The Browns first day of training camp seemed familiar with the team’s full 80 man roster and their coaches on the field in Berea.
The Browns careful to follow guidelines restrictions and requirements established by the team, the NFL and the NFL Players association.
What is new is that this is the first full team practice for new head coach Kevin Stefanski and his new assistants.
It is 17 days later than usual, with the team previously split up in Phase one of their training camp during which they have been on the practice field in smaller squads, going through walk-throughs with their coaches, working on conditioning and in the weight room.
Also different is that this will be the first ‘open’ training for the team in years at which there are no fans. The team is making all of the practices open ‘virtually’ online.
What is very evident is that the team is taking the protection of its players and coaches seriously.
Credentialed media is not permitted inside the media room or locker room where players and coaches typically are available for questions.
Reporters not directly afilliated with the team are allowed on the field to observe but must agree to follow numerous guidelines, pass a COVID-19 screening, wear masks that cover their nose and mouth, and stay a distance from the team in an approved area
All of the Q&A with players and coaches is also now done virtually.
And their new head coach is already very familiar with his players, although he states the “teaching is ahead of the doing”
The first practices can run no more than 90 minutes and can increase by 15 minutes each day. They will eventually ramp up to two hours.
Friday’s practice is also something the players have been anxious to begin.
“Its definitely different,” said starting quarterback Baker Mayfield, who starts training camp with his fourth head coach during his short time with the team.
After an off season when much of the communication between players and coaches has been done virtually, Mayfield expects to start camp in tremendous shape mentally as well as physically
“With the long offseason and a lot of online meetings I have been able to get my body ready,” said Mayfield explaining he was beat up last year and heavier than he has ever been during his playing career.
Mayfield says he comes into training camp in much better shape and prepared to take advantage of an opportunity he and his teammates have been given with a talented roster and new staff.
“The past couple years has been a roller coaster and not the kind of success I have been used to,” said Mayfield explaining that he is embracing a new system.
Browns Rookie Safety Grant Delpin is among the newest players who have only ever experienced a COVID-19 related pre-season, where everything has been virtual or in isolation
“I dont know how its suposed to go,” said Delpin, adding “Im ready to go.”
The missing fans are something the players know will be different.
“That’s the new norm. For us we are kind of not paying attention to it,” said Browns Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry.
He is recovering from surgery and will be more carefully ramping things up during team practices.
“I think for us the team has done an amazing job but for us every guy has done an amazing job,” he added.
“It’s something we have been waiting a long time for,” Landry said as the team prepared for its first full practice.
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