Fresh Takes from Training Camp

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Fresh Takes: Browns Training Camp Observations - Day 9

Cleveland gets ready for a big Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium

By design, Saturday's practice at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus was a bit more methodical and deliberate.

For starters, that meant no pads, as players went through the periods in helmets, jerseys and shorts. It also meant a slower pace to certain periods, some of which were done at a walkthrough tempo. It also meant fewer potential highlights, as the Browns went through just a handful of 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 periods.

With Sunday's Orange and Brown Practice on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in mind, Stefanski said it was simply "part of the plan" to dial things back a bit before they ramp up the next day.

Here's what else happened Saturday in Berea.

— CB Troy Hill has been the Browns' top option in the slot, but the team has also been cross-training first-round rookie Greg Newsome II at the position. That's important for a defense that struggled when last year's top slot corner, Kevin Johnson, was sidelined throughout the season. Newsome has predominantly worked on the outside while competing for a starting job, but his ability to learn multiple positions will go a long way on a defense that highly values positional versatility.

"He is going to be a great player," Hill said. "He is going to be a star in the making. He is really humble. He definitely wants to be great. I see the work ethic in him, too. I am excited to be a part of his journey and at the start of his journey."

— We mentioned Friday that Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. have worked together extensively during this training camp, particularly during special teams drills when they get an entire field to themselves. On Saturday, with Beckham getting a rest day, Mayfield went through the same routine with a group of WRs that included Rashard Higgins.

"When you are talking about the pass game in general, it is about precision and it is about being accurate when you are throwing the ball, getting the right depth, running the right route and quarterback getting the right feel for how a receiver runs a route because all the guys are different," Stefanski said. "There is great value in the work those guys are getting. It is scripted. The coaches know exactly what throws they want to get and in what order. 

"(Mayfield and Beckham), that battery has gotten a ton of great reps over there."

— It was a pre-planned rest day for T Chris Hubbard, who has looked impressive in his recovery from a serious, late-season knee injury. He appears poised to re-establish himself as the offensive line's sixth man one year after the line needed a sixth, seventh and sometimes eighth man to play significant roles.

"Hubb is doing a nice job," Stefanski said. "I think physically, he is doing really well, and then he has kind of picked up where he left off. In drills and on the field, he is looking like Hubb to me, which is a testament to the hard work he has put in to get to this point."

— Fourth-round rookie Tommy Togiai finds himself in the thick of a wide-open competition at defensive tackle. Veterans Malik Jackson and Andrew Billings have taken the lion's share of work with the first defense, but there's still a ton of time for some movement in a group that ranges from three players who have never played a down in the NFL (Togiai, Malik McDowell and Marvin Wilson) to two players who have been in the league for nearly a decade (Jackson and Damion Square).

Stefanski said he really liked what he'd seen so far from the former Ohio State star.

"Going all of the way back when he first showed up here on campus, just in the meeting room, in the weight room and on the field, he does everything that is asked of him and does it the right way," Stefanski said. "I see him getting better with some of the technique work that he is getting with Coach Kiff (defensive line coach Chris Kiffin) and (assistant defensive line) Coach (Jeremy) Garrett out there. Tommy is really putting in the work, and I am seeing it show up."

— Show up early, be ready and be loud Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. It all gets started at noon. If you can't be there, Browns Live, which can be viewed at ClevelandBrowns.com and the Browns' official YouTube channel, will have you covered.

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