The new-look 2018 Cleveland Browns began their practice in Berea today with routine stretching exercises while “March Madness” by Future played over the loud speakers.
This song is not new to the Cleveland Browns.
In 2015, a video released of QB Johnny Manziel partying while that song played in the background. This would become one of the infamous “party videos” that would ultimately play a small role in Manziel’s parting with the NFL and the turmoil that would ensue in Cleveland and Berea.
Today, the song had a new meaning.
The new Browns were energetic, dancing and had a sense of togetherness while the song played. It was a positive atmosphere in Berea today before the high energy practice was underway. Refreshingly, there was no drama while Future played in Berea.
Ah, the quarterbacks. No. 1 pick, Baker Mayfield, was incredibly impressive in the second-unit. On numerous occasions, Mayfield had linked up with TE Darren Fells and WR Rashard Higgins in drills.
However, the NFL game is still coming to Mayfield slowly. There were a few moments where Carl Nassib caused havoc and the rookie QB would’ve taken the sack for holding onto the football for a bit too long. It’s important to take things slow with Mayfield and rely on veteran Tyrod Taylor for now.
Taylor was steady under center today. He flawlessly found David Njoku in the end zone during drills. Njoku, who had struggled in camp until this point to hold onto passes, had an amazing afternoon.
The running back group will be interesting to watch. Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson Jr. and Nick Chubb are all guys that can easily be starters and handle a lot of carries. They all were very impressive.
The most shocking thing out of camp today was when former offensive guard Joel Bitonio slid into the left tackle position to fill the shoes of Joe Thomas. He’s only played one year at LT during his time in Nevada, that’s concerning, but he held his own one-on-one against Myles Garrett today. Rookie Austin Corbett is likely to fill in at guard.
“Right now, I think [Joel] gives us the best chance at left tackle” coach Hue Jackson said today. It’s likely that Jackson will let Bitonio start at left tackle.
To put shortly, the defense was incredible and it will be shocking if they are not much improved this year.
The tandem of Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah were as impressive as the starting cornerbacks, Denzel Ward and Terrance Mitchell. It seemed as if Taylor was not looking to throw Ward’s way, but he did have an opportunity to break up a pass from Taylor during two-minute drills in the end zone.
Returning for another year, Briean Boddy-Calhoun was running mainly with the second unit today, although he did get some reps with the ones.
Christian Kirksey was a vocal leader, yelling “dog chant” followed by barks from the rest of the defensive unit.
After practice, Taylor and Njoku stayed on the field to work on things with new offensive coordinator, Todd Haley on a couple of routes in the red zone.
With HBO’s “Hard Knocks” on hand in Berea, it seemed as if the Browns practice was anything but that today. It was positive, fast-paced and upbeat throughout the entire two hours.