By Daryl Ruiter | 92.3 The Fan

BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Rookie safety Jabrill Peppers spent the afternoon with the first team defense and put on quite the display.

Peppers broke up 3 passes and delivered the hit of camp on Monday.

“Outstanding,” head coach Hue Jackson said after practice.

Peppers laid out receiver Rannell Hall on the sideline after Hall hauled in an 18-yard completion from rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer during a third-and-1 situation. The pop might have drawn a 15 yard flag had it occurred in a game because it appeared Peppers lowered his head before he drilled him but no flag was thrown.

“It’s football. I mean you don’t want those [hits],” Jackson said. “They’re going to happen. It’s a live period. He’s trying to get the ball out. There’s no question he wasn’t trying to hurt him. He was trying to tackle him to get him down, and sometimes that’s a reflex by players. So it’s OK.”

The fact that Hall hung onto the ball after getting decleated by Peppers was equally as impressive.

“It was a big time play,” Jackson said. “It was third-down-and-one. All of a sudden, we broke out into formation and end up throwing a huge ball. That would have given us an opportunity to score points. That is what this is all about is those little moments when I am watching our football team get better.”

Near the end of practice, Peppers took over a 2-minute drill with the first-team offense going against the ones on defense. Peppers broke up a pair of passes from quarterback Brock Osweiler on consecutive plays, then ended the session by jumping a route and picking the ball off on a fourth-and-long.

“He can do some things,” Jackson said. “If he gets the ball in his hands, he is probably going to score because he has that kind of skill once the ball touches his hands. I was trying to explain to him in that situation, the game is over. Just get down. Yeah, but he was going to score. He was trying to go score. Game over, let’s protect the lead and that’s what we do. That is a teaching moment for him.”

If You Only Knew – In the most polite way possible, Jackson blasted the media after practice over a question about his level of concern considering the difficulty scoring points his offense has exhibited at times throughout camp.

“I think you guys are more concerned about all of that way more than I am because you guys write all these numbers and we are doing,” Jackson said. “I don’t mean any harm, you guys have no clue what we are doing every day or what we are trying to attempt to do. I have heard it all, but trust me, I laugh at it all based on what you guys have been saying.”

Monday, they scored just 2 touchdowns on 12 snaps from the 2-yard line – and one of them was a fade from Brock Osweiler to tight end David Njoku.

“Anytime you are mixing and matching like we are on offense, guys over there working – we haven’t really played as a unit yet – but at the same time, there are a lot of good things the offense has done. There are a lot of good things the defense has done. This is not offense against defense. This is the building of a football team, and that is what we are trying to do.”

Higher Expectations – Jackson has run a much more physical and tougher camp this year.

The reason for that is a simple one.

“Better football team,” Jackson said. “I expect more from this team. I want more from this team. That is the expectation. I really believe we are going to be a better football team. We will put a better product out on the field than what we did a year ago because I think these guys understand where we are.”

Friendly Fire – Senior offensive assistant All Saunders needed a bandage for the right side of his face Monday after Hall inadvertently hit him during a drill while getting off the line of scrimmage.

Hall paused to apologize to Saunders who instructed him to finish his rep and not worry about him.

“That’s what we do. These coaches, we are resilient too now,” Jackson said laughing. “You can’t knock us down. We have to keep playing. Al did a great job today. He took one in the face and kept on going. That is what you do.”

Lap Counter – Tight ends Seth DeValve and Njoku as well as receiver Rasheed Bailey got a free jog around the practice field Monday for false starts.

Injury Report – DB Marcus Burley (face laceration), DB Ibraheim Campbell (concussion), OL Gabe Ikard (concussion), DB Ed Reynolds II (knee) and DB Howard Wilson (knee-PUP).

Up Next – Practice Tuesday 3:25-5:55

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