Cornerback A.J. Green, whom defensive coordinator Joe Woods said is 'part of the equation' on the defense, made the first interception of training camp on a ball thrown by Jacoby Brissett. (Cleveland Browns)
Deshaun Watson still getting majority of snaps as decision on possible suspension comes to a head
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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland.
Takeaways from Day 3 of Browns training camp …
The Browns may know early next week if Deshaun Watson is going to be slapped with an NFL suspension for violating the league personal conduct policy.
In the meantime, coach Kevin Stefanski conducted his first periods of competitive practice at training camp with Watson taking the majority of snaps.
Backup Jacoby Brissett was not far behind, however.
Wearing helmets and shells -- not full pads – and running at less than full speed, the Browns had two periods of 7-on-7 drills, one in the red zone, and two team periods at a markedly reduced speed.
Watson took 25 snaps, Brissett 19 and QB3 Josh Dobbs 5. No. 4 QB Josh Rosen did not take a snap.
The breakdown looked like this:
* In the first 7-on-7, Watson took five snaps with the first team and Brissett took five with the second team. In a second round, Watson took three snaps and Dobbs took three.
* In the second 7-on-7, Watson took four and Brissett took four. On Brissett’s second snap, cornerback A.J. Green jumped in front of fullback Johnny Stanton and scored the first interception of camp.
(Prior to practice, defensive coordinator Joe Woods said Green, an undrafted free agent signing in 2020, "has proven himself ... for him this year, he is part of the equation.")
* In the red zone period, Watson took three snaps and tossed TDs to tight ends David Njoku and Harrison Bryant. Brissett took two and threw a TD to tight end Miller Forristall. Dobbs had two incompletions in his two snaps.
* In the two team periods – which essentially were walk-throughs – Watson had 11 snaps to Brissett’s eight.
Even though snaps were not shared equally, Brissett appeared to get a lot more playing time than in the OTA practices open to the media and minicamp.
So it does look like Stefanski has upped the urgency to get Brissett ready to start the season if Watson were to be suspended.
The case of Watson will be decided by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, possibly as early as Monday, per reports. If a decision is imminent, the NFL surely would like to avoid clashing with Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities next week in Canton, which kick off as early as Wednesday.
“I think the details [of a suspension] would be important,” Stefanski said. “Whatever the decision is, details of potential length of absence would matter the most to us in terms of how we are putting our plan together.”
Sigh of relief
The evaluation of the non-contact injury to receiver Anthony Schwartz’s left knee was encouraging. Stefanski termed the injury a knee strain and said Schwartz would be “day to day.”
“I think he will be OK, certainly long term,” Stefanski said.
Schwartz appeared at the morning team walk-through wearing a rubber sleeve over his left knee. He stayed inside during the afternoon practice.
Overall, it was a relief the injury was not worse. Schwartz buried his head in a towel while a trainer stretched the knee after the injury at Thursday’s practice.
“It happened right in front of me so you are always nervous when it is non-contact,” Stefanski said. “He will be ready for the season, yes.”
Run with the big dawgs
Most rookies have a tough time adjusting to the higher speed of the NFL game their first season on the field. That wasn’t the case for linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
“For me, it was more so just being patient, knowing there’s a time for everything,” he said. “I always speak on tempo, being able to know when to use my speed, when to use my quickness, things like that. The more I do it, the more I get better at it.
“I wouldn’t say I over-ran [some plays], but there’s some plays I could’ve taken a better angle. I will say that.”
JOK said the biggest adjustment for him was “the capacity to take in all the defense.”
“It’s more of a thinking game, more of a chess game with the offenses,” he said. “Lot of things thrown at you, a lot of eye candy. So there’s more responsibility to settle down.
“Even though it’s eye candy, I’m going to still move fast. And if I make a mistake, I’m going to make it fast. A couple of those highlight plays you see, was probably a mistake on me. So if you make a mistake, make it fast.”
Woods is fine with that attitude.
“We talk about our linebackers, we want them to look like the animals that they hunt,” Woods said. “We want our linebackers to resemble running backs because those are the guys they have to defend.”
At 6-2 and 221 pounds, Owusu-Koramoah essentially carries the same weight as running backs Nick Chubb (227) and Kareem Hunt (216).
The Browns brought back safety Javonte Moffatt, who was claimed off waivers from the Jets. Moffatt has played in 14 games for the Browns in the last two years. He’s a nice add to the safety depth after the team lost M.J. Stewart to the Texans in free agency …
While Greg Newsome is projected as the No. 1 nickel back to cover the slot receiver in three-receiver formations, Woods said an audition of seven others will take place in training camp to back up Newsome. None has much experience moving inside. “They were not asked to play nickel in college. We train them all and see who can do it,” Woods said …
Stefanski said it was “premature” to speculate on the Browns adding a veteran receiver because of the injuries to Schwartz and rookie David Bell (foot). It didn’t sound like the team is keen on adding a veteran at defensive tackle, either.
Woods said, “No, I think we are in a position where we are trying to develop young players, along with some free agents. At certain times within a team, you are going to have those moments where you are developing young guys at a position. For us this year, we have some youth at the defensive tackle position, but they are talented. Along the way, they are probably going to make some mistakes as they are growing into the position and learning it, but I think that is just a process we are going to have to go through this year.” …
Owusu-Koramoah wore No. 6 at Notre Dame, but he said he would stay with No. 28 and not switch to No. 6 out of respect to Baker Mayfield, who wore the number for four seasons before being traded to Carolina …
Stefanski sounded excited about opening the first practice to fans on Saturday. “The players love playing in front of the fans. We are excited. It will be my first training camp where it is a true open camp and you have both sides of the field with fans. I think it was a little bit more muted with just one side and that type of thing. I am looking forward to that. I am looking forward to that energy that it brings because it does ramp up the energy that the players then have.” An extra grandstand was added on the side of the fields that used to be bordered by houses on Pearl Street. The houses were purchased by the Browns and razed, which has opened more areas for fans to view practice no matter which fields are used.