BEREA—The Browns concluded their rookie minicamp with one practice Sunday and Pat Shurmur was pleased with what was accomplished.
“It was a good and productive minicamp,” Shurmur said. “It was a very good start, but we have a long way to go.”
Shurmur said it served as an orientation on what will transpire in the coming days and months.
“Tomorrow, these (rookies) will be in the off-season program with the veterans and we’ll be one team,” he said. “What (the players) learned as a group and now we put the older guys with them. It will be a good foundation on how we work and an orientation for what we’re trying to do.”
Shurmur said he was able to see the players and why the Browns drafted them.
“I think what impresses me the most is a lot that a lot of the guys that we are talking about,” Shurmur said. “I see the reasons why we drafted them. I have not been disappointed in what these guys are based on what we thought they were when we drafted them.”
Shurmur said he is very excited to have a normal off-season after starting his career with the Browns and as a head coach in the middle of a lockout last year.
“In the middle of May last year to the middle of May this year is night and day different,” Shurmur said. “I’m excited most about that. We can have the normal teaching process and it’s easier to visualize (what we’re doing.)”
Shurmur was impressed with some of the team’s top pick, including first-round picks Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden.
“Wow. He is a very powerful man and he is powerfully built,” Shurmur said of Richardson on Saturday. “Don’t let the 5-9 and a half fool you. He is almost 230 pounds and that is a lot of muscle packed into that body. I think he’s got a very powerful build much like we thought when we drafted him and it shows up on the field.”
Shurmur did say it’s hard to judge a back in a minicamp.
“It’s hard to see a running back do what he does well (in minicamp),” Shurmur said. “He handled the ball well, he showed he has good vision, and he caught the ball well.”
Weeden made his impressions of Richardson known.
“I said he was the real deal on the first day,” Weeden said. “On the third day, I would say he’s a ‘freak’.
Shurmur said Weeden performed well and spent most of his time under center and not in the shotgun.
“He generally operated well,” Shurmur said. “On only a couple of plays he wasn’t under center.
“He was very accurate and he throws a good ball.”
Weeden felt he accomplished what he was hoping to in the minicamp.
“I think I got better every day,” Weeden said. “That was my goal.
“I felt like I had good command of the offense,” Weeden said. “I felt comfortable as the camp went on and felt I could play without thinking.”
Weeden threw the ball very well, hooking up with former teammate at Oklahoma St. Josh Cooper for a touchdown on a tight pass in the corner of the end zone.
“We’re throwing vertical (in the West Coast offense),” Weeden said. “I think I showed I can make those throws and hit the sideline and the corners.”
Weeden threw two interceptions, but one was off Cooper’s hands.
Weeden said he wasn’t uptight coming into his first pro camp.
“I felt completely like myself,” Weeden said. “I’m used to spring practice at this time (in college) and was just anxious to put the helmets on and get back out here (on the field).”
Weeden was asked about joining Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace in the off-season program on Monday when the real competition begins.
“We’re going to compete, but we’re human beings,” Weeden said. “We’re going to help each other and try to get better.”
Benjamin Flashes: Fourth-round draft choice WR Travis Benjamin made a couple of nice catches, including a slant for a touchdown on the minicamp’s last play.
Shurmur was asked if he thought Benjamin would be in the mix to see a lot of action in the offense.
“I would say so,” he said. “I saw a lot of good things from him.”
Benjamin caught the eye of Weeden, as well.
“He can really fly,” Weeden said. “He’ll only get better and we’ll get better chemistry, like I have with (Josh) Cooper (five years at Oklahoma St.)”
Cooper was the recipient of a couple of passes from Weeden, including a touchdown in the corner of the end zone. He also had a pass go off his hands that was intercepted by Antwuan Reed.
Versatile JMJ: LB James-Michael Johnson displayed his versatility playing all three positions as linebacker. Johnson was the Browns’ second fourth-round draft choice from Nevada.
“He played all three positions (at practice),” Shurmur said. “We saw he could learn and forced him to learn and he responded well. He showed up.”
Quick Hits: FA David Sims (Iowa St.) made the play of the day when he tipped a pass from QB Brandon Weeden and then completed the interception in the end zone…Weeden threw a pass into the end zone that went off the hands of WR Josh Cooper and was intercepted by DB Antwuan Reed… Earlier, Cooper caught a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone…Weeden closed the mini camp with a quick slant to WR Travis Benjamin for a touchdown…The Browns will now have three OTA sessions (May 22-24; May 30-June 1 and June 12-15) and a 3-day full team minicamp June 5-7.