Freddie Kitchens has made it no secret that he dislikes the idea of frequently wearing shorts and no pads in practice.
The Browns head coach has made padded practices the standard in training camp and believes it’s one of the biggest steps the team will take toward becoming the most physical team in the NFL.
“(Our guys) have embraced the challenge of keeping the tempo up on a regular basis,” Kitchens said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are willing to pay the price. A lot of guys have bought in to what we’re trying to do.”
The Browns have had 11 practices in pads and just three in shorts. Two of those happened at the beginning of camp when the NFL didn’t allow teams to practice with pads and the other was when Cleveland practiced less than 24 hours after its preseason opener.
Check out photos from the fourteenth day of Browns Camp by team photographer Matt Starkey
Kitchens’ reasoning for the ample load of padded practices is simple: The game is played in pads, so it will be practiced in pads. Many coaches prefer to practice without the protection to ensure injuries are kept to a minimum.
Kitchens doesn’t want injuries, either, but he also doesn’t want injuries when the Browns finally line up against other teams, which they’ll be do against the Indianapolis Colts this week in joint practices.
“It’s my job to make sure those guys are ready to play the game,” Kitchens said.” I think they were ready to play last week. I’ll have them ready to practice on Wednesday.
“This is a tough game played by tough people, so sometimes you have to look inside yourself and make sure that you’re tough, and sometimes you have to demonstrate to make sure you are. I think they’ve embraced all of that.”
— When Jarvis Landry was asked how he and teammate Odell Beckham Jr. make one-handed catches look routine, he didn’t discuss the sticky gloves they wear nor mention the pure talent each wide out has. His answer was much more simple: Big hands and lots of reps on the JUGS machine.
“If you talk to anybody, John (Dorsey) or anybody, they look for receivers with big hands,” Landry said. “Outside of that, it’s confidence. Just a lot of confidence. I’m sure you guys have seen the videos of catching (from the) JUGS. You’re building confidence. A lot of guys train on the JUGS, but they still don’t have the confidence to do it.”
— Kitchens is looking forward to the upcoming joint practices with the Colts. The Browns will have their first practice with the Colts in Indianapolis on Wednesday and practice each day leading up to the second preseason game of the season Saturday at 4 p.m.
“It’s good to see what’s out there,” Kitchens said. “It’s going to give us a barometer of where we’re at from a physical standpoint.”
— Landry said he and Beckham predicted to Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi that he’d score on his punt return last Thursday against the Washington Redskins. Sheehy-Guiseppi proved them right, but the best moment was when each Browns player ran to Sheehy-Guiseppi in the end zone after the play.
“It was amazing,” Landry said. “You know how excited and how proud we are of him and his story, and the energy he brings to this team is something that you can’t really replace. I’m happy he’s here.”
— Defensive end Chad Thomas suffered a neck injury during practice Monday and was carted off for precautionary reasons. He was taken to University Hospitals for further testing and has movement in all extremities.