After spending the last month working out in the weight room and having two weeks of on-field drills with his coaches and teammates in the offseason program, Cleveland Browns linebacker
“I think we’re on the right track,” Kruger told “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” last week. “The biggest thing I’ve seen is the effort is off the charts. People are working hard. Everybody’s into it. It’s just a good mentality right now. That’ll take you a long ways. All the other stuff will fall into place. When camp starts, you’ll know exactly where you’re at as far as moving together as a defense or an offense. I think we’re giving a lot of effort and preparing well.”
Kruger acknowledges that with nearly six weeks between the final minicamp practice in June and the first practice of training camp at the end of July, the 10-week offseason program is important for building team chemistry and fine-tuning the details.
“In this next month, it’s just a matter of creating a mentality and a culture on the team, and that’ll carry you into camp and you won’t skip a beat,” Kruger said. “You get here and you can get right into the important things, instead of worrying about getting in shape and creating a family-type team.
“Those things have already been taken care of, so when you get into camp, you can simply get onto the really important stuff -- schemes, getting timing down for the offense, getting blitzes down for the D, understanding concepts. If we can take care of getting ourselves physically ready, getting the mindset of where we need to be, that’s the important thing right now.”
For the past month, the Browns’ players have been going through the offseason program, which started with strength and conditioning drills and meetings with coaches over the first two weeks.
Then, the team held a voluntary minicamp, which was the first time the coaches and players could work together on the football field under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. Since the end of that minicamp, the Browns have been able to conduct on-field drills under the direction of their coaches.
“We’re just getting ready, everything from learning your assignments to physical preparation, running, stretching, lifting, agility, working on position stuff,” Kruger said. “I think we’re doing a great job. We’re working hard and getting ourselves ready for camp, getting a lot of the basics taken care of right now.
“(We’re working) on a lot of position-specific things, as far as the physical stuff goes, and then, we get together as a defense and go through a lot of the defensive schemes, understanding the concepts, so when we come together as a whole defense, it’s usually more mental preparation. Then, when we break out into our own position groups, it’s more drills and technique stuff.”
In a week’s time, Kruger and the rest of the Browns’ veterans will get the chance to work with the team’s rookies, including linebacker
“From what I hear, he’s a really good player, explosive, a really good athlete, so I’m excited to get him here,” Kruger said. “I’m excited to get all these guys. I think on the 9th (of May), they can come, so it’s going to be exciting to have those new guys, new faces. Young guys always give you a little boost, a little life. The youth just makes it exciting.”