The Cleveland Browns are nearly two weeks into training camp and just a few days from their first preseason game of the year. The season is quickly approaching. As crazy as it is to think, football season is back.
With training camp rolling right along, Cleveland has a few things that just happen to stand out. It must be mentioned that the best news of camp so far was the team adding three more years on running back Nick Chubb’s contact. It was a major point of emphasis heading into the season.
Browns getting healthy
The most important thing for any NFL team is the health of its personnel. A season can be a gauntlet and will be even more so now with 17 games. Last year the Browns missed cornerback Greedy Williams and rookie safety Grant Delpit for the entire year. Williams has practiced quite a bit, besides working through some heat-related issues. Williams will be competing for the second corner position across from Denzel Ward. It won’t be an easy task, though, with rookie Greg Newsome II battling for the same spot, and he’sbeen solid thus far. Delpit is coming back from a tough Achilles injury, but hasn’t been able to practice much due to another minor injury. The hope is for him to be ready for the start of the season.
Jadeveon Clowney has an injury-plagued past and which was known when he signed with Cleveland. Clowney has noted that he feels like he is as healthy as he has ever been, great news to Browns’ ears everywhere.
The most important player in all of this talk would have to be Odell Beckham Jr. He’s is coming off the ACL injury, though his route-running looks as good as ever. No. 13 hasn’t yet practiced in team drills, but he’s been a participant in plenty of practice sessions. This week expect Beckham Jr. to begin some work in team drills as they continue to ramp up his usage.
DPJ breakout season?
Cleveland is very talented at wide receiver and do not necessarily need someone to breakout. Though, it still may happen if Donovan Peoples-Jones can translate practice to gameplay. It seems every day during team drills that Peoples-Jones is burning a cornerback, or making a leaping catch. If there is one player that could be in for a breakout year, the second-year wideout would have to be a candidate.
Prior to training camp most had Peoples-Jones penciled in at the fourth wide receiver position behind Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and Rashard Higgins. Now, the wonder is if Peoples-Jones can overtake Higgins for the third wideout spot. Higgins has the chemistry with quarterback Baker Mayfield working in his favor. Mayfield found Peoples-Jones for some big, timely plays often last year with the Michigan product playing in a very limited role.
Even if Peoples-Jones doesn’t move ahead of Higgins on the depth chart they both could see similar snap counts. It all starts with Peoples-Jones putting the work from training camp and translating it to Sundays.
Clowney and Garrett dominating
Myles Garrett has never had an opposite pass rusher like Jadeveon Clowney and likewise. Clowney doesn’t bring the eye popping numbers, he has struggled to finish at times, the talent has never been a question, though. The two have had their way in training camp so far and have looked scary together at times.
When you factor in Clowney has been noted to be having his best camp as a pro it gets even better. Clowney has gotten the best of Jack Conklin, who is an All-Pro in his own right. Second-year tackle Jedrick Wills will only improve with the beating he has received from Garrett.
When you look back it has been a long time since Cleveland has this kind of pass rush potential. Olivier Vernon was solid for the Browns at times, but his best play came when Garrett was out with COVID-19. If Clowney can be just half of what Garrett is, the entire defense will enjoy the benefits. An improved secondary is only going to help the cause for these two.
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