Hue Jackson 'closer' to naming starting QB; Robert Griffin III not sweating the wait
Hue Jackson said he's closer to naming a starting quarterback than he was at the start of training camp but the competition is ongoing heading into the team's first day off.
For one of the top competitors in the battle, that's no problem at all.
"You just have to focus on what you can control. There's no eagerness to it," Robert Griffin III said before Tuesday's practice. "You come out every day with the same mindset to get better, continue to prove yourself out here on the field every day and that's all you can control. You can't control when Coach makes a decision, how he makes a decision. One thing we all know is we're all going to have each other's back.
"No matter what happens, we're all going to be there for each other, we're all going to have each other's back and we're all Cleveland Browns. We're all here to do one job, and that's win."
Jackson said last week he plans to name a starter before Cleveland's preseason opener Aug. 12 at Green Bay. The Browns have six practices between Thursday and then, including a scrimmage Friday in Berea and the Orange and Brown Scrimmage on Saturday in Columbus.
Griffin III has received the bulk of repetitions with the first-team offense. Josh McCown, Austin Davis and rookie Cody Kessler have gotten regular work behind him.
"We're getting close," Jackson said. "I know you guys want to know. You guys will be the first to know, I promise you that."
Ogbah not saying goodbye to LB just yet
Rookie Emmanuel Ogbah has taken a liking to his new spot on the defensive line, and it's where he's exclusively worked through the first five practices, but the months of work he logged at outside linebacker won't go unfulfilled.
"Everything he did in the spring is still part of his game and that's kind of the beauty of having someone like that is the versatility they bring to your team," outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik said. "What he can do from a rush perspective, from a drop perspective, that will always be part of his game."
Ogbah was a 4-3 defensive end at Oklahoma State who was prepared to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Browns. Desmond Bryant's season-ending pectoral injury prompted the Browns to move Ogbah up to the five-technique, and the second-round pick has embraced it.
Slowik wouldn't rule out Ogbah being able to play both positions if necessary in 2016.
"I could see him continuing to present enough of an issue to where he can do anything like that," Slowik said. "Anything a D-lineman is asked to do, anything an outside linebacker is asked to do, he can do."
Schobert's role gains some clarity
Fourth-round pick Joe Schobert was lauded for his versatility to play as both an inside or outside linebacker coming out of Wisconsin. Through five days of practice, Schobert has primarily worked with the outside linebackers, the position he thrived at as one of the Big Ten's top defensive players.
"I'm learning things about inside, but I haven't really done any reps in practice," Schobert said. "I can watch them. We're in the same meeting room a lot, so I watch what they do and know a lot of the things they do, but I've been spending most of my time outside."
Ogbah's move to defensive line has potentially opened up some more playing time for the likes of Schobert, who also figures to have a significant role on special teams.
"You want to do your best to push your teammates to do their best," Schobert said. "If I ended up playing all the time, that would be great for me. Hopefully, that would mean that I'm the best option for the team. If I'm pushing myself, I'm pushing the other guys. If I don't end up in there, hopefully, that means that the other guy is playing his best.
"I'm just going to contribute any way I can."
Barnidge on schedule to return from injury
Tight ends coach Greg Seamon said there's a "plan in place" to get Pro Bowler Gary Barnidge fully prepared for the Browns' Sept. 11 season opener at Philadelphia.
Barnidge, who underwent sports hernia surgery during OTAs, has been active throughout the first five practices but has not participated in 11-on-11 team drills.
"We have to accomplish two things: We have to make sure that he's healthy and make sure that he gets enough work that he's ready to go," Seamon said. "His work ethic is so good that I don't sweat that much. We feel good about it. He'll be ready to go when the season starts, and he'll get some time here in the preseason."
Seamon says DeValve is 'making progress'
While the Browns roll through a number of younger players in their pursuit of a No. 2 tight end next to Barnidge, rookie Seth DeValve has yet to see the field because of a hamstring injury.
DeValve, who participated in a handful of OTAs during the spring, has been on the Physically Unable to Perform list since last week. It's unclear when he'll be ready to come off the list.
Seamon isn't too concerned about the fourth-rounder potentially falling behind on the mental side of the game but stressed there is no substitute for on-field repetitions.
"Well, if he hadn't gone to Princeton, I'd be worried if he would fall behind the rest of the pack, from an assignment standpoint," Seamon said. "But certainly, you have to practice to earn your spot on the field. He wants to get out there as badly as anybody. He's making progress. We're kind of in a day-to-day mode, I think right now. It's a fine line. If we put him out there too soon and he reinjures it, then we lose him for more time. I want him to be well, and then I want him to be available.
"He wants that, too, and he's working hard at it. Hopefully within the next few days we get to see him out there more."