The practice intensity is slowly starting to ramp up in Berea.
Players were still without pads and speeds were still kept to a minimum at points of Friday's third practice of training camp, but real competition still took place in the form of multiple 7-on-7 periods and one low-tempo 11-on-11 period. It was the first time in camp that the offense took reps against actual defensive players, and there were a few notable plays and observations from both sides.
So let's dive in.
– No side necessarily "won" the day, but the defense had the biggest play of the afternoon when CB A.J. Green intercepted Jacoby Brissett during 7-on-7 drills. Green was covering fullback Johnny Stanton and jumped to pick off the pass, which was the first interception of camp and only interception of the day.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods said the Browns will place heavy emphasis on turnovers this training camp. One way they could be doing that is through an "Alpha Dogs" game, which is being run between four teams among the defense. Woods wouldn't reveal the teams or stat categories, but he did say there a prize would be given at the end of camp.
Whoever had Green on their team likely scored well, and Woods hopes more turnovers come throughout camp.
"We have not done as good of a job the previous two years," Woods said. "We greatly have to improve that because that is one of the major categories that you have to note, if not the most important category, when it comes to winning games."
Check out photos of players and coaches working throughout camp
– WR Donovan Peoples-Jones was among the most targeted receivers during 7-on-7 periods and Amari Cooper snagged a few catches as well, but it was interesting to see the Browns rotate several receivers in with the first team. Jakeem Grant, Ja'Marcus Bradley and Michael Woods II were all receivers who took a few first-team reps, and the Browns were likely giving them all extra opportunities with Anthony Schwartz and David Bell both sidelined.
Woods, in particular, made a few good catches and followed them with some nifty moves around defenders — although there was no tackling. Head coach Kevin Stefanski said Friday that he's looking forward to seeing what Woods can do after he was injured for part of the offseason program.
– Grant also had a good practice. He made a couple sliding catches and clearly has an extra gear of speed in his game the Browns are looking to maximize.
"He's an electric player," Stefanski said. "He's fast. Certainly, somebody who we would love to use as we get into the regular season."
– Schwartz suffered a knee strain in Thursday's practice and was tabbed as day-to-day from head coach Kevin Stefanski. He's not expected to be out long-term and was not on the field. Bell — who is on the active/PUP list with a foot injury — was on the field for the second straight day to observe practice.
– The Browns have run a small number of plays the first few days of camp with both RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt together in the backfield. We'll see how much the formation is used during competitive reps, but the package certainly appears to be something the Browns might use more in 2022.
– With Denzel Ward on the active/PUP list, the Browns deployed Greedy Williams and Greg Newsome II as CB starters. Newsome slid inside to the slot when needed, and Green moved into the second outside role. Green was also used as the sixth defensive back for dime packages.
– TE David Njoku opened 7-on-7 red zone drills with a nice touchdown on a pass from Deshaun Watson. TE Miller Forristall also made a nice TD grab in the same period.
– The Browns will have their first open practice for fans Saturday before an off-day Sunday. For fans who aren't here, practice will also be streamed live on “Browns Live.”