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Browns training camp snapshot: Secondary dominates, wide receiver David Nelson returns to practice

By Nate Ulrich Published: July 26, 2013

The Browns held their second full-squad practice of training camp today. Below is a quick glance at what happened.

Storylines: The defensive backs dominated during team drills, and the most notable player in the group was no exception. Starting cornerback Joe Haden intercepted a pass from quarterback Brandon Weeden to wide receiver Josh Gordon on an out route. Haden bolted the other way for what would have been a pick-six. After the play, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski congratulated Haden. During his post-practice news conference, Chudzinski said Haden has stepped up as a leader this offseason, and he believes Haden has great potential. “I think Joe’s best days are ahead of him if he continues to work,” Chudzinski said. Not long after Haden’s pick, he and cornerback Buster Skrine, who rotated with Chris Owens with the first-team defense, broke up passes on consecutive plays. Backup safeties Johnson Bademosi and Josh Aubrey dropped interceptions on back-to-back passes thrown by quarterback Brian Hoyer. In an another 11-on-11 session, Skrine intercepted a pass from quarterback Jason Campbell intended for Grodon on a hook route. Cornerback Trevin Wade intercepted a pass that went in and out of the hands of wide receiver Jordan Norwood. Hoyer threw the pass. … Wide receiver David Nelson passed a physical today and returned to practice. It was his first practice since he tore an anterior cruciate ligament as a member of the Buffalo Bills in last year’s season opener and underwent a subsequent knee surgery. Nelson participated in individual drills but not team sessions. He declined to speak to the media afterward. “We’ll continue to evaluate him and hopefully upgrade him as we’re going,” Chudzinski said.

Position battles: For the second consecutive practice, John Greco and Shawn Lauvao worked at left and right guard, respectively, with the first-team offense. Jason Pinkston took reps as the second-team left guard. … T.J. Conley took the first reps in punting drills, followed by Spencer Lanning.

Highlights: Quarterback Brandon Weeden, who continued to take all the first-team reps, completed a deep touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin in one-on-one drills pitting the receivers against the defensive backs. … In a seven-on-seven drill, Weeden connected with wide receiver Greg Little, who made a great grab against tight coverage from Skrine. … At the beginning of practice, the players did a stretching exercise in which they raised one arm while leaning over. A fan yelled, “Raise your hand if you’re glad [ex-Browns coach Pat] Shurmur’s gone.” Backup running back Brandon Jackson stood straight up and raised both hands. The crowd laughed and cheered while one fan shouted, “We’re with ya.”

Injuries: Wide receiver Josh Gordon returned to practice and fully participated after a cramp in his left calf/Achilles area forced him to sit out the final half-hour of Thursday’s practice. … Nose tackle Phil Taylor (strained calf), tight end Kellen Davis (sprained knee) and undrafted rookie offensive lineman Chris Faulk (knee) continued to sit out. All three did light exercises on the side. Chudzinski said he expects Taylor and Davis back soon. A calf injury forced defensive end Ahtyba Rubin to miss three-plus games last season, but Chudzinski doesn’t believe Taylor’s injury is nearly as serious. “I’m expecting him back in the next few days,” Chudzinski said of Taylor. “He feels good and he’s worked hard on the side there with the trainers and all reports I’ve gotten are pretty positive.” John Hughes continued to play nose tackle for the first-team defense in Taylor's absence. … In the final half-hour of practice, backup offensive right tackle Oniel Cousins limped to the sideline during team drills and walked off with a trainer a few minutes later. Chudzinski said Cousins rolled an ankle.

Saturday’s schedule: Practice from 4-6:30 p.m. For updates, call 877-627-6967.

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