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On-Field Observations

On-Field Observations: Emotions run high as Browns find their competitive fire

Tempers boiled over as the Browns dug deeper into the dog days of summer. 

Emotions ran high during Monday's practice, a spirited session in which cooler heads ultimately prevailed after quarterback Baker Mayfield got bumped during a team drill. 

Head coach Hue Jackson stepped in between a brief shouting match between offensive coordinator Todd Haley and his defensive counterpart Gregg Williams. The flare-up was over as quickly as it began. Such is life as training camp nears an end. 

"I like it a little testy. Testy is good. I'm surprised that just now it's getting testy," Jackson said. "They're fine. Those things happen. We have men that are competing every day. Both sides are competing. That's just part of football."

Indeed, practice continued as usual on a hot afternoon as the Browns prepare to host Buffalo in their second preseason game. The clash — if you can even call it that — didn't register much of a blip on Jackson's radar. Competition is the name of the game. 

"We have some competitive guys. I like that," he said. "But I want the defense to play well, I want the offense to play well and I want the special teams to play well. That's what we have to do."

— Joel Bitonio remains the Browns' starting left tackle, but they gave Greg Robinson a few reps with the first-team offense with Bitonio back at left guard. Jackson shrugged it off as simply a means of mixing and matching players in camp. 

"We just have to keep working combinations and things. It means nothing. It just means that every now and then, I'm going to stick Greg out there and make sure that Joel keeps playing some left guard," he said. 

The Browns moved Bitonio, who started the past four years at guard and earned Pro Bowl alternate honors there last season, to left tackle earlier this month. "I told you guys, if we find an answer in-house, then great. If we don't, well, then I feel good about Joel being out there." Bitonio effectively replaces future Hall-of-Famer Joe Thomas, who retired in March after 11 seasons and 10 Pro Bowls, after months of uncertainty at the position.

— Rookie cornerback Denzel Ward is practicing with a sore ankle, Jackson said. Ward, the fourth-overall pick, sat out the end of Monday's session but had a solid debut in Thursday's preseason opener. "We've pulled through it. He's been out there practicing, competing," Jackson said. "He just has to keep pushing through."

— Second-year defensive lineman Caleb Brantley did not practice because of an ankle injury, Jackson said, adding he should return to the lineup "soon."

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