Despite recent surges of optimism on the NFL’s labor front, several Browns players haven’t stopped making plans to work out together during the lockout.
If the work stoppage ends soon, they’ll be ready to flock to the team’s headquarters in Berea. If it persists, they’ll be prepared to continue training on their own.
The series of players-only workouts that quarterback Colt McCoy organized for the offense during the past few months could expand to include members of the defense in the near future. The Browns are aiming to hold full-squad workouts during the second week of July in Austin, Texas, if the lockout is still in effect, linebacker Scott Fujita said Monday via phone.
Earlier this month, rookie tight end Jordan Cameron told the Beacon Journal a fourth set of workouts among the offensive skill players, otherwise known as “Camp Colt,” had been scheduled for July 7-9 at the University of Texas. Those dates, however, could be altered to accommodate the defensive players who plan to join the action.
“The second week in July is what we’re shooting for, when both sides [offense and defense] would be available,” Fujita said. “That’s assuming the lockout is ongoing. If not, then hopefully we’re back in Cleveland and everybody is together there with our coaches.”
McCoy has been able to introduce coach Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense to his teammates, because he received a playbook before the owners locked out the players. Fujita obtained coaching materials while the lockout was briefly lifted in late April, so he hopes to be able to provide an overview of defensive coordinator Dick Jauron’s 4-3 scheme.
“I have a few materials, but there really wasn’t a whole lot for them to even give out during that window of time when the lockout was lifted,” Fujita said. “In terms of philosophy and things like that, I have things to go over with the guys that we can talk about.
“But I’ve been in touch with all the players anyway, especially on defense. We’ve been talking about the transition [from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3] and some of the things they should expect. But so far, what I’ve been given is just pretty vanilla stuff, more philosophy stuff, like I said.”
If the Browns follow through with their plans to hold full-squad workouts, they’ll join several NFL teams, including the Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and New York Jets, which have done the same this offseason.
Fujita credits McCoy for rallying the Browns in the midst of the league’s labor dispute. He said McCoy’s willingness to take charge reminds him of one of his former teammates.
“The way he’s taken control this offseason is really, really impressive,” Fujita said of McCoy. “There’s so many similarities between his leadership qualities and that of [Saints quarterback] Drew Brees. Again, Colt’s a young player. He’s got a long way to go before he can be compared to a guy like Drew Brees, but I’m talking about the basic, raw, natural leadership abilities. He’s got that. He took control of the huddle last year when he got his first start, and the way he’s organized these workouts, he’s just shown that he’s a natural leader.”
The Browns selected 12 high school players from Northeast Ohio to represent them during the NFL’s 7-on-7 National Tournament. DeShawn Dowdy of North, DaShawn Hall of GlenOak, Jalen Mays of Alliance, Nick Riley of Northwest and Christian Thompson of Canton McKinley are the representatives from the Beacon Journal’s coverage area.
The Browns will host the tournament for the first time. It's scheduled to be July 8-9 at two sites: the Browns’ training facility in Berea and Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://browns.ohio.com. Follow the Browns on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ABJ_Browns and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/browns.abj.