Fresh Takes from Training Camp

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Fresh Takes: Observations from Day 19 of Browns training camp

We've made it.

The Cleveland Browns have officially closed their 2019 training camp.

Nineteen days of practice are in the books, capped by a jerseys-and-shorts session filled with more preparation than individual work. We'll get to more on that later.

In the meantime, find some shade or air conditioning and relax. Camp is complete. Here are our observations from Day 19 of #BrownsCamp.

1. Scout day

Freddie Kitchens wrapped up training camp by sending his players out for practice Wednesday in shorts and jerseys. It was a rare, almost startling sight. The Browns haven't gone without pads since their practice the day after their Week 1 win over Washington.

As such, most of the day -- and really, most of this week -- was spent preparing for Tampa Bay. Players routinely donned pinnies with numbers to represent the Buccaneers' playmakers (even if those guys won't end up playing) and speed was at 50 percent as more time was spent focusing on identification and assignment than full-speed execution.

This practice resembled a regular-season practice, which makes sense seeing as the regular season is two weeks away. It's time to start shifting into that mindset, even with the roster still at 90.

Check out photos from the last day of Browns Camp by team photographer Matt Starkey

2. Playing time still unknown

Freddie Kitchens has sent mixed signals about playing time for Week 3, the traditional dress rehearsal before starters are put on ice for Week 4. He said Sunday he didn't subscribe to the thought that the starters should play the majority of the Week 3 contest and somewhat reinforced such a statement Monday.

Wednesday, he went a bit in the opposite direction.

"It is not a secret. We are going to play our guys some," Kitchens said. "I do not know how long yet. We have had a good camp. It has been a good, physical camp. These guys have embraced the fact that they feel like they have been doing some things that probably other teams have not been doing. It does not matter until you start playing the games. I recognize that.

"I recognize the fact that what we do two days before a game in the preseason even and understand how that can affect someone’s body. More so than anything else, that is why I have approached training camp the way that we did. I like to get our work done right now in a controlled environment to see how much better we can get on a day-in and day-out basis. This week is a little different because you are definitely not going to do it next week. We will see."

Baker Mayfield said Wednesday he'd like to play a half of football Friday in Tampa, but he's unsure if that's the playing time he'll get. Teams across the league are varying in their approaches; Colts head coach Frank Reich, whom the Browns saw last week, had a change of heart and decided Indianapolis' starters won't play Week 3 after initially saying they would versus Chicago.

It's truly a case-by-case basis these days, but the most important part of it all is preservation of health, followed closely by physical preparation. If a team can make it through the season largely healthy, it's postseason chances are already higher than those decimated by injury. No reason to risk that in the preseason, especially with the Browns feeling pretty well prepared by their physical camp.

3. Fan turnout strong

With camp coming to a close, let's take a look back on some numbers that demonstrated the success of this training period.

We finished just five puppies shy of 500 adoptions through the Browns Puppy Pound since the program started in 2015, and more than 50 percent of ticketed fans showed up for each of the 15 open practices. The support was evident from start to finish, and Kitchens was appreciative of it Wednesday.

"I just want to start by thanking our fans," Kitchens said. "This was the last day that they come out. We tried to get as many open practices as we could. The support was tremendous as you guys probably can tell. We never lacked of any fans being out, and I think the last day was just as many as the first. It was really special."

The final attendance total from the 15 open practices: 42,190 fans, or an average of 2,813 fans per practice. Countless national outlets stopped by to check out one of the hottest topics in the NFL.

Now, it's time to put the finishing touches on the product that will begin the regular season on Sept. 8.

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