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Training Camp

5 observations from Day 9 of Cleveland Browns training camp

The sun was shining again and the humidity was up for the Browns' return to the Berea Training Facility.

After a relatively light, yet still important two-hour practice, here's what you need to know following Cleveland's Sunday work session.

1) Some deeper thoughts on Friday's scrimmage

Mike Pettine was swarmed by reporters less than 10 minutes after Friday's Orange and Brown scrimmage came to a close. While his answers then provided some good insight on what transpired, he had much more to say Sunday after spending the past 24 hours analyzing the more than 50 plays Cleveland ran in front of more than 49,000 fans at Ohio Stadium.

The good news: Pettine liked what he saw from an "operation" standpoint. That includes everything that transpires before the snap, all the way to substituting in and out of the huddle. That's particularly good news for the offense, which is working under a new coordinator and using different terminology than last year.

The bad news: Pettine was hoping to see more physicality in the Browns' first, true tackling practice session.

"I thought we were productive, guys had the chance to make plays and they made plays. The physicality stuff is something I think we need to improve on," Pettine said. "It's sometimes hard when you're going against yourself, talking about being a good teammate and not pushing guys over piles but I didn't think we tackled extremely well. It's not a surprise being it was really the first time, other than the goal line day, that we tackled but that has to improve. Then offensively finishing blocks, I think we're good early, we engage guys early and we're letting guys off late so that will be a point of emphasis with them."

The Browns were off Saturday and didn't wear pads Sunday during a practice that did not include any full speed, 11-on-11 drills. Expect the speed and physicality to ramp up at Monday's two-and-a-half hour practice.

2) A one-for-one swap at RB and other injury notes

The Browns backfield Sunday included Terrance West for the first time in more than a week. West, who led Cleveland with 673 rushing yards last season, had been dealing with a calf injury.

West's return just didn't have much impact on the distribution of repetitions at running back, as Shaun Draughn sat out with an injured hand. Pettine said Draughn's hand would be in a cast for a few days before it's re-evaluated.

"It's nothing serious where he's definitely out with it," Pettine said. "Just have to wait a couple days to determine the best course of treatment for it."

Rookie running back Duke Johnson Jr., who hasn't practiced in more than a week, won't be available for Thursday's preseason opener against Washington.

Defensive back Pierre Desir (hamstring), wide receivers Dwayne Bowe (hamstring), Terrelle Pryor (hamstring) and Rodney Smith (unspecified) and fullback Malcolm Johnson (shoulder) were among the other notable players sidelined Sunday.

"If they don't go Tuesday," Pettine said, "more than like they will be held out Thursday."

3) Cameron Erving picks up some repetitions with the first-team offensive line

Danny Shelton started receiving some work with the first-team defensive line last week and fellow first-round pick Erving followed his lead Sunday when he worked next to Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz at right guard.

John Greco, last year's starter who previously took all of the first-team repetitions, worked as the second-team center.

This development was part of offensive line coach Andy Moeller's long-term plan and is not to be viewed as any sort of change in hierarchy. Pettine said to expect Erving, who has taken snaps at right guard and left tackle through the first part of training camp, to receive some work at center in the coming days.

4) Armonty Bryant's work with OLBs continues -- even if it's not obvious

Observers of practice have rarely seen Bryant working exclusively with the outside linebackers, but Pettine has maintained that his work with the group continues and remains a positive development while Bryant works back from a knee injury.

Outside linebackers coach Brian Fleury explained why the new wrinkle to Bryant's game hasn't been as obvious as the other players who are making position switches.

"Coach (Tony) Tuioti and coach (Anthony) Weaver are just as knowledgeable about the techniques involved in playing outside linebacker as I am, so a lot of the technique work he gets over there with the D-line," Fleury said. "It's only when he's asked to do some cover stuff, which the rest of the D-line isn't going to spend time doing, then he'll come over with me and get a little bit of reps with my position group. There's plenty of time where he's working outside linebacker techniques just over there with the D-line."

Bryant has almost exclusively lined up with his hand in the dirt for pass-rushing situations, so coverage responsibilities likely won't be a big part of his game this season. Fleury said Bryant had the athleticism to handle it, but defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil likely wouldn't put him in that kind of situation.

5) Other observations

  • Pettine said there was not a clear, No. 3 quarterback on the roster between Connor Shaw and Thaddeus Lewis.
  • WR Josh Lenz, who caught a touchdown pass at Friday's Orange and Brown scrimmage, said he developed some chemistry with Johnny Manziel near the end of OTAs. "It wasn't much, but just a few passes here and there in one on ones and seven-on-sevens and stuff like that," Lenz said. "Earning the trust of the quarterback. Like I said it goes back to knowing your job doing it right and earning the trust of the quarterback. You can really earn chemistry with any quarterback."
  • Running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery said it was tough to see Draughn go down with an injury because of how well he was playing and how he was mentoring Johnson Jr. "Draughn was showing him how to do certain things," Montgomery said. "I am going to miss him right now until he gets back out on the field."
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