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Training Camp

Browns rookie Nate Orchard says marriage boosted his football skills

Nate Orchard exploded onto the national scene at Utah with 18.5 sacks during his senior season. The year before, Orchard had 3.5 sacks and his NFL potential was considered limited.

What changed? How was Orchard able to take such a drastic jump?

"Marriage," Orchard said point-blank to reporters Sunday after a Browns training camp practice.

With wife Maegan and daughter Katherine Mae in the fold at Utah, Orchard dedicated himself to football like he never had before. More intensified workouts, more studying of new techniques with coaches and, most of all, a relentless Play Like a Brown-style of effort on the field.


"I always tell this: It's a mentality; you have to go in with the right mentality," Orchard said. "Going into my senior year, being married, having a kid, growing up so much just in those one or two years, I realized that football is going to help me provide for my family and to take that next level I have to go in with the right mindset.

"I went to the coaches, talking to them, they helped me getting the right help and helping my pass rush game. That's just why I did so well senior year."

Orchard intends to keep playing for the future of his family, but senior year is over now. At the NFL level, any accolades and praise received in college are considered like a blue ribbon with the saying Thanks for your participation.

Because fellow Scott Solomon has kept the momentum rolling in camp and because Barkevious Mingo looks not only healthy but also faster in space as a coverage linebacker, Orchard has seen most of his training camp repetitions with the second-team defense. Right after training camp practice, the coaching staff reviews the film and gives each player a report card with a plus or a minus sign for each play.

Orchard has learned it's much tougher to get those positive checkmarks in the NFL.

"Little things like footwork, hand placement are the biggest thing," the rookie outside linebacker said. "Not getting reached on run blocks and things like that. Those little things can make a huge difference, getting around the edge, things like that.

"Every day just have to keep looking at those notes and fixing those mistakes going into the next practice. There's so much on the table so every day you just have to keep building and building."

Orchard's role and snap-counts are still being determined but it's worth pointing out the Browns are occasionally letting him rush the passer with his hand in the dirt, as opposed to standing up in the traditional outside linebacker role. Yet again, another example of this coaching staff tapping into a players skillset and fitting it within the scheme.

"We've played him a lot out of position when we've been in shorts just to get him work at coverage," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "He wasn't asked to do a lot of it in college, and we're not going to ask him to do a lot of it. While we have the opportunity in shorts, we got him that work. His primary deal will be hand down or in the two-point setting the edge and rushing the quarterback."

Photos from Day 4 of Browns Training Camp

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