BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – It appears that the Browns avoided another one of those ‘here we go again’ moments on Day 2 – and the first practice – of training camp Thursday afternoon.
Receiver Kenny Britt, one of their biggest free agent additions this offseason, slipped behind cornerback Joe Haden on a slant and hauled in a deep ball from Cody Kessler before sauntering the remaining 25-30 yards into the endzone. After celebrating the score, Britt then headed into the field house.
A few minutes later fullback Danny Vitale was carted off the field after injuring his lower left leg and then receiver James Wright limped off with a trainer.
That’s 3 injuries in 30 minutes, but the good news is that all 3 players are expected to be fine according to head coach Hue Jackson.
“Just cramps,” Jackson said after practice. “Noting major, I know that for sure. Those things were definitely IV things.”
The Browns began practice with only 1 player – fourth-round pick Howard Wilson – on the physically unable to perform list and the bikes were empty. Not a single player rode them during practice – a rarity for any training camp practice.
That is a victory for the Browns.
Early Lineups – True to Jackson’s word, Cody Kessler took the first reps in team drills at quarterback. Rookie DeShone Kizer also received reps with the first-team O while veteran Brock Osweiler continues to work with the second-team. The rotation was nearly identical to how things worked in OTAs and minicamp in June.
“I thought it was some good work for them all,” Jackson said. “They all threw some good balls and things that we need to continue to work at and see. I thought it was a good first day. Anytime you don’t turn the ball over on the first day of practice or have fumbled snaps on the ground, that is something you look for and you feel good about.”
Cameron Erving got plenty of work at right tackle while Joe Thomas got the day off from team drills on the left side.
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor had receiver Corey Coleman, safety Jabrill Peppers and cornerback Joe Haden rotate fielding punts from punter Britton Colquitt.
The kicking competition should be fun to watch. Cody Parkey made all 5 of his field goals while rookie and seventh-round pick Zane Gonzalez hit 4-of-5 to end the practice.
Welcome Back – Receiver Corey Coleman participated in team drills Thursday showing no effects from the hamstring injury suffered in May.
“He looks explosive. He looks like the old Corey,” Jackson said. “My goal is to keep him that way and see if we can keep him that way throughout camp, throughout these preseason games and get him to the season playing like we think he can play.”
No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett was full go working with the second-team defense during team drills. Garrett had 2 virtual sacks during a pass rush drill showing no ill effects of the lateral foot sprain.
“I was over there in that ring,” Jackson said. “Obviously, he is a good player. As I told Myles, he has to do it every day, keep working at it, keep his head down, stay humble and keep working. I think the young man will do that.”
Left guard Joel Bitonio, who is had Lisfranc surgery last October, has fully recovered and he took some reps during 11-on-11 work. Originally Bitonio wasn’t expected to be ready on day 1 of camp so his presence on the field was a pleasant surprise.
“He’s ready to go,” Jackson said. “Joel has done a great job with his rehab, and again, credit to our medical staff for getting him up and going, but he put in the work. He has done a great job, and it is good to see him out there.”
Offensive lineman John Greco, who also had Lisfranc surgery end his 2016 season, practiced Thursday as well.
Have a Seat – The Browns added 3 massive grandstands for fans to watch practice this year, including one that holds over 1,200 fans located right next to the double-deck hospitality tent. The other 2 sets of bleachers are located on the southern end of the facility by the Beech street entrance.
“I think it’s really spectacular,” Jackson said. “It gives out fans [better] access and really a chance to sit down. I think it’s real fan-friendly and more people will come out which our players will enjoy.”
The Browns’ puppy pound returns for the third consecutive year and already 12 puppies were adopted during Thursday’s practice and a total of 132 have been adopted from the Northeast Ohio SPCA since the pound opened for camp.
The team also added a miniature golf course, small ‘Play Football’ field for kids as well as relocated the groundskeeper’s and turned the old shed one into a pro shop this year in an effort to enhance the fan experience.
Injury Report – DB Howard Wilson designated PUP; WR Kenny Britt (cramps), FB Danny Vitale (cramps), WR James Wright (cramps) left practice early.