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Training Camp

5 observations from the Browns return to practice field

Practice is over, but the fields behind the Browns Training Facility are still being occupied.

The Browns' second annual Moms Clinic is in full swing with CBS and TNT sports reporter Allie LaForce running the show as the event's emcee. The group is being treated to a number of education opportunities, including a panel discussion and a Heads Up Football tackling clinic.

The action truly never stops in Berea.

Here's the latest from the Browns' first practice since Thursday's preseason loss to the Bills.

1) Browns return some, not all, injured players

At 6-foot-2 and 222 pounds, Dwayne Bowe stands out among the Browns wide receivers. That's why it was hard for Bowe to be conspicuous when he trotted onto the field for the first play of 7-on-7s Saturday at his first practice in more than two weeks.

After some razzing from teammates and coaches, Bowe took a quick bow and continued on with the drill.

"I feel good. First day out there," Bowe said. "Just to be out there with the guys and get some mobility. Moving around feels good."

Bowe, who was dealing with an injured hamstring, was one of a number of previously injured players to get work at Saturday's practice, which was very light and did not include contact. Running backs Duke Johnson (hamstring) and Shaun Draughn (hand) and defensive back Pierre Desir (hamstring) were also back in some capacity. Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (hamstring), defensive backs Joe Haden (hamstring), Tashaun Gipson (calf), Justin Gilbert (hip flexor) and K'Waun Williams (abdominal) remained sidelined.

Sunday's practice likely will featured increased pace and contact, so the list could look much different in 24 hours.

"When you talk about your team on paper preseason, there comes a time where you have to put that unit out there together in practice and practice together and feel that shared experience of learning the system on the field. There's no substitute for that," Pettine said. "It will be good to get those guys back and we'll be much closer to the lineup that we're going to try out there opening day."

2) Bowe confident despite missed time

Bowe doesn't know if he'll be on the field next Saturday when the Browns travel to Tampa Bay, but he's confident he'll be ready and capable of contributing when the regular season starts Sept. 13 against the New York Jets.

Bowe said he's never had a hamstring injury sideline him during the previous eight training camps he's experienced in the NFL. He couldn't remember how he even suffered the injury because it was 17 days ago.

"As a player you feel like you want to show them as much as possible, but nine years in I have enough film to understand how to play the game with live bullets," Bowe said. "The main part is just getting healthy for September and make those plays when it counts."

Still, the Browns would prefer to see Bowe on the field more than the stationary bicycle, especially with an evolving offense that has dealt with other injuries at the skill positions.

"It is a different quarterback and a new system," Pettine said. "A lot of the concepts stuff he has done before, but you have to go out there and execute it full speed with the guys you are going to be out there with. Otherwise, there will be a learning curve during the season and you don't want that."

3) Who's going to be busy on special teams?

A question about Johnson Bademosi's adjustment to cornerback got Pettine to discuss some of the nitty gritty of the Browns' special teams units, particularly when it comes to who fans can expect as regulars.

Bademosi, who was a safety last season, is right there at the top, of course.

"We all know what he is when the regular season starts," Pettine said. "He's going to be a core specialist for us and be the heart and soul of our special teams, he and (Marlon Moore)."

Pettine said Moore, a seventh-year veteran who did not catch a pass last season, will be more involved with the offense this season. On the first punt of the preseason, Moore sprinted down the field and forced a fumble.

Some of the other names mentioned by Pettine: Craig Robertson, Christian Kirksey and Tank Carder, the latter of whom won't play much on defense this season but it's "not because of a lack of ability."

"I think Tank could play for a lot of teams," Pettine said. "We are trying to find ways to get Tank out there for us."

Earlier in training camp, Pettine mentioned rookie safety Ibraheim Campbell as a potential core special teams player as well.

"I think (special teams coordinator Chris Tabor) feels pretty good about the group of specialists that we have," Pettine said.

4) The latest on Cam

After one preseason game at left tackle with the first-team offense and one at right guard with the second team, rookie Cameron Erving's future position is coming more and more into focus.

On Saturday, Pettine said guard "will ultimately be his natural spot."

"Cam has done some nice things, but it is just a matter of consistency, just making sure play in and play out. I think going against some of those guys up in (Rochester) opened his eyes a little bit to the size and speed and explosiveness of some NFL defensive linemen," Pettine said. "I think he is on track. Cam is going to be a good player for us."

Outside of one practice early in camp, Erving has taken all of his right guard snaps with the second-team offense. Veteran John Greco, who started 15 games at the position last season, has been tough to beat out for the job.

5) Other observations

  • Pettine said the Browns are still weighing their options with what to do transaction-wise with quarterback Connor Shaw, who underwent thumb surgery last week.
  • Bowe called Pryor a "specimen" and joked the former quarterback was athletic and talented enough to play defense if he wanted.
  • The Browns have two more practices, starting tomorrow, before camp breaks Tuesday.
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