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Chudzinski: Family Night will 'energize' Browns

Posted Aug 2, 2013

BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski expects an energized team when the players hit the field at FirstEnergy Stadium for Family Night.

BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski knows what FirstEnergy Stadium is like on game day, and he plans on giving his players a taste of that electricity and excitement when the team celebrates Family Night Saturday.

“I hope it’s electric down there and we get a great turnout,” Chudzinski said. “The fans will get a good chance to see our guys, what we’ve been working on, and it’ll be a lot of fun as well.

“It’ll energize our guys, and one of the reasons we took the pads off (Friday) was I wanted them to be fresh for tomorrow, and excited about going out there.”

Chudzinski will lead the players through a two-and-a-half hour practice that is free and open to the public. Following practice, players will sign autographs and fans will be treated to a laser and fireworks show.

“We’re going to treat it like a regular practice,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll work some situations in that. We’ll have pads on again. I’ve really been pleased with the last two days of work. We didn’t have pads on today, but we worked a lot of situations, two-minute, red-zone situations. The execution has been much better and really improved. I’ve been pleased with that. Guys are focused, are coming out here and practicing with a purpose.”

Unlike past years when coaches have elected to split up the team and hold a scrimmage, Chudzinski wants his players to focus on installing their respective systems and execute the assignments cleanly.

Also, he does not want to risk injuring players just five days before the preseason opener against the St. Louis Rams at FirstEnergy Stadium on Aug. 8.

“The plan is the plan, and we have a game on Thursday, so it’s a little bit different than the typical Saturday night practice that you might do a week before the game,” Chudzinski said. “We have some things that we need to make sure we get installed, and that’s the priority. We’ll get plenty of work done. Our guys will be excited and fired up. The fans will get a good show tomorrow.”

Saturday’s practice will be the first time many of the new Browns play at FirstEnergy Stadium, but not the kickers. Veteran Shayne Graham, who has played many games against the Browns as a part of the Cincinnati Bengals, and rookie Brandon Bogotay have spent time kicking in the stadium under the watchful eye of special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

“We’ve tried to do everything we can to create those situations out here on the practice field, and we’ll try to do that in the stadium tomorrow as well, early on in the practice,” Chudzinski said. “Getting those guys into as many situations as we can to get a chance to assess them is really the goal.

“Every chance that we’ve gotten, Chris has gone down to the stadium and kicked with those guys. They’ve had the opportunity to do that throughout training camp, especially early in training camp, and then, some in the spring time.”

CONSISTENCY KEY UP FRONT

Chudzinski was a first-year Browns offensive coordinator in 2007 when the team selected a left tackle from the University of Wisconsin with the No. 3 overall pick. Since taking Joe Thomas in 2007, the Browns have gotten a consistent effort from the left tackle spot.

Thomas has started 96 straight games and not missed an offensive snap in those contests.

“He’s had a solid camp,” Chudzinski said. “Everything you’d expect, everything I knew Joe to be, he still is and better. He’s a key guy for a lot of reasons, not just for the position he plays, which is paramount to the success of an offense, but also from the standpoint of leadership and how he’s grown as a leader and being more vocal than I had known him from before.”

PLAYER UPDATES

Running backs Trent Richardson (shin) and Montario Hardesty (hamstring tendon) were held out of Friday’s practice, as were defensive back Trevin Wade (tightness), tight end Brad Smelley (hamstring) and wide receiver David Nelson (knee).

Chudzinski said of Richardson, “Trent was held out because he looked like he got kicked in the shin. If he had to, he could’ve practiced or played today.”

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