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July 31, 2011: News, notes and observations from Browns training camp

By Nate Ulrich Published: July 31, 2011
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, left, works with a trainer at the NFL football team's training camp in Berea, Ohio, Sunday, July 31, 2011. Massaquoi couldn't practice because of an injury to his left foot. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Here's what you need to know about the second practice of Browns training camp, which was also the first one open to the public:


  • Injuries: Wide receivers Josh Cribbs and Carlton Mitchell suffered injuries during practice. Cribbs watched from the sidelines with ice strapped to his left knee during the second half of practice. "He practiced all the way through one-on-one's, and then his knee got just a little stiff," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "So we just kind of held him out. We don't think there's anything there." Cribbs said a defensive back landed on his leg during one-on-one drills. He called the injury a leg strain. "I didn't want to press through it and risk missing a preseason game," Cribbs said.  Shurmur said Mitchell "had a little episode with his shoulder. I don't know how severe it is, but we'll see here." Mitchell walked off the field with a trainer and did not return. Tight end Benjamin Watson sat out with a head injury he suffered Saturday, when he took a knee to his helmet. When asked if Watson has a concussion, Shurmur said, "That's my understanding. Yeah." Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (left foot),  who's pictured to the left, offensive lineman Eric Steinbach (left knee) and Travis Ivey (undisclosed; Shurmur declined to identify an injury) watched practice from the sidelines for the second day in a row.

  • Still missing: Defensive tackle Phil Taylor, the Browns' first-round pick in this year's draft, missed another practice because he still has not signed his rookie contract. "When we were in Philadelphia this happened," Shurmur said. "When we were in St. Louis, you had guys that didn't get there right away. I think what you do is you find a way to catch them up when they get here. So the key, and what we need to focus on, is working with the guys that are here. And then when Phil gets here, we'll fight our fanny off to get him caught up. I think that's the approach you have to take." Defensive end Jayme Mitchell, who will re-sign with the Browns, wasn't at practice, either. Even though Mitchell wouldn't be able to practice until Aug. 4, per rules in the new labor deal, he would be able to watch practice from the sidelines like several other players who have recently signed free-agent deals. When asked if Mitchell is expected to come to town today, Shurmur said, "We feel like he'll be here soon." Shurmur also said he wouldn't comment on the trades the Browns made Saturday night. They acquired defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley from the Philadelphia Eagles and offensive lineman John Greco from the St. Louis Rams. The team has yet to announce the moves.

  • Replacements: With Cribbs sidelined, rookie wide receiver Greg Little practiced with the first-team offense. With Watson out, tight ends Alex Smith and rookie Jordan Cameron, who's pictured to the right, also took reps with the first-string offense. Little caught several passes, but Cameron stole the show. He went over the middle and made a nice adjustment to catch a sharp, low pass from quarterback Seneca Wallace during a session of 11-on-11. Later, he caught a pass from quarterback Colt McCoy on a deep crossing route.

  • Other projected starters: Aside from those substitutions, the first-string offense looked the same as it did Saturday. Here's a reminder: Quarterback — McCoy; Running back — Peyton Hillis; Fullback – Owen Marecic; Wide receiver — Brian Robiskie; 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 three-receiver sets were employed.

  • No changes: The original first-team defense remained intact. Here's another look: Defensive line — left end Brian Sanford, left tackle Scott Paxson, right tackle Ahtyba Rubin and right end Jabaal 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.

  • Not shocking: This isn't a surprise, but Marcus Benard should now be considered a defensive end. Although he's still listed as a linebacker on the roster, Benard followed the defensive linemen around and watched them conduct position drills at today's practice. He's one of those players who can't practice until Aug. 4 because he recently signed a contract, but he has been paying attention from the sidelines. Benard was an outside linebacker in former Browns coach Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense. His expected switch to defensive end now appears to be official, at least for now.

  • Practice highlights and lowlights: Haden nearly intercepted a pass thrown by McCoy during a session of 11-on-11. ... Cornerback Coye Francies had solid coverage on a deep pass from Wallace intended for wide receiver Johnathan Haggerty. ... D'Qwell Jackson nearly intercepted a pass from McCoy in a session of 11-on-11.

  • For some other highlights, check out my Twitter profile.

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