BEREA — In the NFL today, it’s all about matchups.
For the Browns offense, one of the strengths is at the tight end position with Ben Watson, Evan Moore, Jordan Cameron and Alex Smith. Watson caught a team-leading 64 passes in 2010. Moore was injured, but led the team with a 20.1 average on 16 receptions, including one touchdown.
The Browns invested a high draft choice to take Cameron, who is also a big, athletic tight end, who can create mismatches with smaller defensive backs.
“What you’ll find is when you put (Moore) in with other tight ends, he ends up with a linebacker or a safety matchup,” Shurmur said. “If he’s lined up as a third receiver, the defense treats him differently.”
Colt McCoy agrees that the tight end group has some really difference makers.
“We need to figure a way to get them on the field and get them the ball,” McCoy said after Wednesday’s practice. “We need to play to our strengths, and I’m confident in the coaches we have will do so.”
Shurmur said using Moore as a tight end, is more of an advantage than just making him a full-time wide receiver.
“Evan has more of a tight end’s body.”
Moore scored four touchdowns at last Saturday’s scrimmage on Family Day at Cleveland Browns Stadium. He had only practiced a couple days since he had to wait until Aug. 4, when the NFL’s league year started.
“I felt like a fish out of water on the first day (practicing),” Moore said. “It takes a few days to get your legs back under you. I wanted to hit the ground running.”
Moore made the most of his chances after Eric Mangini brought him to the Browns’ practice team in 2009.
“It’s all about getting opportunities,” Moore said. “Sometimes, opportunities are few and far between. Sometimes they come in bunches like they did the other day.”
There’s a good chance, with the drafting of Cameron, the Browns envision having Moore be a big part of the offense.
“There’s no question, we have a lot of good athletes,” Moore said. “I’m excited to be part of it.”
“He’s a big target,” Shurmur said of the 6-6 Moore. “We’re hopeful he can be a tough matchup for the linebacker and the safety.
“He’ll play tight end, but tight ends are interchangeable guys,” Shurmur said. “They can be next to the tackle, the slot of even outside of the receiver. System-wise, we can get him there.”
Moore was exposed to the West Coast offense at Stanford.
“We’re all starting at zero,” Moore said. “I played a little of this offense in college.
“Coach Shurmur believes in our group, so he’s going to make it tight end friendly,” Moore said. “I trust the coaches are going to put us in situations to be successful, it’s up to us to pull through.”
McCoy likes what Moore brings to the offense.
“Evan’s provided a big spark for us offensively,” McCoy said. “He’s a big body, big target.”
Mo Progress: WR Mohamed Massaquoi is out of his soft cast and now is wearing a boot. Shurmur said he could be back next week.
“I wouldn’t put a date on it,” he said. “The progression has been expected. It’s possible. He could be running around next week.”
QB Colt McCoy looking forward to getting his perceived No. 1 receiver back.
“It’s good he’s making progress,” McCoy said. “We definitely want to get him back. He’s one of the oldest, most experienced guys we have (at receiver).”
Massaquoi is in his third season.
Dockery Flashers: Undrafted rookie free agent DB James Dockery from Oregon State picked off QB Jarrett Brown and has been making plays.
“He made a nice play at the end of practice,” Shurmur said. “He’s showed up in practice. I’m looking forward to see how he does Saturday.”
Robo Good: Shurmur said WR Brian Robiskie is quietly having a good camp.
“He’s very steady,” he said. “That’s a lot of what he is. He’s a steady guy and is doing the right thing. I like what he’s done out there.”
Looking Good: The first depth chart shows three drafted rookies as starters in FB Owen Marecic (4th), DL Phil Taylor (1st) and DL Jabaal Sheard (2nd). WR Greg Little is listed behind WR Josh Cribbs, but is expected to play a lot, if not start. CB Buster Skrine (5th) is the nickel back and behind CB Joe Haden.
Injury Update: Other than Massaquoi, DL Jabari Fletcher (knee), LB Chris Gocong (stinger), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), OL Dominic Alford (back) and DL Jayme Mitchell (knee) missed practice.