This morning my Dad and I took our annual trip to Berea to take in some Browns training camp. This leads me to what I have really been waiting to talk about on this blog, the Brownies baby! Before I delve into my grippingly insightful and professional analysis of today’s session, allow me to just say that this is something everyone should do at least once. Furthermore, if you’re a father, taking your son to training camp is one of the most manly ways to bond with with him. Do it. Seeing these guys up close makes you wonder how the Browns ever lose a game. They’re fricken huge.
While we’re on the topic of being fricken huge, allow me to begin my insightfulness here with my list of guys who are freakishly huge and give me hope that the Browns will be much better in this campaign. Kicking it off is the top pick in this years rookie class, Trent Richardson. I’m pretty certain God blessed him with extra muscles in his arms and legs just so he could truck people on the gridiron. In all seriousness, Trent looks like the beast that was promised, darting in and out of the hole and looking aggressive. Should be everything the Browns hoped for, so on and so forth and all that jazz. He also got the star treatment after practice with children screaming his name and everything. The excitement was palpable, and why not? T-Rich will be a huge factor.
Another large man that is a newcomer to the Brownies this year is Baylor WR Josh Gordon. The supplemental draft pick is a man amongst boys in our receiving corps. I know that this doesn’t take much, but other than Greg Little, nobody is close to Gordon. He honestly resembles more of a tight end out there. He is clearly a phenomenal athlete with huge hands to go with his impressive frame. He was a little slow and lost at times this morning, as coaches were in his ear (politely), but it doesn’t take a genius (Thank God) to know he is the future number two or one in this group. This leads me to plead Pat Shurmur to please put him on the fast track to start opposite Little on opening day. Im sorry, but Mo Mass just isn’t cutting it for anyone as a number 2, and that’s not even a question. Let’s stop pretending he can be productive there right now, it’s just foolish.
Brandon Weeden ran with the first team for the majority of the practice, and while I was sweating standing still on the sideline, he ran the 2 minute offense right in front of us on the far field. While I’m really just pretending to know what I’m looking at, the offense ran pretty crisply. Gordon botched a low throw from Weeden that should have been caught, and Jordan Cameron 1-upped him in that category with a simply hideous attempt at catching a ball that was right in his hands. Ok, so other than that, Weeden throws a noticeably crisper ball than Colt, and if he can grasp this offense quick and catch the ball for our recievers, we should be good there. Whew. Good deal.
The offensive line protected well today in full-team drills, and I really believe that they just need a full and healthy camp to be a productive unit this fall. Mitchell Schwartz becomes the third member of Believing Since 1999’s Freakishly Large Man Team (Sense a theme here? I really didn’t intend for it when I sat down to write this, but let’s roll with it.), and has a mean streak at right tackle. With fellow Cal boy Mack to his left, he should feel comfortable in there and produce for us. The Browns don’t need 5 Pro-Bowlers to keep Weeden upright, and it looks like Pinkston, Thomas, Mack, Schwartz, and Lauvao can be more than serviceable.
I didn’t get to see a whole lot of defensive drills today, but a couple of thoughts that jumped out at me in team drills were that Joe Haden still has far and away the highest Old Spice Swagger Rating on the team (OSSR for short), and Dimitri Patterson is better than Sheldon Brown. Patterson was impressive in coverage today, and Brown looked, well, slow. Nothing against the man, but he is in the late stages of his career, and probably would be better suited inside and not on an outside burner a la Antonio Brown.
My final brief thought on defense, other than the fact that T.J. Ward is Haden’s partner in crime in the swagger department , was that I will now include in my prayers to the football gods that they heal Phil Taylor (Veteran member of the BS1999 Freakishly Large Man Team) and Ahtyba Rubin (Ditto) fast. Not that I don’t have faith in possibly the biggest reach of the draft in Hughes and a Boise State defensive player (Spoiler: I don’t), but these guys were a strength in our interior last year, and it was not a good sight to see them both inactive. Rubin should be back soon, so that gives us some relief.
The future looks bright in Berea, and let’s hope it translates when we get to Cleveland. No, I’m not expecting a playoff run or anything like that, because I’m not insane. The Browns do have reason to be excited though, with an offense that actually has some potential big-play weapons in the making, and a defense that is returning most of what made them our strength in 2011. I’m sure this won’t be my only trip to camp this summer (More like this week), so hopefully I will be able to crank out another in-depth report sometime in the near future.
Speaking of the future, don’t look forward to too many more pieces on the Tribe for a couple of days. Simply put, that weekend sweep by the Twinkies just pissed me off, so I don’t wanna talk about it. Looking forward to hopefully talking about a deadline move though, and perhaps a little push to stay above .500 later in the month. Cavs are down the road too, and they will be exciting when the time comes. Until all of that, GO BROWNS. And Indians, win one or two in KC so we can stay in this thing. Don’t stop believing.