BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – David Njoku shuffled his arms and feet, reached out and used both hands to secure a football fired from a Juggs machine following Friday’s practice.
For Njoku, it was much needed work following a second consecutive disappointing day for the No. 29 overall pick that saw him stripped twice by defenders and drop a few other footballs in drills.
The fumbles did not sit well with head coach Hue Jackson, who didn’t mince words after practice.
“Hold on the the freaking ball,” Jackson said of his message to the rookie. “That has got to stop, and that will get stopped. We will get that corrected because we can’t turn the ball over. That is one of the big goals that we have. We can’t turn the ball over.
“He gets that. He understands that. That is something where we can’t give the ball away so we need to get that squared away with him.”
A day after drafting Njoku the Browns released Gary Barnidge, so they’re all-in with the former Miami Hurricane.
Njoku hasn’t had the best start to a training camp, not at least the kind you want for a first round pick.
Brock’s Bombs – Although it would seem based on the lack of first-team reps that Brock Osweiler doesn’t have much of a chance to start Sept. 10 against Pittsburgh, he provided the 2 best throws of the day through swirling winds.
The first came during receiver-defensive back drills when Osweiler unloaded a ball downfield to receiver Jordan Payton, who blew by defensive back Darius Hillary and made the over-the-shoulder catch.
Late in practice during the final 11-on-11 session Osweiler found Corey Coleman on a deep ball that even caught Jackson’s attention.
“I was really pleased with his progression,” Jackson said. “I was really pleased with the offensive line giving him time, and he was able to shift and move. Brock has really improved. I go back and watch his tape often, and he has really made a lot of strides that way – planting, rhythm, getting rid of the ball and making decisions.”
The ball wasn’t thrown deep much during team drills on Friday – there were a lot of check downs and dump offs – but when it was during the receiver-DB drills, there were very few completions.
Roster Move – The Browns signed RB Brandon Wilds and waived RB George Atkinson III. Wilds appeared in 4 games last season for the New York Jets where he had 10 carries for 27 yards and 2 receptions for 20 yards.
Time Management – CB Joe Haden, LT Joe Thomas, DE Desmond Bryant, OL John Greco, WR Kenny Britt, C Austin Reiter, DB Jason McCourty and LG Joel Bitonio did not practice Friday.
Jackson and the staff plan to monitor practice time – especially for key players – during camp and the 8 that got some rest Friday is just part of it and not injury related.
“I have met with our medical team, and we have come up with a really good plan to make sure that we get our guys to practice, through practice and try to keep them as healthy as we can,” Jackson said. “There will be some days when it is every other day and some days when it is not every other day. We will work through it based on what we are doing because when we’re in pads, I want the guys out there. I want them on the field and competing that way because that is where real football is played. They won’t miss those days. I guarantee you that.”
Haymaker – Friday’s practice saw the first significant dust-up of camp when right tackle Shon Coleman got into it with defensive lineman Karter Schult. Coleman appeared to land a few punches late in the practice before players and coaches swarmed and broke things up.
Injury Report – DB Derrick Kindred (cramps).
Up Next – The first padded practice of camp Saturday from 3:00-5:30 pm.
“Anything can happen,” Jackson said. “I like to kind of change it up a little bit. We will tackle. We will get after each other a little bit. I think you have to. We are trying to build a physically-tough, mentally-tough football team.”