BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – To say that this is no ordinary training camp would be an understatement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything in 2020, including how the Browns and NFL operate as well as how we are able to cover camp.
After a two-week delay, the Browns held their first practice of training camp Friday afternoon. The strength and conditioning phase is over and now it’s time for some real football practice.
Here’s a peek behind the scenes from day 1 of Camp Stefanski 2020.
The day began with reporters electronically filling out a medical prescreening questionnaire, which includes a self-temperature check, from home. This will be a daily procedure to prevent anyone with symptoms from accessing the facility.
All player and coach media sessions continue to be done remotely via Zoom video conferencing. Friday, we visited with quarterback Baker Mayfield, receiver Jarvis Landry, rookie safety Grant Delpit, and of course head coach Kevin Stefanski.
Mayfield was candid about doubting himself during a difficult 2019 season, Landry spoke of the challenges he dealt with during rehab and Delpit about getting a crash course in the NFL.
Upon arriving at the facility, reporters are screened, including a temperature check before moving along to pick up rosters and a credential.
In the days when fans filled the stands, reporters were free to walk and observe along the edges of the practice fields. That too has changed this year. Reporters are now limited to designated spaces to view practice, socially distant of course, to protect players and coaches from any possible close interaction.
Stefanski and his staff wore masks throughout practice. Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam were in the middle of the field, as per usual, also masked. Everyone that was not a player wore masks.
Overall, it looked like your typical early training camp practice with players working in helmets and shorts.
Fundamentals were covered during individual and positional drills. The defensive lineman worked the sleds and bags while offensive linemen worked on their footwork and hand placement on the other field. Receivers and DBs went one on one.
Myles Garrett spent the day observing. A hamstring injury means it will be a bit before we see him. Fifth-round pick Nick Harris filled in for center JC Tretter, who had minor knee surgery Thursday which will keep him out an undetermined amount of time.
The 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 work took place on the opposite field so tangible observations were difficult to attain from our vantage point.
One thing that was clear today, Stefanski has been transparent about what he wants to do offensively. Fullbacks and tight ends appeared to get plenty of work in offensive sets and opportunities to get their hands on the ball.
The highlight of the day came early in practice when Baker Mayfield unloaded a deep ball that Jarvis Landry ran under for an easy touchdown of at least 60 yards. Landry is working his way back into team work after recovering from offseason hip surgery in February.
Kareem Hunt ripped off a long touchdown run and backup quarterback Case Keenum dropped a deep ball right into the arms of receiver KhaDarel Hodge over the middle in the end zone.
Cornerback Sheldrick Redwine intercepted a pass during team drills.
Punter Jamie Gillan – AKA the Scottish Hammer – boomed a couple of punts and dropped a few more inside the 10-yard line during special teams work. He looks ready to go.