BEREA, Ohio -- Competition is designed to make everyone better, not only within a position group, but also on the other side of the ball. Adding to the defensive side in the offseason has made the Cleveland Browns’ offense raise its performance level at training camp.
After an All-Rookie team first year in the NFL in 2012, right tackle
“That’s pretty huge because it not only helps you see it, but you’re able to counter it,” Schwartz said. “You figure out what works against it, what doesn’t. If it’s changing up something with your hands, changing something up with your footwork, you’ve got to be able to figure out what’s going to work against that type of move. Being able to see more of those in practice just allows you to work on it.”
Sheard converted to outside linebacker after leading the Browns in sacks as a defensive end the last two years, while Kruger signed with the team as a free agent, and Mingo arrived through the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Although each player is different in their approach, their mission is the same, getting to opposing quarterbacks. That has allowed Schwartz to prepare for many of the challenges he will face during the regular season.
“They’re all obviously really good at what they do, which is a challenge every day, but they’re all a little bit different, so it’s not the same type of rusher every play,” Schwartz said. “You get more variation and different moves. Jabaal specializes in something different than Kruger, who is different than Mingo. You see a little bit of everything, which is great because that’s all the stuff you’ll see on Sundays.”
Having worked against the likes of Sheard, Kruger and Mingo, Schwartz said he has gained “a better understanding” of what needs to be done to effectively neutralize the opposing team’s pass rush. By working on the fundamentals of football, Schwartz has caught the attention of first-year head coach, Rob Chudzinski during training camp.
“He has grown and improved,” Chudzinski said. “Technique-wise, he has really been working at that in this camp so far. He has really good battles going on, as all our tackles do with those outside linebackers. That is the thing that you love seeing, that kind of competition because it makes guys better. I really think he is benefiting from the guys he is going against in Jabaal and Kruger, and he is getting some reps with Mingo. I am really looking forward to him continuing to improve.”
In addition to facing new competition while working on his technique, Schwartz has been learning a new offense under the direction of coordinator Norv Turner. The Browns will run an up-tempo style of offense, something that Schwartz feels confident about heading into the season.
“It helps the offense dictate (pace) a little bit,” Schwartz said. “As offensive linemen, you kind of do whatever you’re told. You only have so much control over that type of thing. Whatever Coach Turner throws at us, we’ll be ready for it.
“That’s one of the few cardinals sins of an offensive lineman -- make the mistakes on things you can control. There’s so much that you can’t control. You don’t want to jump offsides. You don’t want to go the wrong way. You want to know what you’re doing, but that goes back to being able to see different things at practice from our guys. Everything in this game is adjustments. Being able to adapt quickly has to be a strength for an offensive lineman.”