 7 on 7 drill.
Running back Trent Richardson (shin), receiver David Nelson, safety T.J. Ward (hamstring) running back Montario Hardesty (hamstring), offensive linemen Ryan Miller (concussion), Chris Faulk (knee) and Oniel Cousins (sprained ankle), cornerback Trevin Wade (undisclosed) and fullbacks Brock Bolen (calf) and Brad Smelley (undisclosed) did not practice Friday.
Up Next – The Browns will practice Saturday down at FirstEnergy Stadium in full pads as the team hosts its annual ‘Family Night’ at 6:30 p.m. Gates open for fans at 5:30.
“We’re gonna treat it like a regular practice (with full pads),” Chudzinski said. “The plan is the plan. We have some things we need to get installed and that’s the priority. We’ll get plenty of good work done. Our guys will be excited and fired up. The fans will get a good show.”
The practice, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a special laser and fireworks show.
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