Everyone, take a breath.
Two days after the Browns earned a 30-10 win over the Washington Redskins, they were practicing in full pads in one of the more physical sessions of camp.
They accomplished what they wanted to get done, and now they're headed to an off day we'll all enjoy.
Here are our observations from Day 13 of #BrownsCamp.
1. Kicking game on the upswing
After an up and down first 12 days of camp and one preseason game, we had our best performance from the kickers Saturday.
In game situations, each kicker was unblemished, making their individual kick attempts to finish drives that didn't reach the end zone.
“Yeah, I thought they did well," head coach Freddie Kitchens said afterward. "They had to come back and it is just consistency with those guys too. Like I said the other night, I just want it through the uprights, that is all.”
Ideally, you'd like to score a touchdown on every possession. We all know that isn't realistic, though, and value the kicker position. The Browns need to find a reliable one, and it looks as if this competition is going to get tighter in a positive way as we head toward Week 2 of preseason.
Check out photos from the twelfth day of Browns Camp by team photographer Matt Starkey
2. The pads are back
After a Friday practice that was the team's first without pads in two weeks, the Browns got back to business Saturday in full pads. There was plenty of hitting, too, and some periods with full tackling to the ground that did not exclude anyone. Starting running back Nick Chubb and wide receiver Jarvis Landry were among the numerous who took a solid tackle or two during the practice.
This makes some sense after hearing from Freddie Kitchens after the nearly two and a half hour practice. The Browns are set to leave for Indianapolis on Tuesday before engaging in back-to-back practices with the Colts. Those practices will be in pads, of course, but they won’t feature any tackling to the ground, Kitchens said.
“We will save the live stuff for the game,” Kitchens said.
3. Greedy's getting physical, too
The knock on Greedy Williams during the pre-draft process was his tackling, both from a production and willingness standpoint. From the moment Cleveland selected him in the second round, Williams has owned it and vowed to be a capable tackler.
Thursday’s preseason opener and Saturday’s practice have shown Williams can be just that.
On top of the interception he collected, Williams was credited with two tackles against the Redskins, as he played close to the line of scrimmage and made his presence felt whenever possible. On Saturday, Williams was involved in one of the hardest collisions in camp when he ran into running back D’Ernest Johnson during a Baker Mayfield scramble.
Williams doesn’t have to provide the highlight-reel hits Cleveland hopes to see from third-rounder Sione Takitaki or its other linebackers. He just has to be solid, and that’s what he’s been showing through two weeks of camp.
“It is hard in practice because you do not get a lot of live reps so it is nice to see in a live setting,” defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker said. “All you want to see is a guy willing [to tackle]. We call guys ‘Is he a willing tackler?’ I think he proved he is willing so he will continue to get better.”
4. Prepare for the Chief Slam
The first-team offense continued its positive momentum gained over the last week (and especially from its lone drive Thursday night) with a late period performance that placed some unexpected pressure on the unit.
After Jaelen Strong dropped a pair of quick passes in the end zone, the team faced fourth-and-goal from the 5. Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry shouted pre-snap adjustments to each other and the rest of the eligible pass catchers lined up on the left side before Mayfield called for a hurried snap, receiving the ball and immediately looking left. He found tight end David Njoku, who was flexed out and ran a flag route toward the back corner pylon.
At 6-foot-4, Njoku is one of the best options for Mayfield in a jump-ball scenario. It was perhaps his best skill coming out of the University of Miami. He hasn't lost it.
Kitchens liked what he saw. He just wants to see more of it.
"We just need it every day," Kitchens said of Njoku. "Like I told you guys before, I just want to know what I am getting when we go to the field and then we can plan accordingly, but if you never know what you are going to get, then it is hard to plan. I want the same guy every day, with everybody. I try to be the same person ever day. I just want everybody around me to be the same guy around me every day.”
5. Terrance Mitchell continues to shine
If Williams' involvement with the first team was intended to motivate Terrance Mitchell, consider that plan a great success.
Mitchell has been all over the field on a daily basis, making play after play in coverage. During a red-zone period Saturday, he intercepted an errant pass from Mayfield that looked more like it was intended for an open patch of grass than any one receiver. Mayfield was essentially throwing it away when Mitchell swooped in for the interception.
Mitchell added to it shortly after, playing tight coverage on Strong in the end zone and reaching up to break up a well-placed pass.
Defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker said Saturday Mitchell won't be playing slot corner, meaning the Browns essentially have three starting outside corners. That's a luxury they should enjoy, especially once we're deep into the regular season.