Hue Jackson didn't have much to say Monday about Sunday's trade of former first-round pick, wide receiver Corey Coleman. His focus centered on the players he watched go through one of the more grueling practices of training camp to date.
It was a hot, muggy afternoon, and the Browns simply returned to the practice fields with a wide receiving corps that looks significantly different than the one it had at the end of OTAs. It's a young group, Jackson said, that provides him with encouragement and hope.
"We are going to coach the group," Jackson said. "It is a very young group, very talented young group. We need to get these guys better."
The most significant change involved Rashard Higgins, who elevated to the first-team offense when the group showed a three-receiver look. He joined three-time Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry and rookie Antonio Callaway, who'd previously been the third receiver of the trio.
Higgins, who made big plays with the second-team offense in nearly every practice before Monday, caught a long touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor late in Monday's session. He'll have the opportunity to make those kind of catches against someone in a different colored jersey Thursday when the Browns open the preseason against the New York Giants.
"I think the wake-up call for him was when he was released, and then he came back and he played his tail off," Jackson said. "This is week to week. He is going to get an opportunity to showcase his talent and ability this Thursday night. He has to go out and play well just like the rest of our guys do. Every guy at that position has to play well."
Little changed Monday for Callaway because of his previous first-team repetitions, but the rookie made clear he knew his opportunity to impress right away grew immensely in the wake of the Coleman trade. Jackson's confidence in Callaway, who did not play football last year, stems from what he's seen over the past two weeks. The game's coming easier to the fourth-round selection.
"He has talent – I think that we all know that – but I think that he is starting to really get the system and learning how to do things the way that we want them done," Jackson said. "I was back there when he was returning punts. He said, 'Coach, I have not played in a year.' He is really looking forward to Thursday night. I am glad that he senses it because I do, too. I want to make sure that ho goes out there on Thursday and plays the way that we think he can play."
-- Rookie linebacker Genard Avery returned to practice after missing close to a week with a groin injury. Fullback Danny Vitale (calf) left midway through the practice.
DL Trevon Coley (ankle), LB Justin Currie (concussion), TE Seth DeValve (quad), DL Daniel Ekuale (calf), OL Desmond Harrison (toe-PUP) and OL Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice.
-- Jackson has liked what he's seen from left tackle Greg Robinson, who recently returned to practice after missing time with a concussion. Robinson worked behind starter Joel Bitonio on Monday.
"Last week, his first day back, as I told him, there is another level for him. I have seen it," Jackson said. "Today was much better, and he needs to continue to grow and be out here because you come off a concussion – I think that was different for him – now you are back out there and are practicing. He just has to continue to turn it up because I want to put him out there on Thursday to see what he has."