Training camp is officially halfway complete.
The Browns wrapped their ninth of 17 total training camp practices on a humid, hot Sunday in front of another energetic crowd of fans. Players wore pads for the third time in camp as they continue to prepare for a likely hot environment in their first preseason game in Jacksonville on Aug. 12.
Speaking of the Jacksonville trip, head coach Kevin Stefanski said before practice that the team will leave Wednesday, two days before the game, to do a light walk-through practice and team-bonding activities on Thursday. The game is on Friday.
"I wanted to go in early and kind of have some team activities," Stefanski said. "There are some things that I think that we can get down there and take a look at in Jacksonville, which I think the players will have a nice experience doing. It just gives us opportunities to do some team-building exercises, which anytime that you travel, that is team-building enough. Just being around each other, felt like (Preseason) Week 1 was the right time to do that."
That gives the Browns two more days of full practice before they hop on the plane for the first this year.
Here's what happened on Day 9 in Berea:
– The offense started the day on a rather rough note. The first pass of 11-on-11 team drills was bobbled and caught by CB Greg Newsome II (more on him later), and the next plays included a dropped pass near the sideline and a botched snap. Nick Chubb broke the spell of poor plays with a long run where he went mostly untouched for about 20 yards.
– Chubb has been one of the most fascinating players to watch in camp so far. Players aren't allowed to tackle, so it's difficult to gauge the true success of run plays, but Chubb has had multiple runs where a defender hasn't been able to put a hand on him.
S John Johnson III remarked Saturday on Chubb's incredible burst he always seems to find when he gets past the second level of the defense.
"We can't really hit him out here, but the way he's coming through a hole, you don't want to get in front of him," he said. "He hits another gear once he breaks through the second line of defense. He kicks up and takes off … It's astonishing and amazing to watch even when you're out there on the field. I'm glad he's on our team."
Check out photos of players and coaches working throughout camp
– Part of the offensive struggles can be chalked up to several receivers not participating in team drills as they either recover from injuries or take a rest day. WR Amari Cooper was given a rest day, while Anthony Schwartz, David Bell and Jakeem Grant were all excluded from team drills. Schwartz was back in pads and practicing for the first time since he suffered a knee injury at the beginning of camp, while Bell was activated from the active/PUP list earlier in the day. He'll be eased back into action.
– WR Michael Woods II also missed his second straight practice with a hamstring injury. Stefanski said the injury was one he re-aggravated from spring workouts and will "miss some time."
– OK, back to Newsome. He's looked excellent in camp so far and has handled all assignments well whether they've come from the outside or slot, where he'll likely line up most whenever CB Denzel Ward (foot) returns to practice in full capacity. In addition to his interception from the tipped pass, he also had this marvelous example of sticky coverage in 1-on-1 battles with receivers.
– P Corey Bojorquez, a left-footed punter, returned to practice from a right foot injury and delivered several moonshots during the punting period. The Browns started the drill practicing punts from deep in the end zone, and Bojorquez sent the first kick over the head of Grant, who was at least 60 yards away. Bojorquez has drilled the two longest punts of the last two NFL seasons with a 72-yard shot in 2020 and an astounding 82-yard punt in 2021.
– The second- and third-team offense finished the day on strong notes with a sequence that included four consecutive touchdowns in 7-on-7 red zone drills. The plays went as followed: Jacoby Brissett to TE Harrison Bryant, Josh Dobbs to WR Mike Harley Jr., Josh Rosen to WR Daylen Baldwin, Rosen to Harley. On the final play of the period, TE Zaire Mitchell-Paden caught a toe-tap TD pass from Rosen and celebrated with a quick dance, a shoulder jump with David Njoku and a scream into the crowd.
– DT Sheldon Day (back) also did not practice.
– The Browns will practice Sunday before taking an off-day Monday. They will then practice Tuesday before leaving for Jacksonville on Wednesday.