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OTAs & Minicamp

Minicamp Notebook: Deshaun Watson throws on final day, defense dominates in red zone drills and more

The Browns finished out minicamp on Thursday with the final practice before the break

Minicamp Day 3 6.13

As the Browns broke down the huddle on the practice fields of CrossCountry Mortgage Campus, they closed out the final day of the three-day mandatory minicamp. It also brought an end to the offseason program. Now, the team will go on a break before they return to CrossCountry Mortgage Campus in July for training camp.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski said they accomplished the goals they had set for the team for the offseason program, whether it was from a schematic standpoint to different goals in the weight room or out on the practice field. Stefanski appreciated the way in which his players competed out on the field and the level of effort they put into all phases of the offseason.

"I love how the juices of this team, they like working against each other, they like working with each other," Stefanski said. "So really pleased with sending these guys into this break with a really good work week. And it's an extension of what the guys that have been here have done since April. So, I'm super appreciative of all the guys that really never missed a day, came in, got their work done and I think they all got better because of it. So pleased with that. And then we'll take a little break here."

Here are the main notes and observations for the final day of camp.

Deshaun Watson throws in final day of camp

QB Deshaun Watson returned to throwing live reps on Thursday during practice, taking reps in both 7-on-7 drills and 7-on-7 red zone drills. He threw a deep pass downfield intended for WR Elijah Moore, and connected on other intermediate passes to WR Cedric Tillman, TE David Njoku, TE Jordan Akins and WR Jaelon Darden.

Stefanski said that as part of Watson's rehab, they have seen him throw deeper passes. However, Thursdays' pass intended for Moore was one of the first times they saw it in 7-on-7 drills.

"I've gotten to see him throw throughout the course of this rehab, I don't know when it was, but a while back he looked very normal to me," Stefanski said. "So that looked normal to me."

Stefanski said Watson has a solid plan for his recovery for the next month until the Browns are back for the beginning of training camp.

Linebacker drills

For a portion of the position group drills, the linebackers focused on a drill to simulate reading a quarterback and anticipating an interception. They worked through zone coverage to follow the quarterback and decipher the route of a receiver to intercept the ball.

Linebackers coach Jason Tarver said his group – consisting of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Tony Fields II, Jordan Hicks, Mohamoud Diabate, Charlie Thomas III and Nathaniel Watson – used the offseason program and minicamp to their advantage to improve. They competed with one another throughout the spring to answer Tarver's questions in the meeting rooms

Some of the biggest elements of focus are the language used in the defense and knowing the expectations in the scheme. Going through this offseason with one year in the defensive scheme has allowed the linebackers – and the defense as a whole – to use that base knowledge and take another step in the defensive scheme.

"Jeremiah and Tony and Mohamoud and Charlie, they know those words already," Tarver said. "So, there isn't the transfer of language. We're not transferring an old word for a technique to a new one. We already know that, so we can move quicker. So, when they are competing for the questions, they already know the words. So that's what happens in your first offseason and I'm proud of the guys for how well they've done – especially on the stuff that we did last year. It's definitely helped."

7-on-7 red zone drills

The defense shined during the red zone drills as they caused multiple pass breakups and defended well against the receivers in the end zone. S Grant Delpit had one of those pass breakups, and him and CB Greg Newsome II celebrated in the end zone following the play. Fields broke up a pass intended for Njoku, while CB Martin Emerson Jr. defended another pass intended for Njoku.

And the defense let the offense know just how they felt about their success in the red zone.

"We love it," Stefanski said. "And part of it is one of the core things we're built on is competing. And you can compete in a 7-on-7. Now, we don't want any collisions, but you can compete like crazy. I saw the guys competing like crazy. And listen, we whistle while we work. We want to have fun out here. So, when it's coming from both sides. And to me, it just elevates the level of competition. And when you do that, it's the old iron sharpens iron, and that's what it is. When you good versus good, you're trying to make each other better. And if you got to talk a little trash along the way, that's fine, too."

Other practice notes

  • CB Denzel Ward was on the sideline during Thursday's practice but did not participate in the drills.
  • DE Myles Garrett appeared to have tweaked his hamstring during a drill with the defensive line. Garrett did some upper body work and was present on the sideline for the remainder of practice. Stefanski said he believes Garrett will be fine.
  • QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw once again in 7-on-7 drills, in which he threw a completion to rookie WR Jamari Thrash.

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