CLEVELAND, Ohio – Le NFL released new guidelines for teams Friday on mask wearing, allowing coaches and fully vaccinated players to walk around the facility, indoors or outdoors, without a mask. The memo hit as the Browns were on the training ground and it didn’t take long for the word to spread – a few people lost their masks mid-session.
“I was told while we were on the pitch,” Kevin Stefanski said after practice of when he heard the news, “so just trying to make sure we’re in compliance.
It was weird to see coaches on the pitch without masks – Stefanski joked that there were people he didn’t know what they looked like – and even with a small step towards normalcy, Friday still offered stranger pandemic football activities.
The mini-camp rookie list this weekend is 18. What normally feels like a training camp weekend – with test players, players still technically in their first year, and free agents. undrafted filling out a good-sized roster alongside the team’s draft picks – felt more like a small reunion.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah worked mostly alone with linebacker coach Jason Tarver. Anthony Schwartz and wide receivers try Johnnie Dixon had no shortage of reps with wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea.
“It was a really good student-teacher ratio there at a few positions,” Stefanski said.
So, amid the signs of progress, with real players on the pitch in the spring and coaches showing their faces, there were reminders that there was still some way to go to get to normal football.
Find a role
Strategy director Paul DePodesta said the night the Browns drafted Owusu-Koramoah that Tarver, Stefanski and defensive coordinator Joe Woods were already on the whiteboard figuring out how to deploy their new weapon within minutes of the selection.
It hasn’t been long, but has Owusu-Koramoah been made aware of what they are plotting?
“It will be similar, but not too similar, to the position I played at Notre Dame,” said Owusu-Koramoah. “He’ll be a WILL linebacker. That’s kind of where I’m working right now, in third place and things like that. It will add more, but at the moment that’s what I’m studying.
Being busy blocking or being busy not playing
We know Schwartz’s speed. That’s one reason the Browns took him to the third round. We also know that the receptors should block. Schwartz knows that, although it’s not something they’ve delved into yet.
“It’s one of our three keys playing the receiver for us,” he said.
Schwartz, of course, worked with Jarvis Landry, so he could do worse than follow in the footsteps of a veteran who loves blocking.
“I know this is something I need to improve on,” Schwartz said. “It’s something I want to improve. It will help me to be more on the ground. It will help me stay more on the pitch. I can’t wait to start this part and look forward to seeing an improvement in my college career so far in terms of blocking.
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