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Fresh Takes from Training Camp

Fresh Takes: Browns Training Camp Observations - Day 1

Training Camp was officially back in Berea and so was the heat.

It was a bright, sunny and balmy day on the back practice fields in Berea. The Browns worked for close to two hours and looked like a team that was picking up right where it left off. The pad-less session looked a lot like the final couple of days in mandatory minicamp, as the Browns mixed in a variety of individual, seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 periods.

The pace was crisp and things periodically moved at full speed, but there was also plenty of walking and jogging when it was time for the coaches to teach and the players to listen. Even though the Browns have more continuity than they've had in years, there's still a "square one" mindset that is required for this stage of training camp.

"We've certainly established an identity on offense, defense and special teams but I truly go back to every year stands on its own merit," Stefanski said. "Just because you did it last year doesn't mean you're going to do it this year.

"Continuity is great if you can do it, oftentimes in this league it's hard to do, but it doesn't guarantee anything, either."

Here's what else you need to know from Wednesday's practice, the first of four straight before Sunday's day off.

— CB Greedy Williams' practice came to an early end for heat-related reasons. The third-year cornerback was really active during the first half of practice and made a nice play on a pass intended for Rashard Higgins during an 11-on-11 period.

Williams, a second-round pick in 2019 who started 12 games as a rookie, missed all of 2020 after suffering a shoulder injury in training camp. He's fully recovered from that injury and is competing with the likes of rookie Greg Newsome II for a starting role in Cleveland's secondary.

— WR Jarvis Landry talked earlier in the day about how refreshed he felt after a normal offseason, and he looked the part during Wednesday's practice. Landry, who is entering his eighth NFL season, was cutting sharply and made a handful of big catches. His biggest came on a double move down the sidelines that allowed him to raise the ball above his head triumphantly as he crossed into the end zone.

— Some other top moments from practice: Third-round rookie WR Anthony Schwartz made a nice catch on a deep ball from Baker Mayfield. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones made a tough catch on a dime throw down the middle of the field from QB Kyle Lauletta. The defense had a nice stand near the end of practice and let the offense hear it when they forced Mayfield to throw the ball away by bottling up all of his potential targets.

— LB Anthony Walker Jr. is officially wearing No. 4, and it's going to take some getting used to seeing a player at his position with a single digit. Walker was originally slated to wear No. 54 but opted to take advantage of a recent NFL rule change that loosened the restrictions on jersey numbers allowed at certain positions.

— Speaking of linebackers, the Browns were without both of their rookies at the position — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (reserve/COVID-19) and Tony Fields II (foot). That meant plenty of action for Walker, Mack Wilson, Sione Takitaki, Malcolm Smith and Jacob Phillips. The competition is truly wide open, and the Browns have a lot of talented options, many of whom have already logged a full year in Joe Woods' system.

As for Owusu-Koramoah, Stefanski said it was understandably not ideal to be without the second-rounder from Notre Dame for the first part of training camp but assured he was still getting plenty of good work through virtual meetings.

"We've had a lot of practice with these virtual meetings," Stefanski said. "Coach (Jason) Tarver and Coach (Ben) Bloom are doing an outstanding job of getting him up to speed and doing as much as he can without being here."

— Much like mandatory minicamp, Odell Beckham Jr. was active during stretches of individual drills and caught passes from Mayfield while the rest of the team worked on special teams. The talented Pro Bowl WR is certainly moving well as he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered midway through the 2020 season, and the Browns are slowly working him back into the swing of things.

Stefanski said he had a great meeting with Beckham on Tuesday after Beckham reported for camp. With the opener at Kansas City roughly a month and a half away, time is on the Browns' and Beckham's side as they get ready for the start of the season.

"We'll bring him along with the discretion of our doctors, our medical team and Odell — we'll see how he's feeling," Stefanski said.

— The Browns will be back in action Thursday at 2:25 p.m. Friday's practice will be the first open to fans. The team will don full pads for the first time Tuesday.

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