BEREA: With the Browns’ offense suffering from brain cramps during organized team activities on a sizzling Thursday morning, Norv Turner’s wrath provided a wake-up call.
Turner chewed out second-string quarterback Jason Campbell for not throwing to running back Dion Lewis in an 11-on-11 drill, and he ripped undrafted rookie wide receiver Mike Edwards for failing to run the correct route during the same play. It didn’t take long for Turner to follow his profanity-laced rant with another aimed at first-team quarterback Brandon Weeden for a much less obvious reason that had something to do with the way he handled a certain call.
“They gave Norv that double shot of espresso this morning instead of the decaf with two sugars and two creams,” wide receiver Greg Little said after practice. “He knows how to stay on top of you, but knows how to do it. He can be funny at times about it, but he’s definitely a perfectionist.
“He has been around the game so long that he knows how to talk to professionals and do it in a professional manner. You always want a coach who can relate and joke but still is about business, and that’s exactly who Norv is.”
Local scribes haven’t seen a coach become that heated at practice since ex-Browns coach Pat Shurmur confronted cornerback Joe Haden for pulling wide receiver Travis Benjamin to the ground in a non-contact drill and then kicked Haden out of the final session of training camp open to the public last year.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, though, is accustomed to Turner’s fiery side. Turner, 61, is in his first year as offensive coordinator of the Browns, but his resume features 14 seasons of experience as an NFL head coach, including the past six with the San Diego Chargers. Chudzinski worked for Turner from 2009-10, serving as his assistant head coach and tight ends coach with the Chargers.
“That’s the way Norv has been his whole coaching career,” Chudzinski said. “He coaches guys hard, and that’s the way we coach. That’s what I’ve been around, and that’s the way we’ll always coach. I think guys respond to it, and the guys really appreciate that.”
Weeden, who’s penciled in as the Browns’ starting quarterback and has taken all the first-team reps throughout the OTAs, said he’s accustomed to intense offensive coordinators because he played for Dana Holgorsen and Todd Monken at Oklahoma State University.
“They’re spitting images of Norv, and so I’m used to it,” Weeden said. “He’s yelling at me and I’m on to the next play, so get in the huddle and go play. But he coaches me every play, and I can’t ask any more than that.
“He expects the highest level out of me, and that’s what I want. So he’s making me better and he apologized because I think, you know, he blew a gasket. But it’s going to happen. It’s football.
“He’ll get on you. You’ve got to be on your toes and not that you want to play scared, but you have to be error free at this level, and that’s what he expects out of all of us.”
Turner, who will serve as the Browns’ play-caller and quarterbacks coach, doesn’t reserve his comments strictly for the offense. He’s also been known to talk trash to some cornerbacks, including Haden and rookie Leon McFadden.
“He says [something] to me every day,” Haden said. “He’s like, ‘Joe, we’re going to double move you today.’ [I’m] like, ‘Whatever.’ He just likes to talk.”
Weeden traveled to his home state last week and spent Friday helping victims of the massive tornado that devastated Moore, Okla.
“Basically just went from house to house and asked people if they needed help — anything we could do,” Weeden said. “So basically threw on some gloves and got in the rubble and started sorting everything into piles.”
Weeden’s wife, Melanie, is from Moore, and her mother and brother still live there. Weeden said his brother-in-law’s home was one of thousands that suffered significant damage.
“I watched all the coverage leading up to it, and it was worse than I imagined,” Weeden said. “You guys have seen it. It’s bad. It’s going to take some time [to rebuild].”
Top pick progressing
Barkevious Mingo, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, got a chance to work with the first-team defense. Mingo and Quentin Groves rotated at outside linebacker opposite Jabaal Sheard.
Paul Kruger usually occupies that spot, but he missed practice because of a family obligation, a team spokesman said. Kruger’s younger brother Dave was in attendance.
Mingo is still adjusting to standing up full time in defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4, multi-front scheme after playing defensive end at Louisiana State University.
“I’m getting the hang of it,” Mingo said. “I like being on my feet, I like being able to move in space. I think it’s natural to me. [Being on the field in practice is] the only thing that helps, going out there and actually playing those reps. Getting in the film room, doing a little extra, it all comes together. That’s how you pick it up fast.”
Calling his shot
Haden is predicting he’ll break out in his fourth NFL season.
“This year is going to be my year,” Haden said. “I just want to bring the team with me.”
The arrival of Horton is one of the reasons Haden is carrying himself with so much swagger.
“That’s a coach who believes in me, a coach who’s going to have me guarding No. 1 [wide receivers],” Haden said. “He said I’m his guy, I’m his corner he’s been looking for.”
Tight end Jordan Cameron practiced after sitting out last week with a strained groin muscle. Running back Trent Richardson (strained muscle in right shin), safety Jamoris Slaughter (Achilles), offensive tackle Chris Faulk (knee) and wide receivers Jordan Norwood (unknown) and David Nelson (knee) sat out with injuries.
Defensive end Desmond Bryant practiced after missing OTAs May 23 while dealing with a legal matter. … Shawn Lauvao worked at left guard and John Greco at right guard with the first-team offense. Jason Pinkston worked at left guard with the second unit. … Cornerback Chris Owens worked with the first-team defense opposite Haden. Buster Skrine covered the slot in the nickel package. … Like last week, Campbell took the majority of the reps with the second-team offense, but third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer worked some with the second unit as well. … Benjamin practiced returning punts, followed by fellow wide receiver Davone Bess. T.J. Conley served as the first-team punter, and Spencer Lanning worked with the second group. … The Browns signed former Boise State linebacker Tommy Smith as an undrafted free agent and waived undrafted rookie wide receiver Perez Ashford, a product of Northern Illinois University and Shaker Heights High School. … The Browns will wrap up OTAs today and hold their mandatory minicamp June 4-6.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at https://ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.