WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — After a day of rest, the Browns were back out on the practice fields Thursday at The Greenbrier for the first of four days of practice before heading back to Cleveland.
Tomorrow, however, will be a big one. For the first time all offseason, the Browns are set to break out the pads, and it was evident they were preparing for the physical days ahead in Thursday's practice, which featured multiple competitive team periods.
Let's break down how it all looked on a warm, cloudy and slightly windy day in West Virginia.
-This was arguably the best practice of training camp so far from Deshaun Watson. His passes carried noticeable zip and were on target throughout both 11-on-11 and seven-on-seven periods, and it appears his chemistry with receivers has blossomed well in the early stages of camp. Elijah Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Jordan Akins all had nice snags, and they all received extra opportunities with WR Amari Cooper (minor tweak) and TE David Njoku (rest) out for the day.
-It wasn't a perfect practice for Watson, though. In a seven-on-seven red zone period to end the day, Watson was intercepted by CB M.J. Emerson Jr., who was locked onto WR Jaelon Darden and stepped in front of him at the goal-line to secure the interception. Emerson then celebrated by running with the ball all the way to the opposite end zone with teammates.
-The interception highlighted what's been a good start to camp so far for Emerson. The Browns are certainly happy with the way he's developed since he was taken in the third round of the 2022 draft and will need him to be just as productive as he was last season — when he led the team with 15 pass breakups — to be as dominant as they believe they can be on that side of the ball. Emerson certainly looks up for the challenge so far.
Check out photos of the team during the third day of Training Camp
-Two of the best plays of training camp happened during separate seven-on-seven periods. The first one came from Akins, who jumped and caught a ball over the helmet of a defender (a la Randy Moss) and secured the catch as he fell near the sidelines. The other big play came from Darden, who caught a pretty deep ball from Watson for a touchdown.
-Darden cracked the notes Tuesday for turning in a solid practice, and he merits another mention here. It's been a smooth start to camp for the third-year wideout, who could add value as a backend receiver on the depth chart. He's capable of producing plays with his speed and could also serve as a kick and punt returner. He'll need to keep showing those abilities in preseason games to give himself the best shot at landing on the 53-man roster.
-Rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson stepped into team drills for the first time since camp broke and performed well. His most notable play was a deep ball he tossed to WR Austin Watkins, but he also stacked a few other quality completions and didn't look out of place under center. It's been a spring and early summer of patience so far for Thompson-Robinson, who had made a habit of running through reads and progressions for mental reps when he wasn't in plays for team drills. He definitely capitalized on his first opportunity.
-LB Jacob Phillips and WR Mike Harley Jr. left practice early with trainers. Head coach Kevin Stefanski also said LB Matthew Adams will be out "a couple weeks" with a calf injury.
-S Rodney McLeod was also given a rest day and watched practice from the sidelines.
-After missing the first few practices with an injury, WR Anthony Schwartz was back at practice.