By Tony Grossi
Observations on the morning practice of Browns rookie camp …
Eight in, three to go: The Browns announced eight of their 2012 draft choices have signed contracts. The only ones still to come to terms are running back Trent Richardson, quarterback Brandon Weeden and linebacker Emmanuel Acho. Unsigned rookies are able to participate in the rookie minicamp, but they must be under contract to participate in training camp later this summer.
BW3: This is the time of year – absent a live pass rush – that Brandon Weeden will look sensational throwing the football. And he continued doing that this morning. Two examples: 1. Rookie receiver Travis Benjamin runs about a 10-yard out to the right sideline. Weeden delivers the ball before Benjamin makes his cut. Benjamin cuts, looks up, and the ball impales his hands just before his two feet step down before the sideline. He caught it, too. 2. Weeden play-fakes to a running back and rolls to his left. In stride, he flicks the ball across his body and puts it in the bread-basket of undrafted tryout tight end Joseph Halahuni 20 yards in the middle of the field.
Change in exchange: Weeden had a few problems his first day taking the exchange from center, but those were ironed out by the second day. “Everything was a little smoother, from the play-call in the huddle to getting lined up and of course the quarterback-center exchange,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “Obviously, first things first, we’ve got to get the snap.” Part of the problem for Weeden was having to deal with a left-handed center, Garth Gerhart, and a right-handed one, Jarrod Shaw, sometimes on successive snaps. It will all sort itself out when Alex Mack is in there.
Air ball: When you see passes hitting the ground in this setting, it is not a good thing. That’s not happening too much. “We talk and we preach anytime we’re going against air, we’ve got to be 100 percent,” Shurmur said. “You’re looking for drills where there’s not bump-and-run, or double-teaming, or playing crazy coverages, so you’re looking for completions. I thought we had a lot of completions today. Along with that is the quarterback and receivers getting used to each other, the depths and the timing.”
Phil Taylor auditions: Through three practices, the Browns have alternated rookie tackles Billy Winn and John Hughes in the three-technique tackle spot vacated by Taylor because of his torn pectoral injury. Winn has lined up there in the morning practices and Hughes in the afternoon. When veterans arrive for minicamp in June, Scott Paxson will probably be considered the front-runner to start the season there. Whomever wins the job, there will be a considerable dropoff in size. Taylor weighed 335 pounds. Paxston is listed at 290, Winn 295.
Coming up: We'll be posting some interesting observations soon from Shurmur and RB coach Gary Brown about Trent Richardson's phenomenal physique,
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