There was a special kind of intensity and competitiveness when the Cleveland Browns earned a 27-19 win over the St. Louis Rams in the preseason opener Thursday night.
When the Browns returned to the field two days later, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski saw that same, consistent level of intensity in practice.
“One of the things I was pleased with during the game is the way our guys competed and played,” Chudzinski said. “(They) played hard, played fast. One of the things I really wanted to challenge them (with) was coming back to practice and competing, working to get better, and that’s one of the things we need to do to be the kind of team we want to be.
“We’re going to have to work and scrap for everything we do and everything we get. That competition in practice was good. I thought we had a good, spirited practice. The tempo was good, and we got some things done today. We worked a lot of situations and really focusing on improving some of the situational football.”
Early on in training camp, wide receiver
Chudzinski has watched as that desire to improve has become contagious in the Browns’ locker room.
“With Greg Little and Weeden working out here after practice, I’ve noticed more and more guys start to do that and work,” Chudzinski said. “That’s ultimately what we want to create here, and the type of culture we want to create is that pursuit to be the best. I’m pleased with that, and that chemistry is developing because of some of that extra work guys are doing.”
That extra work has translated to on-field success for cornerbacks
“He had a real nice break on a couple balls and picked them off,” Chudzinski said of Haden. “Joe’s approach has been outstanding. He’s hungry to become the kind of player that he can and reach his potential. He continues to work at it, and he’s making plays out here every day. What I’ve been pleased about is the guy’s ability to take things from the meeting room to the practice field and then, from the practice field to the games.
“(Buster’s) really improved from the spring. He’s a young guy, and a guy that just works every, single day. He’s one of the hardest workers on the team, and a super-competitive guy. He takes a lot of pride in what he does, and you can see it show up on the field. He had a number of times where he got his hands on the ball out here today.”
UTILIZING BENJAMIN’S SKILLS
In the preseason opener, Benjamin returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown.
“He’s a guy with a really unique skill set and the speed that he has, so that’s definitely somebody we want to take advantage of and find a role for,” Chudzinski said.
“He’s gotten a lot better. He’s using his speed better in his routes, as opposed to last year, where he was just a guy that ran deep. Up to this point, he’s been showing an ability to run the shorter things and get in and out of breaks real well.”
GETTING PLAYERS HEALTHY
Besides coming out of the preseason-opener without any major injuries, the Browns had safeties T.J. Ward and