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July 30, 2011: News, notes and observations from Browns training camp

By Nate Ulrich Published: July 30, 2011
Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson (4) walks off the field with long snapper Ryan Pontbriand after the opening practice at the NFL football training camp in Berea, Ohio Saturday, July 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

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


  • Injuries: Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, offensive lineman Eric Steinbach and defensive lineman Travis Ivey were sidelined with injuries. Massaqoui had a cast on his left leg, and Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Massaquoi has a foot injury. Steinbach had his left knee wrapped. Ivey appeared to be rehabilitating an injury to his upper body. Massaquoi and Steinbach are on the non-football injury/active list, a team spokesman said. "Nothing that we feel is serious," Shurmur said of Massaquoi and Steinbach, both of whom are projected starters. "Just want to make sure they're right when we put them out there." When asked if Massaquoi suffered his foot injury during the most recent players-only workouts, otherwise known as "Camp Colt," in Austin, Texas, Shurmur said, "I don't know. There's some question as to when it happened."

  • Scary start: Tight end Benjamin Watson was shaken up after he ran a route across the middle and appeared to dive for a low pass thrown by quarterback Colt McCoy. Watson stayed on the ground for about a minute before walking off the field and into the team's facility with trainers. He did not return to practice. "It looked like he lost his footing on the route," Shurmur said of Watson. "And then he went down. I think he got a knee in the back of the head, so we'll have to see. He's in there being evaluated."

  • Official holdout: Defensive tackle Phil Taylor, the Browns' first-round pick in this year's draft, missed the team's first practice because he has yet to sign his rookie contract. The Browns have signed the other seven players whom they drafted this year. "We'd obviously love to have him here," Shurmur said of Taylor. "I know they're working hard to get a deal done. I've seen this before in other places. You just work with the guys that you have. The time they missed was valuable, but when you get them here, we've got good coaches that will spend time with them and try to get them up to speed as quickly as you can. There are a couple of phases of training camp that are important, especially for a big guy."

  • Attire: The players did not wear full pads. They wore helmets and shoulder pads. They won't practice in full pads until Monday. The offensive players wore brown jerseys, and the defensive players wore white. For the past two seasons, former Browns coach Eric Mangini made the offense wear white the defense wear brown. Quarterbacks also switched from orange jerseys to red ones.

  • Jersey numbers of drafted rookies: defensive end Jabaal Sheard, No. 90; wide receiver Greg Little, No. 15; tight end Jordan Cameron, No. 84; fullback Owen Marecic, No. 48, cornerback Buster Skrine, No. 22; offensive lineman Jason Pinkston, No. 62; safety Eric Hagg, No. 27.

  • Paying attention: Per the rules of the NFL's new labor deal, free agents who have signed must wait until the start of the new league year on Aug. 4 to practice. Signed rookies are the exception. The following signed players were on the field watching practice but could not participate because of the rule: kicker Phil Dawson (pictured to the right with long snapper Ryan Pontbriand), offensive lineman Billy Yates, tight end Evan Moore, defensive lineman Brian Schaefering, running back Brandon Jackson, safety Usama Young and defensive end/linebacker Marcus Benard.

  • Jayme Mitchell confirmed: Shurmur confirmed that defensive end Jayme Mitchell has been re-signed by the Browns, a move that has been reported on this blog but has yet to be formally announced by the team. "That was a big signing, Shurmur said. "We feel like he's a terrific pass rusher." Mitchell will play left defensive end, Shurmur said.

  • Here is the first-team offense from the opening practice: Quarterback -- McCoy; Running back -- Peyton Hillis; Fullback -- Marecic; Wide receivers -- Brian Robiskie and Josh Cribbs; Tight end -- Watson; Offensive line -- left tackle Joe Thomas, left guard Pat Murray, center Alex Mack, right guard Shawn Lauvao and right tackle Tony Pashos. Also, Jordan Norwood played in the slot when a three-receiver set was employed.

  • Here is the first-team defense from the opening practice: Defensive line -- left end Brian Sanford, left tackle Scott Paxson, right tackle Ahtyba Rubin and right end Sheard; Linebackers -- strongside linebacker Scott Fujita, middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, weakside linebacker Chris Gocong; Cornerbacks -- Joe Haden and Sheldon Brown; Safeties -- strong safety T.J. Ward and free safety Mike Adams.

  • Practice highlights and lowlights: Wide receivers Johnathan Haggerty and Carlton Mitchell had several catches, though Mitchell dropped one pass thrown right at his chest. ... Little also had a blatant drop. ... Ward broke up a short pass intended for Watson. ... D'Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass thrown by McCoy during a seven-on-seven session. ... McCoy responded with an intermediate completion to Norwood. ... Third-string quarterback Jarrett Brown aired out a deep pass and hit Cribbs in stride along the sideline. Cribbs beat defensive back Darian Hagan in coverage.

  • For some highlights from post-practice interviews, check out my Twitter profile.

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