BEREA—Always the most talked about position is quarterback and at the final day of Organized Team Activities (OTA) for the first week, was no different. The Browns practiced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with the final day the only day open to the media.
Brandon Weeden took the first snaps with the first team with Jason Campbell with the second team. Safety Eric Hagg intercepted a pass from Weeden on a high throw that Josh Gordon tipped up in the air. Later on, Weeden threw a perfect touchdown pass to Davone Bess.
“Obviously my third day wasn’t as good as the first two,” Weeden said. “The completions weren’t as high as they were on the first two days. The first two days we were flying around and making plays.”
Weeden said he feels more confident in his second season.
“I’m already familiar with the guys,” he said. “Day three last year to day three this year is night and day. This offense makes more sense. Once you hear it, you get it. Plus me, and my wife have spent way too much time studying the playbook.”
Weeden said there are a lot of similarities to the system he flourished in at Oklahoma State.
“There are a lot of (similarities),” he said. “It’s not just the tempo and being in the shotgun but just the whole offense.
“I’ve got really good guys around me,” he said. “(Josh) Gordon is playing great and (Greg) Little. We have five guys up front that do a great job. As a quarterback, if you have guys around you that can make plays, that’s what gives you confidence.”
Weeden ran with the first team throughout practice.
Rob Chudzinski said Weeden has done a good job of getting the offense into a higher tempo. He said he’s also been able to get to know Weeden better.
“He’s done a good job with that,” he said. “It starts with calling the plays and working on the tempo. You get to know about him how he picks up and what we’re looking at is how he translates on to the field.”
Jason Campbell said that the coaching staff is emphasizing the tempo, even installing a play clock.
“That’s one thing coach keeps preaching every day is getting out of the huddle and keeping the tempo up.”
Chudzinski was asked how different it is for Weeden entering a second NFL season in a new system.
“Every year is different for the quarterback,” he said. “They can’t get comfortable at that position. It’s a brand new system.”
Meanwhile in his turn, Jason Campbell threw a perfect pass down the middle of the field to Josh Cooper for a touchdown as Cooper got behind undrafted rookie defensive back Abdul Kennah. Campbell also hit Travis Benjamin on a crossing route and threw a dart to Jordan Norwood for a 25-yard gain. Campbell also gave Benjamin some instruction when the second-year receiver broke off a route the wrong way.
“We’re learning well this offense we have a great relationship pushing each other,” Campbell said. “We have the same goal is to win as a team and get better.”
Chudzinski has not named a starting quarterback heading to training camp in July and Campbell was asked if he felt there was true competition for the starting job.
“We haven’t talked much about (competition),” Campbell said. “Whatever reps you get you compete at a high level. There has not been a lot of talk about it.
“We’re all out here trying to get better,” he said. “We have a great offensive coordinator in Norv Turner and coach in Rob Chudzinski. They are two offensive minded coaches and my role is to learn the offense and try to get better every day.”
Campbell said he has no problem in helping Weeden.
“You can’t have an ego and have to put those things aside,” he said. “I’ve been in the league nine years and understand the role.”
Chudzinski likes what he’s seen so far of Campbell.
“He has had experience and success in the league,” he said. “He has a good arm, good mobility and brings experience along with a good touch.”
Chudzinski didn’t shed any more light on the quarterback situation, when asked if the team might bring in another quarterback such as recently released Brian Hoyer or will the Browns go to camp with the three they currently have.
“All that will remain to be seen,” he said. “We’re coaching these guys up. I feel good with how they’ve progressed. Brandon is working with the first group. Jason with the second and Thaddeus (Lewis) with the rest.”
For Starters: For the beginning of OTAs in team drills, here’s how the Browns lined up:
Offense: QB-Brandon Weeden; RB Trent Richardson; WR Josh Gordon, Greg Little; TE Jordan Cameron, Kellen Davis; Offensive line: Joe Thomas, Shawn Lauvao, Alex Mack, John Greco, Mitchell Schwartz.
Defense: LDE Ahtyba Rubin, NT Phil Taylor, RDE Desmond Bryant; LOLB Paul Kruger, ILB Craig Robertson, D’Qwell Jackson, ROLB Jabaal Sheard; LCB Joe Haden, RCB Buster Skrine; SS T.J. Ward; FS Tashaun Gipson.
Mingo was his Name: No. 1 pick Barkevious Mingo ran with the second team on the right side and dropped in coverage breaking up a pass intended for TE Kellen Davis thrown by QB Jason Campbell.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton was asked about Mingo.
“We’re not putting any timetable on him (to start),” he said. “On tape, we saw an explosive player and now he’s learning some things that are new to him. There’s a learning curve for him.
“We want him to be a dominating football player.”
No Leon: Rookie third-round draft choice Leon McFadden was absent as school is still in session at San Diego State. He is expected to battle with CB Buster Skrine and Chris Owens for the starting right cornerback position.
“He’s finishing up with school and will be back next week,” Chudzinski said.
On the Side: Rookie S Jamoris Slaughter (Achilles) was on the exercise bike along with undrafted rookie OL Kevin Faulk (knee). WR David Nelson (knee) is still rehabbing his knee. WR Jordan Norwood was being worked on after a collision down field on a pass play.
The Numbers: One of main offensive additions was WR Davone Bess. He is wearing No. 18, but he has already caught Weeden’s attention in practice.
“He brings consistency he’s a great route runner,” Weeden said. “He’s a technician. He catches everything and has a great feel for what he’s doing out there.”
New Spot: DB Johnson Bademosi has changed his number and his position. Bademosi is wearing number 24 and he was playing safety instead of cornerback as he did last year in practice.
“He’s a good football player,” Chudzinski said. “He’s a good tackler and from an athletic standpoint, we’re taking a look at him at safety. We’re going to move guys around.”
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton said it’s all part of his plan for the defense.
“It’s part of the hybrid defense,” Horton said. “We’re moving guys around that are athletic players.”
Changing of the Guard: Shawn Lauvao started the last two years at right guard and was playing left guard Thursday. John Greco was at right guard with the first team.
“We’re rolling guys around at the guard position,” Chudzinski said. “Jason Pinkston is just getting back in there and we’re moving all the guards around.”
Chudzinski said a part of the offense is getting the guards to get outside.
“Part of the install is for the guards to get outside.”
Pinkston was the starting left guard last season until he was placed on injured reserve with a life threatening blood clot in his lung.
“I want to just get back on the field and get a starting job,” he said.
Gordon’s Growth: Weeden says that WR Josh Gordon is much further along than he was as a rookie last season.
“There’s no doubt about it,” he said. “It’s not just on the field but walking around in the building. He’s playing faster and has a lot of confidence.”
Weeden envisions some of the matchups that Gordon might get.
“Getting him out there on a corner alone, I would have no hesitation in throwing the ball up for him. He’s that good.”
Chudzinski said he has seen growth.
“I’ve really seen improvement in Josh in his route running and have really been pleased with his progress.”