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Training Camp

5 observations from Day 7 of Cleveland Browns training camp

One week of training camp down, one to go before Cleveland shifts from the practice fields in Berea to FirstEnergy Stadium for its preseason opener against the Redskins.

A big change of scenery Friday in Columbus promises to break things up nicely.

Here's the latest from Browns camp.

1) Pettine identifies under-the-radar players who have impressed

The first answer to the question was expected. The second necessarily was not.

After Thursday's practice, Browns coach Mike Pettine fielded a question about unheralded standouts through the first week of training camp. This was an important question for a coach of a team that has shown it will keep and play the best 53 players, regardless of how they joined the organization.

Pettine was quick with his first name, tight end E.J. Bibbs. The undrafted signee from Iowa State has received regular recognition dating back to OTAs and has worked his way into a considerable number of important repetitions.

The other name came from the second-team offensive line, as Pettine singled out right tackle Michael Bowie, who missed all of 2014 with a shoulder injury. The former starter on Seattle's Super Bowl champion offensive line has dropped a bunch of weight since his surgery and has been an impressive, physical presence since the Browns put on pads Saturday. That aspect of his game was something he couldn't show at OTAs and mini-camp, but it's been on display over the past few days.

"This is a guy that sat out all last year and that's tough to be in the building and be injured," Pettine said. "You just feel like -- because nobody knows what to say to you so it's a very quiet world you live in. You feel very much alone that way. Here's a guy that just worked and worked and really transformed his body. If you watch the tape, he's so much quicker than he was before, even from the spring. Here's a guy that's pushing to be a part of what we do. That's a credit to him."

2) Injury bug continues to bite leading into Orange and Brown scrimmage

Coming off the heels of the news linebacker Barkevious Mingo had undergone knee surgery, the Browns saw two more players, defensive back Pierre Desir and tight end Kevin Haplea, leave the practice field with unspecified injuries Thursday.

Pettine said running back Glenn Winston, who hadn't practiced since the start of training camp, also underwent knee surgery.

Running backs Terrance West (calf), Duke Johnson Jr. (hamstring) and safety Tashaun Gipson (unspecified) were among those who did not practice Thursday. Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (hamstring) did not practice and will not participate in Friday's scrimmage, but the Ohio State alum will make the trip, Pettine said.

3) Unheralded receivers continue to make big plays

One of the biggest plays of the day involved the smallest player on the field.

Five-foot-6 wide receiver Shane Wynn, a Cleveland native who joined the roster after OTAs, darted across the middle of the end zone and jumped to snag a pass from Johnny Manziel to give the offense a touchdown during an 11-on-11 red zone drill. One day earlier, he beat his defender with a double move and caught a 50 yard pass for one of the longest pass plays of training camp.

"He's a guy that I think, for obvious reasons, gets overlooked just because of his stature and all he does is come out here and work and look to make plays," Pettine said. "He's done a nice job because we brought him in late, so he was a little bit behind as far as learning the system. Credit to him, he was able to pick it up quick, he knows what to do. When he gets a chance to make a play he makes it."

And it hasn't been just Wynn who, among the Browns' cluster of undrafted wide receivers, has made a number of big plays.

Josh Lenz and Darius Jennings have shined with the second-team offense and have routinely been on the receiving end of touchdowns in red zone drills. At one point Thursday, Jennings ran a play with the rest of the first-team offense.

"There's a lot of guys competing for probably a few spots," veteran wide receiver Brian Hartline said. "I can't say enough about those guys. Darius is getting better, Wynn is getting a lot better, Darius is always making plays.

"I think special teams will be a big part of it, their work ethic if it becomes a practice squad situation, but they all work hard. They all want to get better. They're always feasting for knowledge and asking questions. It's still early, but a lot of guys are doing a lot of good things."

4) Browns linemen get their kicks

Alex Mack ended the madness.

The Pro Bowl center was the 11th lineman to attempt a 25-yard field goal at the end of practice in a competition to determine which side of the ball would wear the orange and brown camouflage jerseys. The kick was slow to develop, but it had just enough distance and the necessary accuracy to clear the uprights in the right spot.

With a chance to extend the contest, defensive lineman Phil Taylor missed … badly.

"Our backup kicker is not in the O-Line room or in the D-Line room," Pettine said.

The defense still holds the lead in post-practice competitions, 3-2.

5) Other observations

  • With Desir out and Joe Haden resting near the end of practice, Justin Gilbert worked with the first-team defense during the Browns' final set of 11-on-11 drills.
  • With Malcolm Johnson out again with a shoulder injury and Luke Lundy sidelined with a concussion, Bibbs occasionally lined up at fullback Thursday. "He has that skillset that he can handle some of that interior blocking, his interior blocking assignments," Pettine said. "All of the receiving stuff, that's his strong point. We've got to get him coached up a little bit better with the other jobs, that's certainly a void now with (DB) Malcolm (Johnson) out
  • Celebrity chef Michael Symon took in Thursday's action from the sidelines.
  • Gilbert, Travis Benjamin, Shaun Draughn and Taylor Gabriel took turns at kick returner during a special teams drill.
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