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Training Camp Story of the Day

5 things we learned from Andrew Berry's training camp news conference

Berry took the podium after the Browns wrapped up their second day of practice at The Greenbrier


WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Browns EVP of Football Operations and GM Andrew Berry met with reporters after the Browns completed their second training camp practice — and first with helmets — on the fields at The Greenbrier. 

The practice was still light (the Browns have yet to run their first team drills since their arrival in West Virginia), but Berry still provided some interesting insight to set the table for the upcoming season.

Here are some of the top points of Berry's podium session.

1. Browns believe they have 'best pass rush in the league'

One major area Berry constantly focused on all offseason was the defensive line, which will boast at least two new starters and established players in DT Dalvin Tomlinson and DE Za'Darius Smith.

That work, Berry believes, will pay off for the Browns in a huge way, especially with new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz creating the schemes and with Myles Garrett leading the group.

"With Jim and his scheme, the defensive line in this system is the engine," Berry said. "As he always says, he takes the seatbelt off for those guys, and it's about generating negative plays, forced errors, and turnovers, and it starts with the D-Line wreaking havoc and putting a premium on pass rush ability.

"That fits Myles to a T, and we think we have the best pass rush in the league. This is a match made in heaven."

The Browns certainly believe they have the potential to back that up and make a substantial climb from their 34 sacks last season, which ranked tied for 28th in the league. 16 of those sacks came from Garrett, who has a real possibility to eclipse that number, a single-season franchise record, with Smith and Tomlinson also garnering heavy attention from blockers.

Schwartz has no shortage of possibilities in how he could position the D-line, too, and that's largely because Smith is capable of playing inside. That could be a common look for the Browns on key downs, which would also allow them to deploy DE Ogbo Okoronkwo, who was signed in free agency, to play on the outside.

"The appeal of (Smith) is his versatility," Berry said. "I think oftentimes people think that we think of him as an edge guy, but I think really where he's particularly skilled is his ability to rush inside over a guard or center. Having someone who can win on the inside creates so much versatility to create advantageous matchups to rush the passer."

Check out photos of the team conducting a field workout at the Greenbrier

2. Deshaun Watson in 'really good place'

The progress of QB Deshaun Watson has been one constant theme multiple coaches and players have remarked on over the offseason, and Berry can be added to that list now, too.

"He's in a really good place," he said. "I think this is going to be a big year for him professionally and personally. We think he's in great shape physically."

Watson has shown several signs of progress both in comfort and talent compared to a year ago, when the uncertainty of a suspension loomed over the start of training camp due to him violating the league's personal conduct policy.

The uncertainty of whether Watson would be able to start in Week 1 wasn't an easy element to endure as the three-time Pro Bowler was beginning a new era of his career, but his upbeat body language and constant smiles as he's interacted with teammates since spring practices began have suggested he's feeling more confident and prepared to lead the offense.

"He's been really good on the field and I love what he's done off the field," Berry said. "So we're excited about him. We're looking forward to seeing how the next weeks play out and as we get into the season."

3. Browns 'hopeful' to get Goodwin back

Berry extended his best wishes to WR Marquise Goodwin after it was revealed Friday that he would miss the start of training camp — and potentially longer — with blood clots.

"First and foremost with Marquise, our priority is making sure that he's safe and healthy," Berry said. "From my perspective, I feel like we are very thankful that he spoke up at the time that it really popped up in the spring, right at the end of minicamp."

Speaking up, which Berry said could've been an easy thing for Goodwin to avoid since the team was about to take off for a six-week break, allowed the Browns to exercise the proper precautions and diagnose the issue.

And even though the news was difficult to hear, it led to Goodwin being able to find the right treatment and create a plan, one that will still allow him to be around the team.

"It's something that would have been an unknown that hopefully would not have caused more complications in the future," Berry said. "We're just thankful that he said something and we were able to get him on the treatment plan to get back on track. Obviously, there's not a definitive timetable. We're hopeful that we can get him back, but our primary concern is just his health."

4. Adding a DT?

Despite the moves the Browns have completed across their defensive line, one position on the roster that still could be poised for more additions is the defensive interior, where just one player, Tomlinson, has maintained success at the NFL level.

The Browns have a few players who could break out in the spot next to him — Jordan Elliott is entering his fourth season but is still just 25 years old, while Maurice Hurst and Trysten Hill were two free-agent signings who had promise entering the NFL but have had their careers limited by injuries. Third-round DT Siaki Ika is a candidate to carve a big role, too.

Could the Browns add another veteran to the shuffle? Berry didn't rule it out, but he isn't in a rush to decide, either.

"I think one of the big things that we do early in training camp is really just assess the roster," he said. "We haven't seen a lot of our players in pads in a new defensive system. We do like a number of the individuals that we have in that room currently."

The Browns will bring a realistic playing environment to their defense at some point this week when they strap the pads on for the first time in training camp. That will allow Berry and the coaching staff to better scout what they have in that part of the defensive line — and whether more help may be needed.

"We like the mix of players that we have across all positions," Berry said. "We'll see how we feel as we come to the middle of camp and then reassess the roster from there."

5. A 'thank you' to the logistics staff

Berry made sure to begin his news conference with a message to everyone who worked diligently to coordinate the team's travel plans to The Greenbrier.

The logistics certainly were no easy task, as the team essentially moved everything they would need for a normal training camp practice some 370 miles down south. Training equipment, field equipment and team apparel all had to be shipped and living accommodations for both football and business staffers had to be planned well in advance of the trip to the remote area of the Allegheny Mountains.

"You all can see how beautiful it is out here," Berry said. "It's my first time, but it's been awesome, and I actually want to start off with a couple of thank yous because I don't think people realize how hard it is to move your entire football operations to a remote location here obviously, in West Virginia.

"It starts with (Senior Vice President of Operations) Phil Dangerfield, (Director of Team Logistics & Operations) Abir Chaudhry and (Manager of Team Logistics) Chavis Cook for handling everything logistics related. Our equipment group is led by (Director of Equipment Operations) Brad Melland. Our video crew is led by (Video Director) Rob Pavlas, and what we think is the best grounds crew in the NFL. They all did a great job of making sure the setup here is exactly what we need."

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