The Browns held an organized team activity practice today. They’ll continue to practice each day until they wrap up OTAs on Friday, but today’s session was the last one open to media. Here are some highlights from practice and subsequent interviews:
Who’s the No. 2 quarterback?
It’s no secret Browns coach Pat Shurmur is expected to name rookie Brandon Weeden the team’s starting quarterback at some point, but the competition to become the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart isn’t as clear.
Will it be Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace?
“I’ll let you know sooner than later, how’s that?” Shurmur said. “No, they’re out here practicing, and I have an idea of how this thing’s gonna work out based on what I’m seeing. But they’ve gotta come out here and do it. So we’ll decide.”
McCoy is younger (25 versus 31) and cheaper ($540,000 base salary this year versus $2.4 million) than Wallace. But Wallace has nine years of experience in the West Coast offense, strong ties to President Mike Holmgren and insists he’s willing to mentor Weeden.
Although Shurmur reiterated he could envision McCoy and Wallace staying on the roster and said he favors keeping three quarterbacks, Wallace said he believes there’s “probably not” room on the regular-season roster for the top three players at the position. Wallace also said he would not be OK with being named the No. 3 quarterback.
“We all know the third guy doesn’t dress on Sundays,” Wallace said. “If that comes out of that decision, obviously neither one of us wants to be that third guy.”
Wallace said he doesn’t know whether he would ask for a trade or release if he becomes the third quarterback.
McCoy said he refuses to think about how he would react if he’s named the No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback.
“I have not gone there in my mind,” McCoy said. “When I come out to practice, in my mind I’m the starter. That’s the only way I look at it.”
McCoy sidestepped a question about whether he has thought about asking for a trade or release.
“That’s out of my control, too,” McCoy said. “Again, in my mindset, we have three more OTAs, and I want to come out here and make those the best OTAs that we’ve had so far.”
Shurmur explained the qualities he looks for in a backup quarterback.
“I think there’s a couple things that are important about a backup quarterback, and let’s talk about during the season now,” Shurmur said. … “Because the starter gets almost all the reps during the week, the backup needs to be able to come in and function efficiently and not have many reps. That’s one characteristic. And then typically your backup quarterback, I like the fact that he may have mobility because the game may be in a situation where you’ve lost your starter and you want to have everything available to you whether it be movement throws, drop-back throws, whatnot.”
Does experience play a factor?
“Absolutely,” Shurmur said. “Anytime you get an experienced player either as a starter or as a backup, I think it helps them.”
Wallace presented his case to reporters.
“This is my 10th year,” Wallace said. “I know the ropes. I know what goes on. I’m not naïve to that. I know the system well enough to compete at anytime. Whatever decision is made, that’s the coaches’ decision. We would all love for it to be sooner than later to figure that situation out. But the coaches are trying their best to figure out what’s gonna happen. And like we’ve all said before, we don’t know if we’re all three gonna stick around. We might and we might not. But they know what I bring to the table. And if that’s enough, who knows?”
McCoy said he doesn’t plan to present his case to the front office.
“I think my mindset is just to come out here and play, and with each rep that I get, I expect to get better,” McCoy said. “Each rep that I get, that’s what I can control. I study hard. I understand what’s going on. I watch other quarterbacks. I watched defenses throughout this offseason. We’re trying to beat our defense now [in practices], but you’ve gotta look at what you’re gonna face the rest of the year. So I’m doing all the things that I would do as a starting quarterback, and I don’t think that’ll change.”
Weeden said even though the coaches can help him learn the offense, advice from other quarterbacks is invaluable.
“These coaches have been doing it so long, they see certain things, but there are times when you have to make adjustments on the fly and you have to do it yourself,” Weeden said. “Seneca and Colt have done it for a couple years -- Seneca for 10. He’s seen about all there is to see in this league. So if I can just absorb some of the stuff he’s trying to tell me, to me that goes a long way. The coaching has been outstanding the entire time, but I think also those guys giving me a little bit of input along the way has helped me a lot as well.”
Kent State pride
Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs said he’s planning to travel to Omaha, Neb., for the Kent State University baseball team’s first appearance in the College World Series. The Golden Flashes defeated the Oregon Ducks 3-2 Monday night in Game 3 of a Super Regional and will advance to play Arkansas on Saturday.
“I’m trying to get there,” said Cribbs, a Kent State graduate. “I’ve got to get tickets. I’m trying to talk to the university, trying to schedule a bus or something. We’ll see what happens.
“I’m trying to be there to support my team. I love that they’re giving us something to cheer for, especially during this offseason.”
Cribbs said he went wild when Kent State clinched its berth.
“I was getting a massage,” Cribbs said. “I jumped off the table. I felt like I was at the game. I was jumping around. I grabbed my phone, tweeting. [Strong safety] T.J. [Ward] went to Oregon. I was like, ‘We beat them seagulls,’ messing with him. I can’t get enough. They’re going to the big show. That’s what it’s all about.”
Free safety Usama Young, another Kent State product, might make the trip, too.
“[Cribbs] said he was getting a bus,” Young said. “I said, ‘Make sure you’ve got room for me.’ I’m going to support.”
Shurmur called today’s practice “sloppy.” Rookie wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who’s featured in the video posted above, provided some of the lowlights while struggling to cleanly field punts. At one point, he dropped two punts in a row.
“Coming back off of kind of a four-day weekend, I thought it was a little bit sloppy,” Shurmur said. “The effort was great, but I think they would all agree with me when [I say] there’s some areas that we could get better.
“I just think that there was a lesson in there that when you come back it’s [time] to get the motor running again and get back on point and being detailed. So I wouldn’t say it was a bad practice. I just think there was areas that we could have played better.”
Here’s the first-team offense the Browns used today: Weeden (quarterback); Trent Richardson (running back); Owen Marecic (fullback); Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi (wide receivers); Benjamin Watson (tight end); Joe Thomas (left tackle); Jason Pinkston (left guard); Alex Mack (center); Shawn Lauvao (right guard); and Oniel Cousins (right tackle).
Rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who practiced with the first-team offense throughout minicamp, worked with the second unit today. McCoy took some first-team snaps during an 11-on-11 drill toward the end of practice.
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).
Kicker Phil Dawson continued to skip the voluntary OTAs. He attended mandatory minicamp last week.
Undrafted rookies Jeff Shugarts, an offensive lineman from Ohio State, and Johnson Bademosi, a defensive back from Stanford, attended their first OTA practice. They missed the previous sessions because they were still in school.
Defensive lineman Brian Schaefering (recovering from a sports hernia surgery) and fullback Eddie Williams (back) did not practice. They watched from the sidelines.
Offensive lineman Stanley Daniels (undisclosed) participated in practice after sitting out previous sessions.
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.
In the first 11-on-11 session of practice, Ward broke up Weeden’s pass over the middle intended for Massaquoi. Paxson later tipped a pass from Weeden at the line of scrimmage, allowing linebacker Kaluka Maiava to intercept it. Wallace completed a pass of about 50 yards to Benjamin. … In the next 11-on-11 drill, Ward and Haden broke up passes from Wallace. … In the final 11-on-11 session, Patterson broke up a pass from McCoy. ... Weeden predicted the Oklahoma City Thunder will defeat the Miami Heat in six games in the NBA Finals, which begin tonight. Weeden is a huge Thunder fan. Benjamin, a University of Miami product, picked the Heat to prevail in six games.