A little more than two years have passed since Thad Lewis last wore a Cleveland Browns uniform but plenty has changed for him and his old/new team.
Lewis, who originally joined the Browns in 2011 and started the 2012 season finale, is back in Cleveland after stops in Buffalo and Houston. He's one of four quarterbacks on the roster as the Browns get rolling on their nine-week offseason workout program, which wrapped up its first week Friday.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Lewis on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing installation of John DeFilippo's offense, his connection to new Browns assistant Kurt Roper and more.
Q: What's different about the Browns now than when you were last here?
Lewis: It's just a little different upstairs. Going upstairs, it was totally different when I left. They were doing construction. You have a new philosophy, a new head coach, a new offensive coordinator, so it's exciting just to see some of the guys and see how excited they are to get the season rolling because of the success they had last year.
Q: How much of a role did the hiring of Kurt Roper, your coach at Duke, impact your signing with the Browns?
Lewis: I'm not sure how much that played a part in it, but he's been my mentor and a guy I've looked up to since the day he stepped on campus at Duke. He's been the guy to push me hard and been one of the guys to help me get to where I'm at today. I'm obviously thrilled to have him around as well as the other coaching staff, but when you have that guy you know that helped you get to this point, you obviously don't want to let him down.
Q: Walk us through what it's like for a quarterback going through this stage of the offseason workout program.
Lewis: Basically you're working out right now. You're in the meeting room and learning the playbook and learning the basics. Once you get the basics down, it kind of goes hand in hand and moves faster. It's important to get the basics down, things like formations. If you don't know the formations, you can't do anything else. It's in the learning stages now, but it's just pushing yourself every day, take that extra mile outside of when you have classroom time when you take it home so you can obviously help elevate yourself and elevate your game.
Q: How many installs of a new offense have you experienced throughout your career and how is this one unique?
Lewis: I've been through a whole bunch of installs, different offenses. This is similar to the West Coast so some of the terminology is the same. We might approach things a little differently. I've been in so many systems, it's more than the West Coast, it's combined with similar other systems. It's not bad, it's not foreign to me, so it's just about grinding and making sure you retain the information and obviously be able to play fast when you're on the field.
Q: What have you gathered from the two youngest quarterbacks in the room, Duke Johnson Jr. and Connor Shaw?
Lewis: My impression is two guys that work. These young guys come in and ask questions, working and grinding. That's what I've seen from them so far. It's hard to judge a person when you don't know them, so don't judge a book by its cover. Me getting to know them, they're cool young guys who are willing to learn.