The Browns and Buccaneers had their second practice together on Wednesday.
The temperatures dropped Wednesday and most of the pads were gone, but make no mistake: It was still uniquely hot and the Browns and Buccaneers engaged in a physical, two-hour practice that left both sides satisfied by the time it was over. [
"What I was most excited about was how they fought. They fought hard," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "The elements were hot, it was tough, it was a whole different schedule doing things differently, and I wanted it to be that way. I wanted to get away from the routine. Most players are used to the routine. I think football, as you guys know, games don't stay the same. Guys have to get used to that to get uncomfortable a little bit, be out of your element, don't do things normally the way you do it and then find a way to get it done.
"If we can do that, I think we grew over these last two days."
Here are some of the highlights from a busy second day.
-- As mentioned above, the practice was very similar to Tuesday's despite neither team being in full pads. This wasn't a light day by any means. After some individual work, the teams basically engaged in a variety of head-to-head drills through the duration of the practice.
Offensively, the Browns rotated a bunch of different receiver duos, trios and more with quarterback Robert Griffin III and the first-team offense. In red-zone drills, different combinations of Terrelle Pryor, Corey Coleman, Josh Gordon, Andrew Hawkins and Gary Barnidge were thrown at the Tampa Bay defense.
The results were mixed on both sides of the field, and Jackson admitted Griffin had some throws he'd like back over the course of the two practices. That's what happens when you're pitting two competitive NFL teams against each other.
"He did some good things," Jackson said. "He did a great job of just running the team, running our offense, understanding where the ball needs to go, when to get outside the pocket and throw the ball away, when to slide. I think all of it was on display. It has to be that way every day. That's what he has to chase every day to be a really good player for us."
-- The Browns were without center Cameron Erving throughout the majority of the practice. Jackson said Erving was dealing with a sprained ankle but likely would be OK to play Friday. That's the main reason why he was pulled so early in the practice.
With Erving out of the lineup, Garth Gerhart worked with the first-team offensive line and undrafted rookie Mike Matthews filled Gerhart's spot with the second team.
In the heat of the moment during the season when rosters are trimmed significantly from what they are now, that kind of switch might not be so simple. Veteran right guard John Greco has some center experience, and he continues to practice snaps to keep himself fresh at the position.
"It's always in the back of my mind because that's been our plan for the last three years," Greco said. "Until I get I told otherwise that's still my plan. If it happens, I'll be ready but obviously we want Cam in there because he's our starting center."
-- Corey Coleman was involved in the final big play of Wednesday's practice, hauling in a long pass from Josh McCown in the back of the end zone. The rookie was ruled out of bounds, but that wasn't the most memorable part of the connection. With little room for error, Coleman corralled the ball and hopped a small fence that divided the field from the fan area.
"I didn't want to run into the little banner they have around [the field] so I had to jump," Coleman said. "I took a quick glance at the ground."
Jackson was more focused on whether Coleman caught the pass or not.
"He's an athlete. He better jump over it," Jackson said. "He's fine. He's OK."
-- Another day, another big play for Pro Bowl defensive back Joe Haden.
Near the end of a team period, Haden picked off Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston with a nice, sliding interception. It marked the second straight day Haden picked off the quarterback, and it came in just his second full practice of the preseason.
"Keep getting them. Please, keep getting them," Jackson said. "We need to get our hands on the ball on defense. That's what it's all about. We have to take the ball away from the other team's offense and we have to keep it on offense."
-- For a second consecutive practice, the Browns and Buccaneers worked together early in the practice on special teams, as Chris Tabor, Shawn Mennenga and the rest of Cleveland's special teams staff were able to break a nice sweat while many players were still getting loose. Unlike Tuesday, there was no field goal practice. Instead, the teams worked on a variety of kickoffs, including onsides ones.
On Tuesday, Browns kickers Patrick Murray and Travis Coons split six attempts and both handled themselves nicely.
-- The Browns will continue their stay in Tampa and go through a walk-through Thursday at the Buccaneers practice facility. Kickoff on Friday is set for 8 p.m.