For the first time since June, Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley met with reporters following Wednesday's walk-through on a steamy day in Berea.
The veteran coach hit on a wide variety of topics, including his memorable moments in last night's "Hard Knocks" episode, during the nearly 12-minute session. Here were the five things that stood out most.
1. He's open to the signing of a veteran receiver but is excited by the current group.
With a reported visit with former Cowboys Pro Bowler Dez Bryant set up for Thursday, Haley said Bryant would be welcomed but stressed he or any veteran receiver the team adds in the near future would be coached just like everyone else on his side of the ball. When asked if the Browns, who are without Josh Gordon (did not report) and Ricardo Louis (season-ending neck surgery), needed another veteran in the room, Haley talked up a young group that includes Rashard Higgins, Antonio Callaway, Damion Ratley and others who have impressed.
"If guys are willing to come in here – and guys with the rèsumès and pedigrees like somebody like him – of course, we are going to accept them and coach the heck out of them," Haley said. "The young group is a group to be encouraged about. There is not just one or two, there is a group of them. We are looking for a couple of guys that kind of separate themselves from the others."
2. He's encouraged by Callaway's development, but it's a 'working progress'
As detailed in Tuesday's "Hard Knocks," Haley has worked closely with Callaway, whose off-field issues were also documented throughout the episode. At one point, Haley tells Callaway "we need you." After Callaway caught a 54-yard touchdown pass against the Giants, Haley looks at Pro Bowl veteran Jarvis Landry and encourages him to take Callaway under his wing.
"I love Jarvis and what he brings to this team. He is going to be at the forefront of changing this culture," Haley said. "There is no doubt about that. Tyrod (Taylor), you could throw in that group. Jarvis is a guy that wants to win. What more could you ask from a guy is that strong, strong desire to have success and win games. The fun for us is in the winning. It is too much work if you go out there and don't experience the fun of winning. Jarvis is the type of guy that will do anything necessary to give us the best chance to get that done."
The fourth-round rookie has impressed on the field and was recently promoted to full-time work with the first-team offense. There's just a lot more to accomplish.
Country music singer Brad Paisley was in attendance for a spirited Browns practice Tuesday afternoon.
3. Taylor's comfort within his offense is starting to show.
Asked where Taylor, Cleveland's starting quarterback, has improved the most since the spring, Haley centered on his overall understanding of the offensive scheme.
"When it starts to become their real language – when there is no more translation going on – because so much of the time in this league when you have guys that come from different systems, different languages, they are translating early on. This means that," Haley said. "A lot of it is the same. But they all felt really comfortable. It made me feel good about the direction we are going. He is following the pattern of successful players. He is generally the same guy every day and he is getting just a little bit better each day. That is all that we are looking for from everybody."
4. Baker Mayfield handled the 'real bullets' against the Giants the way Haley wanted
Haley didn't think the moment was too big for Mayfield in Cleveland's preseason opener, and the rookie's production reflected it. Mayfield completed 11-of-20 passes for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns.
"He is by no means perfect, but he kept his cool, never flustered and I think it is clear to everybody that he can throw the football," Haley said. "The key for him is to just keep working, keep learning from the older guys in that room – Drew (Stanton) and Tyrod – that really give him a great chance to grow and develop."
5. He's comfortable with Cleveland's new-look offensive line.
The Browns are a little more than two weeks into using their new-look offensive line, which features former guard Joel Bitonio at left tackle and rookie Austin Corbett, a tackle in college, at left guard. The unit played eight snaps together against the Giants and is expected to play more Friday against the Bills. Corbett played with both the first- and second-team offensive line, the latter of which struggled to generate much push for the Browns' ground game.
"Every minute that (Bitonio) and 63 (Corbett) are working together is very important to us," Haley said. "He is making progress. Corbett is making progress. I feel comfortable with where we are right now, from the first five standpoint."