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Schwartz works at his craft

Posted Jul 30, 2012

Mitchell Schwartz has spent his first few days of training camp competing against some of the Browns’ best pass-rushers.

Competing against good talent is one way to get better on the football field.

In the case of Cleveland Browns rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, competing against the best means lining up against defensive end Jabaal Sheard every day in practice. Schwartz is working to improve on his technique while playing against Sheard, who was an All-Rookie Team selection by Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America after registering 8.5 sacks last fall.

“He’s a great player,” Schwartz said of Sheard. “He’s got a little bit of everything. He’s got the speed and the quickness; he’s good with his hands; he’s also got some power to him. He’s a pretty complete player. You can’t just prepare for one move against him because he can do so many different things. He really tests you. It’s great to have a guy like that to go against every day. He’s one of the better rushers in the league, a guy that can do everything, so you’ve got to be prepared for everything.”

Second-year Browns coach Pat Shurmur has noticed Schwartz’s ability to take the classroom instruction and apply it to his field work against Sheard.

“I think he’s very smart,” Shurmur said. “He’s very good with his technique and the better the player you go against in practice, the quicker you’ll develop. I think those matchups were good. A couple times there today, we had guys wide open and really, Mitchell did a nice job of stopping the pass rush. Then, Jabaal just reached up and batted the ball. He competes very well and I think he’ll benefit from playing against Jabaal.”

While working against Sheard, Schwartz is competing for playing time at right tackle with veteran Oniel Cousins. Cousins played in four games and started the season opener for the Browns in 2011 after the team claimed him off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens.

Cousins had played in 26 career games with four starts in three seasons with the Ravens (2008-10), who made him a third-round pick (No. 99 overall) out of the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) in the 2008 NFL Draft.

“I don’t expect to come here and get the job handed to me,” Schwartz said. “I know you have to work for it. It’s probably a bad idea to just hand it to someone and the guy behind him is playing better. You want to put your best guys on the field. It’s my job to prove to them that I’m one of the best five linemen.”

By literally working from the ground up, Schwartz plans on proving to the coaches that he is one of the team’s top offensive linemen.

“It all starts with your feet and your foundation,” Schwartz said. “You’ve got to get your feet down, have a good set, have a good base to you and then, with the feet, it kind of ties into the hands. It’s really who owns the other guy’s chest. If you can get your hands inside on a guy, most of the time, you’re probably going to end up winning. It’s just getting the feet and hands to be timed up right and to have a good punch on the guy to get fitted well. From there, it’s just finish.”

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