Fresh Takes from Training Camp

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Fresh Takes: Observations from the offense on Day 1 of joint practices with Colts

WESTFIELD, Ind. -- We’re splitting up the observations today because there was so much ground to cover at the expansive setup here at Colts training camp.

For a look at how Cleveland's defense fared, check out Nick Shook's observations. Here’s what we saw Wednesday when the Browns offense squared off against the Colts defense.

1. Browns’ ‘other’ WRs taking advantage of big opportunities

Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t participate in team drills and Jarvis Landry only saw a handful of snaps, setting up yet another day where the team’s other wide receivers got a lot of work with Baker Mayfield and the first-team offense.

The results were, yet again, a positive reflection of the team’s depth at the position.

Rashard Higgins rode the momentum from his big game last week against the Redskins and another productive practice Monday into Wednesday’s session, having his way during one-on-one drills and catching a handful of first-down passes in team drills. This is nothing new between Mayfield and Higgins, who cooked up a strong rapport last year during training camp when both were on the second-team offense.

“You have guys that have their role, and he knows that he's a back shoulder guy,” Mayfield said. “He's got have those choice routes down and have the right decisions so he knows where he's going to be. That's what he's realized, and he's taken advantage of that.”

Check out photos from the first day of joint practices with the Colts in Indianapolis by team photographer Matt Starkey

It hasn’t just been Higgins, though, as undrafted free agent D.J. Montgomery has strung together a number of good practices to go along with the touchdown he caught against the Redskins. He made one of the best catches of the day during a red zone period, hauling in a pass in the corner of the end zone and dragging both feet to secure the touchdown.

Montgomery was once perceived as a longshot to crack Cleveland’s 53-man roster, but that may not be the case anymore.

“I told you guys a couple weeks ago, I just want to know what I'm going to get when I go out. We're looking for consistency,” Kitchens said. “A lot of guys fall into that. This is the time of year to try work on that consistency. He has been looking good.”

Jaelen Strong and Derrick Willies continued to receive plenty of work with the first-team offense and both stood out during one-on-ones. Strong made a couple of nice grabs in team drills, too.

2. Harris, Hunt getting back in swing of things

Wednesday provided the biggest look yet at what the Browns offense will look like when Kareem Hunt returns from his eight-game suspension, and it was certainly encouraging.

After a few plays with Chubb as the main back, Hunt spelled him and promptly picked up big yards on a handful of carries. He also made plays in the passing game, catching a screen with one hand and picking up big yards on another.

“I thought he looked pretty good for not playing any reps up to this point,” Kitchens said. “He broke out on a few, and showed some speed and all those things you see on tape when he's actually playing the game. He's been good in pass protection, and he's about where I want him to be.”

Tight end Demetrius Harris returned to the practice field Saturday and was arguably at his best Wednesday. With David Njoku sidelined because of a knee injury, Harris was the point man at the position. His catch-and-run across the middle early in practice was the longest Browns’ passing play of the day, and he came up big a handful of other times.

“He's a guy that can go up and get it, and we're just expanding on his run-blocking ability and growing within the offense,” Mayfield said. “He's a guy that can make some plays that not everybody can.”

3. Right guard competition far from over

Eric Kush continued to take the majority of repetitions at right guard with the starting unit, but the Browns made it clear near the end of practice they’re keeping their options open.

At one point, three different players filled the spot during a red zone drill. That group included sixth-round rookie Drew Forbes who got a look at the position at Monday’s practice, too. Kendall Lamm and Bryan Witzmann also received some snaps.

“I never said we weren't rotating,” Kitchens said. “We haven't put out starting lineup yet. We haven't put depth charts out. We're trying to run the right combinations and see who does the job.”

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