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Browns minicamp: News, notes, observations and video from practice

By Nate Ulrich Published: June 7, 2012

The Browns wrapped up their mandatory full-squad minicamp today. Here are some highlights from practice and subsequent interviews:

A day after Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he wants to name a starting quarterback “sooner than later,” he was asked what he would like to see before he makes his decision.

“I want to see a good body of work here through the offseason, and I’ll decide at some point who our starter is,” Shurmur said.

Of course, rookie Brandon Weeden is expected to be Shurmur’s choice. Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft, has taken the majority of the first-team snaps throughout organized team activities and minicamp.

“He’s getting more reps than anybody at this point,” Shurmur said.

And at age 28, Weeden is definitely not a typical rookie. Tight end Benjamin Watson, 31, is the only projected starter on offense who’s older than Weeden.

“Well, he’s definitely different ‘cause I think he’s probably the oldest guy on the offense,” left tackle Joe Thomas, 27, said of Weeden, who spent five seasons in minor-league baseball before pursuing a football career at Oklahoma State. “It’s not like he’s a rookie really. He’s a smart guy as it is, but having that little bit of age under his belt, it doesn’t feel like he’s a 21, 22-year-old quarterback stepping into the huddle with big eyes. He kind of has a sense that he’s been there.”

Shurmur also has noticed Weeden has what it takes to lead the offense.

“There’s no question in my mind that he can command or have the presence that you need to run an NFL huddle,” Shurmur said. “I’ve seen it. So that’s not a concern in my mind.”

The man at running back

Although Shurmur isn’t ready to formally name a starting quarterback, he’s not as hesitant to identify rookie Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in this year’s draft, as his No. 1 running back.

When asked if he considers Richardson the Browns’ starting running back, Shurmur said, “I think that’s probably fair to say.”

In the video below, Thomas talks about Richardson and rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, the 37th overall pick in this year’s draft.

Player evaluations

Shurmur gave his thoughts on a few players. Here they are:

On tight end Jordan Cameron: “We’re expecting him [to improve]. I think he’s flashed out here in a way that we didn’t see him flash last year in training camp. So I feel like based on what he’s done here in the offseason, he’s positioning himself to make an impact for us.”

On wide receiver Jordan Norwood: “I think he’s doing a good job. We’ve used him outside a little bit more in this camp than we did last year when we played him the season inside. But he’s made progress.”

On wide receiver Carlton Mitchell: “Well, I think what I’d like to see him do is No. 1 be more consistent, first in practice and then be able to see it in the games.”

Fitting in

Here is the first-team offense the Browns used today: Weeden (quarterback); Richardson (running back); Owen Marecic (fullback); Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi (wide receivers); Watson (tight end); Thomas (left tackle); Jason Pinkston (left guard); Alex Mack (center); Shawn Lauvao (right guard); and Schwartz (right tackle).

The following is the first-team defense from today’s practice: Jabaal Sheard (left end); Ahtyba Rubin and Scott Paxson (tackles); Frostee Rucker (right end); Chris Gocong (weakside linebacker); D’Qwell Jackson (middle linebacker); Scott Fujita (strongside linebacker); Joe Haden and Sheldon Brown (cornerbacks); T.J. Ward (strong safety); and Eric Hagg (free safety).

Attendance

Offensive tackle Oniel Cousins returned to practice. He missed practice Wednesday as he dealt with a family matter, a team spokesman said.

Undrafted rookies Jeff Shugarts, an offensive lineman from Ohio State, and Johnson Bademosi, a defensive back from Stanford, continued to miss practice because they’re still in school.

Injuries

Defensive lineman Brian Schaefering (recovering from hernia surgery), fullback Eddie Williams (back) and offensive lineman Stanley Daniels (undisclosed) did not practice and watched from the sidelines.

Defensive tackle Phil Taylor continued to miss practice because he’s recovering from surgery he had last month to repair his torn left pectoral muscle.

Extra points

Quarterback Colt McCoy had a solid practice, and Weeden was not at his best. In a 7-on-7 session in the red zone, McCoy rolled to his right and threw a touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who dived to make the catch. In an 11-on-11 red-zone drill, McCoy threw a strike to wide receiver Owen Spencer, who caught the ball over cornerback Dimitri Patterson. McCoy also connected with Mitchell in the back of the end zone. … In an 11-on-11 drill, Weeden’s passes were broken up and nearly intercepted by free safety Eric Hagg and Patterson. Undrafted rookie cornerback Emanuel Davis intercepted a pass from quarterback Seneca Wallace that was intended for undrafted rookie receiver Bert Reed. … In a session of 7-on-7, Davis broke up a pass from Weeden to Massaquoi. Free safety Usama Young gained position in front of tight end Evan Moore in the end zone and picked off a pass from Weeden. Norwood used one hand to haul in a pass from Weeden in the back corner of the end zone despite coverage from strong safety Ray Ventrone. Linebacker Kaluka Maiava broke up a pass from Weeden to Moore in the end zone. Linebacker Chris Gocong deflected a pass from Wallace to tight end Dan Gronkowski. In an 11-on-11 red-zone drill, Weeden threw a bullet to Little, who grabbed the pass on a quick slant route. … Kicker Phil Dawson’s 65-yard field goal fell short by a few yards. … Shurmur said he typically likes to keep six wide receivers on the 53-man roster.

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