Mike Pettine takes the Browns through their first minicamp practice
You didn't hear a whole lot from Mike Pettine as he watched the Cleveland Browns go through their first minicamp practice under his watch Tuesday.
Pettine did more walking than talking, more observing than directing.
He moved from drill to drill inside the Casey Coleman Fieldhouse, taking in every aspect of practice.
But it wasn't a time for screaming or yelling or in any way trying to use his vocal chords to make sure his presence was felt.
There was no mistaking that Pettine's presence was felt in a big way.
And the biggest was in the crisp and efficient manner in which the Browns went through a mostly up-tempo workout. That helped reduce the need for overt displays of frustration by the head coach.
For the most part, every player went about his business with a sense of purpose and focus. There was Josh Gordon exploding into his routes and effortlessly snatching the ball out of the air. There was Andrew Hawkins displaying his exceptional speed as he darted away from defenders. There was Karlos Dansby and other defenders showing their considerable athleticism.
Keep in mind, there are no rookies in this bunch. They'll join in after next week's NFL Draft.
These were incumbents and veteran newcomers, so they understandably would keep blunders to a minimum. Given that the newcomers are all at the higher end of the experience scale, their ability to quickly and accurately process information and execute accordingly should come as no surprise.
What was particularly impressive, though, was the players' clear understanding of the message Pettine put forth when the Browns hired him in February: they will be coached "hard."
That doesn't merely refer to their being put through a grueling workout. Minicamp practices are not grueling. In accordance with the rules of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, they can't be. For that matter, teams aren't allowed to place much in the way of physical demands on players during training-camp practices, either.
Hard coaching refers to evaluation. It means players will be harshly judged by the coaching staff in everything they do. It means that the team will operate in every bit as competitive an environment during a late April minicamp as it will during a late-season game with playoff implications.
"I enjoyed it," Pettine said of the practice. "It was a long time coming. I had this date circled."
It showed in the way his team practiced.
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