BEREA, Ohio -- As training camp winds down, the physicality is ramping up for the Cleveland Browns.
In the midst of an 11-day break in-between preseason games, the Browns broke out the pads and had three live hitting periods in Sunday’s practice, and with seven days yet to go before facing the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium, the hitting will continue throughout the week.
“Just getting our team better,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “Whatever it takes to get our football team better. I think we need to compete. We have some things we have to keep cleaning up and get better at.”
In addition to the hitting, the Browns have ramped up the pressure on the players, and penalties in practice have been resulting in laps around the field.
The Browns committed 12 penalties for 72 yards in their 20-14 win over the New Orleans Saints in the preseason opener last Thursday night, and that number could have been higher had infractions not been declined with the first-team offense on the field.
“It is either that or up-downs, choose your poison,” Jackson said. “We just can’t do it.
“We are not going to hurt our football team that way with penalties and things that I know will get us beat. We are going to continue to work through that. The players, I think they all agree. They get it. Just the concentration penalties, we are not going to stand for.”
In addition to the hitting, expect the quarterback competition to continue to heat up as the second preseason game approaches.
Rookie DeShone Kizer played the entire second half and completed 11 of his 18 passes for 184 yards and a 45-yard touchdown in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter on the way to leading the Browns to the comeback victory over the Saints.
Veteran Brock Osweiler completed six of his 14 attempts for 42 yards, and rushed for 10 yards on a scramble out of the pocket to the left side of the formation. After three straight three-and-outs to start the game, Osweiler led a 13-play, 61-yard drive, but a deflected pass at the goal line on fourth down kept the first-team starters off the scoreboard.
And a decision on who will start against the Giants is likely to come on Wednesday or Thursday.
“Honestly, right now, we are in this training/camp mode,” Jackson said. “We are not thinking about New York. We are trying to get better. There are some things from this last game we needed to clean up. We are working through those, and we will continue to do that.
“The quarterback thing, as I go through practice and keep watching tape, will sort itself out. It is not the thing that is heavy on my mind that way. Obviously, we need to make a decision when the time comes and we will, but right now, I still think it is too early.”
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