Without the benefit of an offseason to study the Cleveland Browns’ West Coast offense, Cameron spent the 2011 season learning how to play tight end from veterans
“Last year was definitely a learning process,” Cameron said. “It was basically my first year of playing tight end. Being in the room with those guys, I can kind of just watch their habits, watch their studying habits. It helps me to sit back and look at what they do so I can be like them in a way. I got some playing time at the end of the year that really opened my eyes to what I’ve got to do in the offseason to get better for this year.”
This year is a different story for Cameron, who is working with extra practice repetitions while Moore recovers from an offseason training injury.
“They’ve been giving me some opportunities and I’m trying to take advantage of them; so far, so good,” Cameron said. “It’s good to be out there. I’ve been getting some reps with the ones and the twos, or whatever they need me at. It’s been good to get actual experience, get actually reps out there and make some plays. It’s been helpful.”
Cameron said that extra work has been “good to get the details” and absorb the information he has learned both from his teammates and Steve Hagen, the Browns’ tight ends coach.
“It helps because of the lack of experience that I have in this position,” Cameron said. “It’s good to get out there and get actual reps against the one defense or anyone in particular. It’s been good. It’s been helpful because I need the reps, that’s the best way for me to learn.”
Cameron worked in the offseason to reshape his body. The second-year professional said he felt more explosive and powerful than his rookie year. Cameron, a 6-foot-5 tight end, weighed 245 pounds as a rookie, but is up to 252 heading into the 2012 preseason.
In addition to the physical change, Browns coach Pat Shurmur has noticed an elevated level of play from Cameron on the football field.
“I don’t want to sounds cliché, but you have to practice it and play it to improve at it,” Shurmur said. “He was guy that didn’t play a lot of football in college, but showed us the skill and ability to be a good receiver. Now, when you line up at the end of the line of scrimmage, you’ve got to get used to controlling your body in blocking situations, you have to learn how to release when somebody’s basically tackling you, those types of things, getting a feel for playing the game. I think once he gets that going, his development will go (up).”
Cameron’s development on the football field and in the weight room was driven by self-motivation.
Cameron played basketball for Brigham Young University and later transferred to both Ventura Junior College and the University of Southern California to play football. As an NFL rookie, he caught just six passes for 33 yards and played in eight games with two starts.
“I want to be a good football player more than anything else,” Cameron said. “Anybody can be a big body that can run, but to play football, you’ve got to have technique and I’ve got to learn how to be a football player more than anything else. I don’t want to be a guy that’s known as a ‘potential’ guy, a big athlete that can run. I want to be a football player. I’ve still got to get all the details down and I’m working on that.”