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Aug. 21, 2011: News, notes and observations from Browns training camp

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 21, 2011
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Joshua Cribbs before the Browns play the Detroit Lions in an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Here's what you need to know about the 15th practice of Browns training camp:


  • Ready to go: Several of the Browns' players are sidelined with injuries, but running back Montario Hardesty is not one of them. Hardesty, who tore the ACL in his left knee last September, is expected to make his 2011 preseason debut Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles. "I've been waiting a long time to see him play, and everyone has," Browns President Mike Holmgren said today while holding court after practice. "We keep our fingers crossed. He's a wonderful guy, and he's worked very, very hard to get out back on the field." Coach Pat Shurmur believes Hardesty has gained trust in his knee during recent practices. "He did some things in team (drills) where he was running in traffic as well as catching the ball out on the perimeter, and it appears to me like he's getting more and more comfortable with the knee," Shurmur said.

  • Injury updates: Wide receiver Josh Cribbs, who's pictured to the left, ended practice with his left leg wrapped after tweaking his hamstring. "Just a little, minor setback," Cribbs said. "Nothing big." Tight end Evan Moore was not on the practice field because he suffered a mild concussion Friday in an exhibition game against the Detroit Lions, Shurmur said. Running back Brandon Jackson is still having his toe evaluated after hurting it Friday, Shurmur said. Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (left foot), left guard Eric Steinbach (back), strong safety T.J. Ward (hamstring), free safety Usama Young (hamstring), weakside linebacker Chris Gocong (stinger), linebacker Steven Octavien (unspecified), wide receiver Carlton Mitchell (finger surgery), strong safety Eric Hagg (left knee surgery) and defensive end Jabari Fletcher (right knee) also sat out during practice. Shurmur said Massaquoi is getting closer to returning to action, but he said Massaquoi probably won't play Thursday against the Eagles. "I think he's very close," Shurmur said. "My understanding is he'll be out there running here in the next couple of days." Shurmur is also optimistic that Steinbach won't be out much longer. "Eric's feeling better," Shurmur said. "We're hopeful that he'll be back here soon."

  • Back in action: Running back Peyton Hillis (hamstring), tight end Benjamin Watson (hamstring) and linebacker Scott Fujita (bruised thigh) returned to practice today after missing time last week and sitting out against the Lions. "I feel pretty good," Fujita said. "The lungs are probably affected more the first day back than the thigh."

  • First-team substitute: Rookie offensive lineman Jason Pinkston filled in today for Steinbach at left guard with the first unit. John Greco started at left guard Friday instead of Pinkston, though Pinkston still played 47 snaps, Shurmur said. "He played most of the first half and into the third (quarter), and I think he showed up pretty well," Shurmur said. "For really a first big load of work, I think he handled it pretty well."

  • New number: Rookie defensive end Jabaal Sheard wore No. 97 during practice. He had previously been No. 90.

  • Practice highlights and lowlights: In one-on-one passing drills, cornerback Sheldon Brown broke up a pass to Cribbs. ... Rookie cornerback Buster Skrine got turned around by wide receiver Rod Windsor. ... In an 11-on-11 session, rookie wide receiver Greg Little bobbled and dropped a pass. ... Offensive lineman Branndon Braxton played right tackle with the second-team offense. ... Dimitri Patterson played nickel back for the first-team defense. ... Rookie tight end Jordan Cameron dropped a pass without any defenders near him. ... In a seven-on-seven session, tight end Alex Smith was wide open when he dropped a pass from quarterback Colt McCoy. ... In one-on-one pass-blocking and pass-rushing drills, rookie defensive tackle Phil Taylor twice got a good push against right guard Shawn Lauvao, but he couldn't shed Lauvao's blocks. ... Undrafted rookie James Dockery played cornerback with the second-team defense after serving as the free safety for the first unit last Wednesday. ... Wide receiver Johnathan Haggerty made a nice grab of a low throw from quarterback Seneca Wallace as Haggerty was hit by cornerback DeAngelo Smith. ... Only one of three two-minute drills yielded points for the offense. Little had another wide-open drop with the first unit, but he rebounded during the next play by making a diving catch. The session ended for the first-team offense when Patterson broke up McCoy's pass to wide receiver Jordan Norwood. Wallace completed key passes to wide receivers Demetrius Williams and Haggerty, setting up Phil Dawson's successful 37-yard field goal that capped the second-team offense's two-minute period. The third unit's drive ended with quarterback Jarrett Brown failing to get rid of the ball. Brown had nowhere -- or couldn't find anywhere -- to throw three times during the session.

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