Five things to know about Day 2 of the Browns’ OTAs, which were open to the news media...
- It’s been roughly two months since Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor was traded to Cleveland and even less since he’s been able to workout with his new teammates. So far, though, the dynamic veteran signal-caller has already earned the respect of his peers, both young and old. That continued Wednesday as the Browns continued their first week of organized team activities.
Taylor, who spent the past three seasons with Buffalo and helped the Bills snap a 17-year playoff drought last season, said it’s an ongoing process “but the more you show leadership on the field and in the locker room even in the weight room and in the building, the easier it is that you grab everyone and let them know you’re the leader.”
Taylor, 28, brings a track record of production and winning to Cleveland. Since joining the team, Browns coach Hue Jackson has made clear Taylor is their starting quarterback.
- Another new face to the team’s locker room is wide receiver Jarvis Landry, a three-time Pro Bowler in Miami and the league’s receptions leader a year ago. Landry gives Cleveland’s offense a versatile weapon and fiery competitor. The latter of those dynamics showed when asked if he agreed with his ranking (No. 52) in the NFL’s Top 100 Players list.
“Of course not. My goal is to eventually be No. 1,” Landry said with a wide smile. “Honestly, it’s an honor to be recognized among all of the top players in this league, to be recognized in the top 100, but I think for any competitor … I know me, I want to be first.”
Landry should emerge as one of Taylor’s top targets next fall along with wide receiver Josh Gordon and third-year wideout Corey Coleman.
- The early returns on Cleveland’s new-look offense seem to be positive. After finishing with one of the league’s worst units last season, Jackson tabbed offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who spent the past six years with the Steelers, to turn around a group now brimming with young talent. “It’s a player-driven offense and I believe we have the weapons and talent on the offensive side of the ball to make explosive ways,” Taylor said. “It allows everyone to be free.”
“The main thing out of Coach Haley is get the guys the ball, get the playmakers the ball,” Landry added. “This offense does that.”
- Second-year safety Jabrill Peppers expects to play more in the box after a rookie campaign that needed the former Michigan standout to line up deep in Cleveland’s defensive secondary. That’s partly because the Browns overhauled the group by trading for free safety Damarious Randall and drafting former Ohio State star cornerback Denzel Ward, among other acquisitions.
Peppers, the 25th overall pick in 2017, is expected to play strong safety for Cleveland next season but will do whatever the coaching staff needs of him. He’s eager to see what a new-look secondary can do in his second year. “There’s a lot more speed out there with the acquisition of everybody,” he said.
- Duke Johnson Jr. was among a few bright spots on the Browns last season, leading the team with more than 1,000 all-purpose yards. At the end of the year, he expressed a desire to remain with the club long-term and reiterated that Wednesday. “It’s going well,” said Johnson, who enters the final year of his rookie contract. “I’m very optimistic. I believe that, not only the staff, but the front office wants me here. It’s just about both sides coming to an agreement."
Johnson, a third-round pick in 2015, is the longest-tenured member of a backfield that added Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb in the offseason.