Inside Slant


Posted Jul 18, 2012


The coaches want Brandon Weeden to get all the time he needs with the starters to make sure they are in sync when the season opens.

 

1. The coaches want Brandon Weeden to get all the time he needs with the starters to make sure they are in sync when the season opens. Weeden has not been named the starter yet, but it would be the biggest story of training camp if the 22nd pick in the draft this year does not end up starting. Weeden played five years of minor league baseball with the Yankees, Dodgers and Royals, so he is not overwhelmed about being a pro athlete. Neither he nor the Browns are concerned he will be 28 in his first NFL training camp. He is, though, still a rookie. How quickly Weeden adjusts to NFL defenses after playing in the Big 12 will be the key factor in how much the Browns improve on their 4-12 record in 2011.

2. Improving the offensive line is critical to any jump the Browns make in the AFC North. Rookie Mitchell Schwartz will be the starting right tackle from the first day of training camp. Getting him plenty of practice against the pass rush is essential in keeping Weeden vertical. Right tackle was a major problem for the Browns last season, though the problems cannot all be pinned on Tony Pashos. He tried to play with a foot injury that required surgery after the season ended. He would likely have missed all of 2012 so the Browns released him. Schwartz isn't the only player being counted on to fortify the line. Left guard Jason Pinkston and right guard Shawn Lauvao are second-year starters and should be able to build on what they did last year.


PLAYER TO WATCH

Coach Pat Shurmur says second-year tight end Jordan Cameron made one of the biggest leaps from last year, based on his conditioning in the offseason. Cameron then continued to show that improvement on the field during OTAs and minicamp. Incumbent starting tight end Benjamin Watson fought through three concussions last season. The last one landed him on injured reserve for the final three games. Cameron is quicker than Watson. More because of a numbers game than anything else, Cameron was inactive in eight games last year. He caught five passes in the final three games when Watson was on injured reserve. He will have to show his blocking has improved as much as his route running and hands to unseat Watson, but he will get plenty of opportunities to do that in training camp.


ON THE HOT SEAT

Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi is entering his fourth season as a starter. He has seven career touchdown catches and never caught more than 36 passes in one season. He was a second-round draft pick in 2009, the same year the Browns drafted Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie in the second round. They gave up on Robiskie last year. They are not at that point with Massaquoi, but he will have to produce if he expects to re-sign with the Browns next year. The Browns selected Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft by investing a second-round pick in 2013. General manager Tom Heckert says Gordon can eventually start. That should be a signal to Massaquoi, who has to get tougher to be a No. 1 receiver.


NOTES, QUOTES

Gordon selected in supplemental draft

--The Browns put in a bid of a second-round pick in the supplemental draft Thursday (July 12) and were awarded Baylor/Utah wide receiver Josh Gordon. By doing so, the Browns will not have their second-round pick in the 2013 draft.

"He's a big kid," general manager Tom Heckert said. "He's a little over 6-3 and he is 225. He can run and he has huge hands and long arms. He is an impressive looking kid. There were some concerns about him, so I drilled him pretty hard when I was with him. He didn't back down and he told me everything that I thought I needed to hear from him."

Gordon was suspended by Baylor in 2011 following a marijuana arrest. He transferred to Utah and sat out the season. He caught 42 passes for 714 yards and seven touchdowns for Baylor in 2010.

On Monday (July 16), Gordon signed a four-year contract.

--Gordon is the first player taken by the Browns in the supplemental draft since they were awarded quarterback Bernie Kosar with a first-round pick in 1985.

--Rookies took a break from their normal routine on June 20 when they worked with 250 youngsters at the conclusion of a three-day youth football camp in Cleveland Browns Stadium. The participants, ranging in age between 7 and 12, learned fundamentals such as blocking, kicking and passing.

--Case McCoy, brother of embattled Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, got scammed by a fake ESPN twitter account announcing the Browns traded Colt McCoy to the Eagles.

Case McCoy tweeted: "Good luck Brandon (Weeden). Fan of you, but my brother's pulling the lucky straw on this one. Cleveland is only going downhill!" He followed that by tweeting "That is, if these rumors are true."

The younger McCoy might be wishing he talked to Colt before going the social media route. When he discovered McCoy is still a Browns quarterback - for now - he felt compelled to tweet again. "Fake ESPN accounts are nuts. Got me fired up over nothing! Still kinda meant what I said."

The Browns say Colt McCoy is not on the trading block "right now," but haven't ruled out trading him at some point.

--Jim Brown is willing to listen if Mike Holmgren wants to talk, the Browns' all-time great running back told Cleveland.com

Brown has treated the Browns frostily for two years, ever since Holmgren eliminated his job as executive advisor to Randy Lerner. The job paid a reported $500,000 a year.

During a press conference, Holmgren said he would welcome Brown back "with open arms" and said, "How the Browns view Jim Brown hasn't changed and will never change." He did not say, however, that Brown can have his old job back.

"I've always been attracted to anyone who has the class to reach out," Brown said. "I am a Cleveland Brown, but it is always up to those in control to decide what they want to do."

--Without going into detail, running back Trent Richardson, selected by the Browns with the third overall pick in the draft, said his contract is "about done," but he is waiting on first pick Andrew Luck and second pick Robert Griffin III to sign their contracts.

"We're just waiting on the big boys," he said.

--Backup defensive tackle Kiante Tripp was in jail in Atlanta on Tuesday on a felony burglary charge, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

"We are aware of the incident involving Kiante Tripp," Browns general manager Tom Heckert said in a statement. "We are currently gathering information related to it, and will not have any further comment at this time."

Tripp, 24, was arrested along with two others Sunday afternoon at an apartment in a suburb of Atlanta. Investigators told WAGA-TV in Atlanta that Tripp and the other two men were looking for a man and money that allegedly was stolen from them. They reportedly had guns when the alleged burglary occurred.

Tripp was signed to the Browns' practice squad last October and promoted to the active roster in November. He got into three games in 2011.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I can't wait to get started and acclimated to a new city as well as the team. I want to be able to contribute to the offense in any way I can, and I am ready to come in and work hard to make that happen." - Wide receiver Josh Gordon after being taken by the Browns in the supplemental draft.



blog comments powered by Disqus


MAGAZINE COVERAGE
Subscribe today and get a full year of The Orange and Brown Report Magazine with an annual Total Access Pass.
Sign Up Today!

Upgrade Now!
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from theOBR.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Cleveland
[View My HotList]