Check out photos from the first day of joint practices with the Colts in Indianapolis by team photographer Matt Starkey
WESTFIELD, Indiana -- The barking commenced the moment players arrived on the blue carpet laid out by the Colts to welcome the Browns to Wednesday’s joint practice.
It carried on throughout the two-hour practice, as hundreds of Browns fans filled the bleachers alongside a hearty amount of Colts faithful at the sprawling Grand Park Sports Campus for a spirited late afternoon of work for two teams with lofty ambitions in 2019.
“I did not expect anything different from them,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. “We travel well. They are excited. They are passionate. They are the most passionate fans in the NFL, and I expected them to be there.”
Those fans saw a team that held its own on both ends of the field against a Colts squad that was without two of its best players, but still carried a roster full of players that experienced a Wild Card playoff victory just last season.
On offense, Cleveland, which was also without its fair share of quality players because of injuries, moved the ball well on the ground and found success through the air despite utilizing Jarvis Landry on a handful of snaps and Odell Beckham Jr. on none. For the first time all training camp, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt split a fair amount of snaps with the first-team offense, and both found running lanes thanks to a physical performance from Cleveland’s offensive line.
“Good first day’s work. We still have a ways to go,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “We have to be a little bit more physical, but I thought we tempo-ed well. We played a lot. We kept the ones in there for a long time in the ‘move the ball’ period. Did some good things, but we will see the tape.”
Defensively, the Browns’ front four -- going up against a stout Colts offensive line that was without All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson -- looked the part of a unit Kitchens believes can be a strength of the entire team. They weren’t rushing at Andrew Luck, who was sidelined with an ankle injury, but they were bringing the kind of pressure that would have made it a difficult day for a quarterback like Luck if he were on the field.
“It was a lot of fun,” defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi said. “We are turning to gel together really nicely, starting to play off each other so it is cool.
“It is cool just being able to kind of feel the guys out and understand alright, this is what (DE) Myles (Garrett) likes to do or (DE) Olivier Vernon, (DE) Sheldon (Richardson) and then just work off each other from there."
The Browns will go through a similar practice Thursday before their traditional walk-through Friday and game Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. For a team that has experienced a “culture shock” of sorts with Kitchens’ physical training camp, Wednesday was viewed as simply another day to get better.
It just happened to be in a different environment against players wearing different colored jerseys. That spiced things up just a bit on a warm afternoon hundreds of miles away from Berea.
“You get tired of practicing against the same people,” Kitchens said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to get a little measuring stick as far as what we have been doing. Practicing against somebody else is always good. It changes the competition up.”