1) *Josh McCown was slinging the rock*
Mike Pettine told us last week minicamp would be a "best hits" in terms of the play-calling and it sure looked that way. McCown said this is the best day the offense has had all spring and much of that was because of his performance Tuesday. Multiple 45-yard throws down the sideline went for touchdowns and crossing patterns over the middle were successful against the normally stingy Browns secondary. McCown, in particular, looks like he's developed a rhythm with Andrew Hawkins. After one touchdown pass in which Hawkins beat Pro Bowler Joe Haden in coverage, an energized McCown ran up to linebacker Paul Kruger and said, "I had that ball on a yo-yo."
McCown said part of the inconsistencies during OTAs had to do with one player, here and there, busting a play up. Now with more time, some of those issues are being cleaned up.
"We got good work in," McCown said. "It's making sure everyone is on the same page and that we are executing on a high level. We captured that today a little bit. It's something we have to build on."
2) *Danny Shelton made his debut with the veterans*
Cleveland's 339-pounder graduated from the University of Washington on Saturday, flew into Cleveland on Sunday, passed a physical Monday and threw on his No.71 jersey Tuesday for his first work alongside Phil Taylor and the rest of the team's veterans.
There will be a learning curve for Shelton this week at mini-camp. Defensive line coaches Anthony Weaver and Tony Tuioti have been long-distance coaching Shelton, and the rookie has gravitated toward both Taylor and Ishmaa'ily Kitchen in the classroom. When he wasn't finishing up his college coursework, Shelton took up MMA training several times a week to work on his fitness. He's stayed busy.
Shelton knows this will be a big week for him to prove to teammates he can be a contributor this season.
"Obviously there's going to be some slack," Shelton said. "But at the same time coach Tony, he's been there with me these past two days just making sure I have all the plays down."
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3) *The slot receiver position has been a fluid and exciting situation *
Players who lined up as a slot receiver on Tuesday: Running back Isaiah Crowell, tight end Rob Housler and wide receivers Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, Taylor Gabriel, Hawkins and Rodney Smith. Instead of running rigid, baseline formations, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has displayed his creativity in June. Cleveland is running a matchup-style passing attack, and it's looking like who plays where will be constantly in flux to throw off the opponent.
4) *A few injuries – but nothing serious*
Safety Tashaun Gipson (hamstring), defensive back Tramon Williams, Taylor and rookie offensive lineman Cameron Erving spent a healthy portion of mini-camp on the exercise bike and taking mental reps from the sidelines. Pettine said none of the injuries are expected to linger into late July when training camp begins. Center Alex Mack (leg) shared snaps with Ryan Seymour, which Pettine viewed as a big positive.
5) *Other notes*
*Randy Starks seems to have upped the intensity of the other defensive lineman during practice. The 12th-year veteran attacks practice dummies like it's Week 12 against the Ravens.
*The first-team defensive line rotation played a bunch together on Tuesday: Desmond Bryant-Starks-Kitchen. Weaver has said the Browns would like to develop hockey lines to build continuity with certain groups. More on this to come.
*Glenn Winston, Luke Lundy and Shaun Draughn are not going to go quietly in competing for the fourth running back slot. All three can catch passes out of the backfield, shed tackles and, most importantly, play special teams. Carries may not be plentiful, but there seems to be a role on the team for one of these three.
*Scott Solomon continues to take nearly every first-team repetition at outside linebacker next to Paul Kruger while Barkevious Mingo continues to recover from shoulder surgery.
*Pettine said the coaching staff will evaluate every single player on the roster following mini-camp to get a gauge on where things stand. One discussion could revolve around getting safety Jordan Poyer playing time in certain packages. The safety has received constant praise from coaches and teammates throughout the spring and has been effective as a blitzer, too.