Cleveland Browns Training Camp: Top Quick-Hit Observations

BEREA, OH — In what can easily be considered the most anticipated training camp in the storied franchise’s history, the 2019 Cleveland Browns enter the 2019–20 season with high expectations from local fans and a lot of naysayers and critics from the national media.

With all training camp practices sold out in mere minutes, sellout crowds of an estimated 5,000-plus jammed into Lou Groza Drive here in the team’s headquarters in the southwestern Cleveland suburb of Berea hoping to get a glimpse of a team many expect to not only contend for its first division title in 30 years, but also live up to the off-season hype of being legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

After going 7–8–1 under record-setting rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Browns traded for New York Giants star WR Odell Beckham Jr. and DE Olivier Vernon, signed DT Sheldon Richardson, troubled RB Kareem Hunt and drafted former LSU cornerback Greedy Williams.

Cleveland enters 2019 with an unprecedented amount of buzz and hype under a first time head coach in Freddie Kitchens and a lot of questions about whether or not the Browns can live up to the lofty off-season expectations set upon a young and talented team that will not be able to sneak up on anyone this season.

Below are my thoughts and observations from Cleveland Browns training camp.

Photo: Robert D. Cobb/@inscmediaphotography

Baker Mayfield looks primed for a big MVP-like type of year. His throws have more “snap” to them this season. After breaking Peyton Manning’s rookie single-season records for touchdown passes by a QB, Mayfield displayed more velocity and zing, as the ball seemingly flew out of his hand in already looking like he is in mid-season form. Keep an eye on him as a possible NFL MVP candidate.

OBJ is the real deal. He adds an energy that seems to galvanize everyone from players, coaches and fans, as evidenced by the crowd chanting “OBJ, OBJ, OBJ!” whenever he came onto the field. All of the offseason buzz about him and Mayfield developing great chemistry was evident as he was targeting on a few big plays, including a highlight reel-worthy ankle-breaking catch that made all in attendance go “Ooohhh..” He will feed off of it and become Mayfield’s go-to guy.

Photo: Robert D. Cobb/@inscmediaphotography

“Hollywood” Higgins and Mayfield chemistry still in sync. If you saw the Browns last year, you knew that whenever Mayfield needed a clutch catch or big play, that he looked for the former Colorado State standout in the man known as “Hollywood” As witnessed out in Berea, look for that to continue as Higgins made some good catches and displayed quality speed.

He always seems to know where to be with Mayfield and despite the addition of OBJ, Higgins appears to be crystallizing into the teams №3 wideout.

Also of note, Higgins, OBJ and Jarvis Landry appeared to huddle together as a trio, showing and forming a bond amongst them.

Duke Johnson distraction overblown? From all the national media reports, Johnson was seemingly persona non grata in Berea. Especially after his comments about wanting to be traded and Mayfield calling him out.

None of that seemed to be an issue as Johnson and Mayfield worked together on a few plays and seeming appeared to be on the same page…for now.

Photo: Robert D. Cobb/@inscmediaphotography

Browns defense is going to be a nightmare for opposing offenses. While it is only training camp with limited to no contact, new defensive coordinator Steve Wilkes appears to have this defense already looking potentially dominant.

While not as loud and vocal as the departed Gregg Williams, Wilkes appears to be a more quieter — yet stronger — leader for the defense to follow as they were aggressive in generating pressure and making plays against the ones.

The Browns defensive line of Garrett, Ogunjobi, Richardson and Vernon looks downright scary and could be one of the most dominating ones in 2019, as they appear to be playing with a hungry and very motivated edge.

Greedy getting Greedy? Former LSU cornerback and Browns DB Greedy Williams displayed a ball-hawking nose for the ball and looks like a perfect compliment to Denzel Ward as he made an acrobatic pick of Mayfield in the end zone. If this is a sign of things to come in the upcoming season, then the Browns may have the league’s next great DB tandem and their new version of Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield.

From top to bottom, this Browns team looks very focused, hungry and motivated, and is going to be a real problem in 2019.

Dawgfather Out!

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