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5 things to know: David Lee ‘asking a lot’ out of competing Browns QBs

Posted Jun 15, 2017

Cleveland closes minicamp Thursday

1. New Browns quarterbacks coach David Lee liked what he saw from his group of four throughout OTAs and minicamp but stressed there’s a long way to go before any of them would be ready to start the season opener against Pittsburgh.

“We are competing, but as far as coming along and trying to line them up, we are still a long way from that,” Lee said. “I have been coaching quarterbacks for 43 years, and you have to get them to a game. You have to put people in the stands and in pressure situations and then we can rank them one, two, three, four a whole lot easier.”

Lee praised Cleveland’s two newest quarterbacks, veteran Brock Osweiler and rookie DeShone Kizer, while stressing each has a “long way to go” with their respective lower body fundamentals. Kizer, who received extensive action with the first-team offense throughout minicamp, sees his accuracy affected by a long stride, Lee said.

“Boy, he is all over it and then he is an array; he is all over it, and then he misses again. That has been the No. 1 thing,” Lee said. “When he gets a base and shortens his stride and he steps and throws, it is a thing of beauty.”

Lee said a shortened stride helped Cody Kessler get more power behind his passes.

“He has gotten more velocity and distance on the ball. He was always accurate, but he wasn’t always deadly accurate past 15 yards, and I think he has gotten better in that area,” Lee said. “He knows the offense the best. He knows all of Hue’s stuff.”

2. Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said he considers recently acquired veteran Jason McCourty to be both a safety and a cornerback. That’s welcome on a defense that asks its players to know at least two different spots.

McCourty, who was a cornerback during his eight seasons with the Titans, worked exclusively at cornerback during OTAs and minicamp.

Cornerbacks coach DeWayne Walker called McCourty a “great addition” to a group that is searching for depth behind Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor.

“Good experience. Good technician. Understands the game. He is a pro,” Walker said. “He has done a good job for us, and happy that he is here.”

3. The Browns did not have an update on the status of No. 1 pick Myles Garrett, who suffered a foot injury at Wednesday’s practice. The coaches closest to him, though, were more than happy to express their satisfaction with his performance to date.

Defensive line coach Clyde Simmons said the talented pass rusher has been “everything we expected.”

“He has done a great job,” Williams said. “It is still way early, but you guys are going to see a pretty good football player when he gets the chance to get out there and go. I have a big smile on my face, and I will just wait and let him show everybody before I talk about it.”

4. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said he expects a “great competition” between returning kicker Cody Parkey and rookie Zane Gonzalez.

Parkey, who was picked up before Week 3 of last season, connected on 20-of-25 kicks this past year and was a Pro Bowler as a rookie. Gonzalez, a seventh-round pick, set numerous records at Arizona State and made seven kicks from more than 50 yards as a senior.

“Both guys are really good players,” Tabor said. “They both had great springs so I am excited to see in the fall how it transpires and where they go from there.”

5. Veteran Tank Carder, who has primarily shined on special teams during his time with the Browns, has been Cleveland’s top option at middle linebacker since Demario Davis was traded to the Jets.

Asked if he’d be comfortable starting Carder at that spot in the team’s season opener, linebackers coach Blake Williams said he definitely would be.

“He is just a savvy vet who has been around the league a long time and knows things – knows things about the offense, knows things about defense and can kind of drive the ship out there and is doing a good job at that,” Williams said. “Those other two vets (LBs Jamie Collins Sr. and Christian Kirksey) can do that, as well, so they have been communicating, checking the defense and running the defense very well throughout the spring.”


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