C.J. Board knows what it's like to learn on the fly and act as a journeyman.
After all, the Browns wide receiver was on the Titans' practice squad last season, and he had to learn a different offensive scheme each week to prep the Titans for their Sunday games. With that, it was hard for Board to find good reps; he was always learning.
This offseason when the Browns picked up Board, he had a goal: make the team and have continuity in practice. If there's an offense to learn in its entirety, Todd Haley's would be a good start.
"This way, I have a lot more time to study and focus on our offense and make sure that I know each and every position," Board said. "When my number is called, I know what to do and I can get my mind right so that I can play fast."
It's similar to where he was at this time last season, fighting for a roster spot in Baltimore. But when time came to cut the roster to 53, Board was cut by the Ravens. He didn't find a landing spot until Oct. 4. There was a 33-day period when he was on his own. He wasn't working out for a team or organization but still had to keep his mind and body right for when the call came.
Finally, on Oct. 4, the Titans called. From then until the end of November, Board was on their practice squad. And now with the Browns, he's fighting for a roster spot.
"It is just adversity," he said. "It is a lot of bouncing around. You just have to make sure that every day you are home, not on a team – that you are working out and still getting some catches in, so that you are ready when another team calls."
The relationship he's formed with the Browns' No. 1 pick, Baker Mayfield, might help. With Mayfield and Board both on the second-team offense, they practice together and chemistry is coming along. Board doesn't necessarily see that as an advantage, but the quarterbacks, Board said, makes the receiver's' job simple.
"Baker and all of the quarterbacks throw great balls," Board said. "They make our job easy. I just have to run out and catch it. They throw it in the right spot and they put it on the money every time."
Board is making the most of the opportunity he's been given from the Browns. He's been a constant in the offense, as he and Rashard Higgins are the favorite targets of Mayfield. In Friday's scrimmage, Board had a pair of catches from Mayfield that turned heads; one catch was down the sidelines for a gain of more than 30 yards.
Most of his future is out of his control. In his eyes, the tape says it all. Board's working at it in practice, and he feels confident. He just wants to make the team.
"I hope," he said. "I just come out here and work hard every day. The film speaks for itself, and all I can do is make sure that I am doing things right and making plays."