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Browns-Giants joint practice: Observations from the offense - Day 1

Cleveland ends practice on a high note with last-second TD in 2-minute drill

The Browns offense's final play of Thursday's joint practice ended with a Rashard Higgins walk down the red carpet.

Talk about a nice way to wrap up a productive day that included a number of highlight catches from the team's top offensive weapons.

"I thought it was really good competition on both sides," said Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, who added he mostly spent his time watching the offense but was able to peak over and watch the defense when the teams were split between fields.

"I thought it was really competitive work. To be able to finish on a 2-minute drive, it's a big deal because in these games you can't predict if you're going to get a 2-minute drive."

Here's what else happened on the offensive side of the ball at Thursday's practice. Make sure to check out our defensive observations, too.

— Let's set the scene for Higgins' walk down the red carpet. The Browns had just 6 seconds remaining in a 2-minute drill period, and the Giants dropped nearly everyone into the end zone. Though the Giants rushed just three players, Baker Mayfield was flushed to his right and forced to heave a prayer. The ball floated into the middle of the end zone into a crowd of Browns and Giants, and Higgins was able to time his jump the best to snag the ball and cradle it to his body as he fell to the ground.

It was a touchdown, and the Browns celebrated as such. Stefanski, as mentioned above, was pleased with the result but added the caveat that Mayfield could have been sacked on the play if he were allowed to be tackled.

— Earlier in the practice, TE David Njoku made a handful of tough catches in a one-on-one period against the Giants' safeties and linebackers. On top of a jump ball grab, Njoku caught an over-the-shoulders pass that was just out of the reach of Giants S Jabrill Peppers. Njoku and Peppers, of course, were drafted just a few picks apart by the Browns in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

— Demetric Felton spent another day at running back after devoting most of his time earlier in camp to wide receiver. He made a handful of plays as a pass-catcher and was particularly difficult to cover in one-on-one drills.

— It's safe to say Jarvis Landry had a very good day. Landry was on the receiving end of at least three passes of 20 yards or more — including a highlight-reel one-hander — during an early team session and carried that momentum into the 2-minute drill period. Landry caught a pass in the middle of the field, slammed on the brakes, spun and gained an extra few yards to get the Browns closer to the end zone.

— Donovan Peoples-Jones got the Browns rolling in their 2-minute drill with a big catch across the middle.

— FB Andy Janovich took a handoff during a team period that seemed to catch the Giants defense off guard. This is worth noting for a couple of reasons. Janovich was a key player all throughout the 2020 season but he touched the ball just four times (two rushes, two receptions). On Saturday in Jacksonville, Janovich caught two passes for 22 yards and backup Johnny Stanton IV touched the ball eight times, including six carries. This is a reminder that Stefanski is a big fullback advocate, and the position remains an important one for the Browns in a time when many teams opt not to carry a single one on their rosters.

— Though he sprained his ankle during Wednesday's practice, LT Jedrick Wills Jr. played all of Thursday's practice.

— After practicing Tuesday and Wednesday, WR Anthony Schwartz worked off to the side. Stefanski said there was no setback and it was simply part of his return plan.

— Browns and Giants will be back at it Friday at 2:25 p.m. One wrinkle to expect is some additional red zone work.