Countdown to The Draft
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By Will Burge | ESPNCleveland.com
Keeping Weeden sharp – Brandon Weeden had another very good day of OTAs in Berea. He was quick and decisive delivering the ball into a multitude of different places on the field. He looks like a completely different quarterback from who he was at the tail end of the 2012 season.
Confidence seems to be the key difference in Weeden’s demeanor. While Norv Turner is harping on him and being very vocal with his coaching, he is still coaching and that’s all Weeden can ask for.
“(Norv) will get on you, you got to be on your toes,” said Weeden. “You can’t mess up. Not that you want to play scared but you have to play error free at this level. He expects that out of all of us.”
Turner loves to yell during practice for simple mental errors and there were a lot today. The team had just finished the install of their offense to this point and you could tell some of the shifts and formations were still foreign to the receivers. Even Weeden had to get guys straightened out from time to time.
Weeden’s passes certainly weren’t a problem though.
“I try not to make the same mistake twice and we had routes that we do today that we did last Wednesday or Thursday and I’m coming back and making the right read and making a better throw,” Weeden said. “(Norv) actually give me a high five…which doesn’t happen very often but he’ll congratulate me. He’s making me a better player. He’s good at what he does.”
Still finding the right mix – While the coaches figure out exactly what they have on their roster, there are always changes throughout the lineup and depth chart. Thursday was no different. Shaun Lauvao was back at the other starting guard position on the offensive line today. In fact, the only constant at the guard position thus far has been John Greco.
Greco was a guy who was at one time thought of as a journeyman backup. Last season, when Jason Pinkston went down with a life threatening blood clot, Greco stepped in and performed well above average. Still, Rob Chudzinski warns not to read too much into the number of snaps he is receiving.
“John’s don’t a nice job out here,” said Chudzinski. “Again, that really is going to play itself out when we get into pads and into camp. It’s really tough to evaluate anybody along the line on either side right now with what’s going on. But John is a solid guy and he really stepped up last year and played well in the games that he came in and started.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Buster Skine had been getting all the work as the second cornerback opposite Joe Haden through the first two weeks of OTAs. He now has some competition for those reps and it isn’t third round draft pick Leon McFadden.
Chris Owens, a free agent pick up from Atlanta, split the reps with Skrine at the second cornerback position. They also split the reps as the nickel back. Both guys are 5’9” tall but Owens may be a little more fluid in his technique.
“(Chris) has really good feet and mirror skills and coverage skills,” said Chudzinksi. “He was a guy that we wanted to bring in and put into the mix with our corners and get a chance to compete. In this league you need to have good corners and Chris has been doing a nice job out there.”
Paul Kruger, who missed practice for family reasons, was replaced in the first team defense today by Quinton Groves and first round draft pick Barkevious Mingo. They split time at the left outside linebacker position and Mingo is looking more and more comfortable every day. The true test will come when they put on pads and he starts getting knocked around.
Getting the Bess out of the receiver corps – When the Browns traded with Miami for Devone Bess on draft day, they received more than just a top flight slot receiver. They also received the long overdue veteran presence they have needed in the wide receiver room.
Not only is Bess one of the better route runners I have ever seen and catches anything thrown his way, but he can also be seen in between plays coaching up guys like Greg Little, Josh Gordon, and Travis Benjamin.
Bess is excited to work with such a fresh crop of talent too.
“Young, talented, athletic, physical, and it’s just a matter of putting it together. We got a bunch of raw guys who can make plays, we know that,” said Bess. “A big part of is we’ll just have to get it in the film room and understand the system the coaches are trying to install.”
Roll credits and southern comfort – The mini village that housed the film crew for the movie “Draft Day” is finally gone. They had their own area in Berea and had taken over the building for quite a while. I wanted to meet Dennis Leary, but I guess I’ll just have to become a movie star to do that now.
Trent Richardson said today that he didn’t want to miss “nann practice.” This is one of the most southern phrases you can possibly say. UrbanDictionary.com describes “nann” as a term that comes from a southern dialect of Black Standard English, meaning 'no' 'none' or 'not any'. Anyone who has ever heard the Trick Daddy and Trina song from the late 90’s may be familiar with the term but nann other music fans will probably be hip to it.
|Will Burge covers the Browns for ESPNCleveland.com and hosts 3 Deep, Monday - Friday from 7pm-9pm.|
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge
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