CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns moved practice inside on Friday because of heavy storms in the area, and Kevin Stefanski was pleased by the work done inside the fieldhouse, focusing primarily on red zone, goal-line and backed-up situations.
“I thought we got more done than I anticipated,’’ the head coach. “That place got bigger all of a sudden. I don’t know how that worked. The tempo was high. They were moving around. It helped that we had some goal line, some red zone and some backed up so we really were using that end of the end zone because there is a weight room on the other side. I really was pleased with what we were able to get done.”
The session was closed to the media, but Stefanski and others addressed the media on video conference calls afterwards.
Here are some quick hits:
* He said Greedy Williams (shoulder) was still absent and is “truly day-to-day.” The fact that Williams has been out since Monday, and unseen on the practice field, means the Browns have to prepare for the possibility that he might not be ready for the opener. He missed the first four games of last season with a pulled hamstring. Stefanski said he’s still got a lot of talent in the DB room, which has been rocked by injuries. Terrance Mitchell will be a candidate to start if Williams isn’t ready.
“I like our DB room in total,” Stefanski said. “We have some really good veteran corners and some young guys that are doing a nice job. The guys are taking to the scheme. These guys are really grinding them on technique and fundamentals. It’s a pretty good room.”
* DB coach Jeff Howard said Mitchell had a really good offseason and “he’s honed in on the technique we’re teaching. He’s smart and he’s made the most of his reps.”
* Stefanski said receiver KhaDarel Hodge, who missed the past week for personal reasons, returned to practice today.
“It was great to see him,” he said. “I really enjoy having him around. He does his job. He doesn’t say much. He’ll do all the dirty work. He can line up outside and make plays. Really pleased with KhaDarel.”
* He said the Browns will decide during game week if center JC Tretter (knee scope Aug. 13) will be ready to start against the Ravens Sept. 13. A source told cleveland.com that’s the plan, but he’s cutting it close. It’s usually about a 4-6 week injury. Rookie Nick Harris, their fifth-round pick, “is doing a really nice job.”
* The following players did not practice due to injury: LB Adrian Clayborn (groin), CB Kevin Johnson (liver), S Karl Joseph (foot), WR Jarvis Landry (hip), CB M.J. Stewart Jr. (hamstring), C JC Tretter (knee), CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) and LB Mack Wilson (knee).
* Stefanski said the social justice meeting after practice on Thursday included a lot of good dialogue.
“It was great to see guys sharing,” he said. “It was great to see your guys giving their perspective. This is an ongoing dialogue. This is not a one-and-done type of thing.”
* Rookie WR Donovan Peoples-Jones left practice early Thursday but was back on the field Friday. Peoples-Jones caught a 65-yard Case Keenum pass on Thursday.
“A versatile football player,’’ Stefanski said. “Really, you can line him up anywhere, which is impressive for a young player, and he creates value in the return game.”
* Stefanski praised Clayborn, who signed as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. He’s been in and out with the groin injury, but has been impressive when he practices.
“On the field, you have a vet that understands pass rush, good size and understands the scheme,” Stefanski. “Off the field, I couldn’t be more impressed with him. Another guy that doesn’t say much, but he does the right thing all the time, and when he does speak, guys seem to listen.”
* Howard acknowledged that it was really disappointing to see rookie safety Grant Delpit go down with the ruptured Achilles. He admitted that the secondary has had its share of adversity, with Kevin Johnson (lacerated liver), Delpit, Williams and MJ Stewart (hamstring) all suffering injuries. On Monday alone, Delpit ruptured the Achilles and Williams walked off with the shoulder injury.
“You could tell it was a little “oh geez” but I talked to them about taking on the challenge,’’ he said. “It was great to see how they responded the next day.’’
* Howard praised cornerback Denzel Ward, calling him “a very productive player with God-given skillset.’’ He said they dug into his 2019 tape and devised a plan for him to improve.
* Safety Sheldrick Redwine said he almost shed a tear when Delpit went down. He said he’ll make sure Delpit still feels a part of the team by reaching out and helping to keep his spirits up.
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