Fresh Takes from Training Camp

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Fresh Takes: On-Field Observations from Day 6 of Browns Training Camp

The Browns left the pads in the locker room(s) for their final practice of a grueling five-day stretch.

Those, simply, are the rules as the league looks out for the best interest of the players as they reacclimate themselves after an offseason away from the football field.

"We thought long and hard about this camp and how we wanted to acclimate these guys and safely do it," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said before Thursday's practice. "We will abide by the rules of the NFL, but we will also use all of the information at our disposal to make sure that we are having a very productive and safe camp."

Here's what stood out most from Thursday's session.

1. A big play before the break

The defense posted some big days — and it had a number of big plays Thursday, including a Denzel Ward pick-six — but the biggest play of camp thus far was an offensive one that served as a nice send-off before Friday's off day.

After connecting with his running backs and tight ends on a number of short passes throughout the practice, Baker Mayfield uncorked a deep ball to a double-covered Odell Beckham Jr. The star receiver leapt up and snagged the pass away from DBs Donovan Olumba and Sheldrick Redwine for the longest connection of training camp for the first-team offense.

Mayfield and the offense — which continued to be without RB Nick Chubb (concussion), C JC Tretter (knee) and was missing RT Jack Conklin (rest) for Thursday's practice — found much more success during the red zone periods compared to Wednesday. One of Mayfield's best throws came on a rollout to his right that led to a toe-tapping catch by Jarvis Landry in the corner of the end zone. Landry, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, alternated practice days this week.

Kareem Hunt continued to make the most of his snaps with the first team, breaking off a handful of big runs and showing the kind of burst and elusiveness that has made him one of the league's best at the position.

"I feel really good," Hunt said. "I am not bothered by my injuries; I had an injury coming in the last year. I feel good. Body feels good."

Check out photos from the sixth day of Browns Camp

2. Sight for sore eyes

Pro Bowl pass rusher Myles Garrett participated in his first practice of this training camp. He'd been sidelined by what's been described as a minor hamstring injury.

Garrett did not participate in team drills but was active during the individual periods.

Over the past two practices, Porter Gustin has filled the void on the left side of the defensive line. Gustin signed with the Browns midway through last season when the defensive line was decimated by injuries and Garrett's suspension. He finished the season with seven tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery and has carried that experience into 2020. Gustin has been all over the field and, most importantly, in the backfield on a regular basis.

3. Contingency plans

Without CB Kevin Johnson on the field Thursday and into the foreseeable future, the Browns turned to M.J. Stewart Jr. in the slot. The former second-round pick was claimed via waivers just a few days before the start of training camp. Donnie Lewis Jr., a seventh-round pick in 2019, and undrafted rookie A.J. Green have also emerged as options at a position Johnson was playing so well through the first five days of camp.

Stefanski indicated the Browns would attack Johnson's absence with a by-committee approach.

"The nice part of having an 80-man roster is we have a bunch of guys that we are going to try in there," Stefanski said. "Even prior to this, we have been working a lot of guys in there. I think you will see a pretty good rotation of guys in there."

4. Here and There

  • With Jamie Gillan out for a second consecutive day because of an illness, veteran backup QB Case Keenum served as the holder during a lengthy field goal period. Austin Seibert connected on most of them, including his longest attempt at the end.
  • WR Damion Ratley (groin), who has not practiced since Day 1, and DT Larry Ogunjobi (groin) remained sidelined. S Karl Joseph, who is on a recovery plan similar to Landry's, was back on the field.
  • The Browns will be back on the field Saturday for their first in what will be another five-day stretch of practices.

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