The final day of July is here, and the Cleveland Browns are just a couple of days away from hosting their annual Family Fun Day practice at FirstEnergy Stadium. The players should have been fresh after having an off day on Tuesday and were in full pads, ready to go on another beautiful day Wednesday afternoon. Let's get to what happened on Day 6 of training camp for the Browns.
CLEVELAND BROWNS TRAINING CAMP REPORT - DAY 6 (7/31/13)
- T.J. Ward Nursing a Hamstring Injury: One of the thinner positions heading into training camp was at safety, where you had veteran T.J. Ward locking down one spot, and second-year players Tashaun Gipson and Johnson Bademosi competing for the other one. One week into camp, injuries (not of the serious variety, though), have given guys lower on the depth chart some more opportunities to shine.
We already know about Gipson's shoulder injury that he suffered on Sunday. On Wednesday, Ward was limited in team drills because of a little bit of a hamstring injury, according to head coach Rob Chudzinski. Ward wasn't completely out-of-the-picture, though. For example, down near the goal line, Ward beat tight end Jordan Cameron to a pass and was able to break it up, according to Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram.
- Safety Lineup: With Ward's injury in mind and sixth-round pick Jamoris Slaughter also nursing a hamstring injury (and being limited to individual drills), who else was there to line up at safety for Cleveland? Johnson Bademosi continued getting valuable reps at free safety.
The "new guy" to the party is undrafted free agent Josh Aubrey, who got some reps at strong safety with the first-team defense. When all four of the safeties get healthy, I expect Aubrey to be back on the third-team defense. If someone's injury continues to linger, though, Aubrey would be in line to be a surprise roster candidate (by default).
- Lombardi Taking Up Time: I did not see as many tweets from the media about practice as I usually do, and I can guess the reason for that: Browns general manager Michael Lombardi. As practice was starting, Lombardi held a press conference in Berea that lasted about ten minutes. The members of the media were listening to Lombardi, and a lot of them went to type up a summary on what he said. You can watch Lombardi's press conference here, or read Steve Doerschuk's piece recapping the highlights from the press conference.
- Scare for Weeden: One of the freak injuries that can happen to your quarterback in a non-contact environment is them injuring their hand. That's what could have happened to QB Brandon Weeden mid-way through practice:
The Akron Beacon Journal said that he hit OLB Jabaal Sheard's helmet, and fortunately, Weeden shook it off -- on the next play, he was able to deliver a long touchdown throw to tight end Jordan Cameron up the seam. Near the end of practice, Weeden also connected with WR Travis Benjamin for a 50-yard touchdown on a post-corner, beating S Josh Aubrey, according to Petrak. Despite those two plays, ESPN Cleveland's Will Burge doesn't think it was the best of days for Weeden, who was performing in front of several members of the NFL Network (Marshall Faulk and Ian Rapoport).
Waiting for Next Year had a more detailed report on Weeden's struggles on the day. Fortunately for Weeden, Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer didn't do anything to flip the switch and impress anyone either, per WFNY.
- Little Endearing Himself to Fans: The continued evolution of WR Greg Little as a player and the amount of work he is putting in has made him one of, if not the star of training camp so far for the Browns. He did several things on Wednesday that were noteworthy:
(1) As described above, it was a day in which QB Brandon Weeden struggled. According to Will Burge of ESPN Cleveland, CB Buster Skrine did a great job jumping an out route to almost snag an interception. Little, however, fought back toward the ball and did just enough to break up the play.
(2) How cool is it to see WR Greg Little doing work in the defensive line drill? See the video from Jamir Howerton in the "videos" section below.
(3) A little humor from Little after the rough day Weeden was having:
(4) Although Little admitted last week that he received some compensation for it, this shows the unselfish nature he has:
- Kickers Not Doing So Well: No one is winning the kicker competition right now. Perhaps due to the struggles both men are having in camp, after practice, head coach Rob Chudzinski said that the preseason games will be critical in determining who wins that competition.
According to WFNY, both Shayne Graham and Brandon Bogotay missed their first kicks at the end of one-minute drills (Tony Grossi makes it sound as though they were from 50 yards). Both kickers made their second attempt, but Graham's barely grazed off the goal post to scoot in.
- Hardesty Back in Team Drills: RB Montario Hardesty couldn't have liked seeing Dion Lewis outshine him while he was nursing a hamstring injury over the past couple of practices. Hardesty returned to team drills on Wednesday and it doesn't sound like he was limited. DE Desmond Bryant started participating in individual drills and should be set to return soon. WR Josh Gordon was idle as he rests with patellar tendinitis in his knee. Other players who remain inactive included FB Brock Bolen (calf), OT Chris Faulk (knee), and OG Ryan Miller (concussion).
- Brownies: With WR Josh Gordon resting, WR David Nelson ended up seeing a few snaps with the first-team offense. ... Grossi noted that P T.J. Conley had one shank good for 25 yards. ... FS Johnson Bademosi and LB D'Qwell Jackson had interceptions that came off deflections. ... LB Craig Robertson dropped an interception. ... CB Buster Skrine and CB Chris Owens continue rotating with the first-team defense. ... Grossi noted that the Browns are experimenting with different players at fullback, and on Wednesday, it was Brad Smelley, who also "leaped to make an impressive catch from quarterback Brian Hoyer," per the ABJ. ... TE Gary Barnidge caught a touchdown pass from QB Brandon Weeden in a red zone drill.
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