BEREA, Ohio -- When the time came to make a play late in Tuesday's training camp practice, the Cleveland Browns' defense outshined the offense, and earned some bragging rights in the process.
At the end of practice, the offense went against the defense in a best-of-five competition to see if they could move the ball 20 yards, but the revamped defense under the direction of coordinator Jim O'Neil ended the battle early by taking three of the first four drills.
By doing so, the defense has earned the right to wear special orange jerseys during Thursday's practice.
"We challenged the guys last night in the meeting and again in the meetings this morning," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "At times, the practice before a day off has a tendency to not be very good, so we challenged them to come out and compete.
"We're going to build some competitive things in the practices, and we did at the end, and I thought our guys responded. I kept an eye on that through individual, and guys seemed to be focused, and I thought the team work was sharp as well."
Although Pettine, who got the jersey reward idea from his days as a defensive assistant coach with the New York Jets, wants to see the orange jerseys go back and forth between the offense and defense, he was happy to see the way the defenders finished the drill.
"Certainly, at the end, the upper hand was to the defense, but I reminded them during the meetings we're going to do competitions at the end, and this could've been the day the offense dominated all day and then, the defense won at the end when it counted," Pettine said.
"We want to try and train our guys, 'Hey, it doesn't matter what goes on during the course of a game. We've got to make sure we can finish. Whether it's in practice, finishing a drill at the end when we start doing our two-minute stuff, red-zone stuff, I think it's important to realize. If I'm with a group who's played well throughout the game, it still comes down to playing well at the end in virtually every NFL game."
Losing the right to wear the orange jerseys may bother the offense, but what hurt the most was hearing the defenders talk trash and celebrate at the end of practice.
"I'm really mad that we lost that period," wide receiver Anthony Armstrong said. "When you get to compete for something like, one, it kind of reenergizes you and we all thrive on competition. We're going to get it back.
"The way you shut the defense up is by making plays, moving the ball and scoring touchdowns. Defense is a very emotional side of the ball. You've got DBs that if the receiver drops the ball, they're hooting and hollering like they did something, so that's just the way defense runs.
"It upsets us. It pisses us off a little bit, but hey, that's a part of the game. We're just going to bounce back and make some plays and they'll be over there quiet. We'll be hooting and hollering and dancing, and we'll get our orange jerseys back."
However, the defenders believe the task of taking the orange jerseys from them will be easier said than done.
"Yeah, it means something," safety Donte Whitner said. "It kind of gives you the feel of a real football game. Towards the end of the football game, when the game is tight, muscles get tight. Your muscles start to tense up a little bit. You understand that something is on the line. One play can cost you the football game.
"It kind of gives you that feeling a little bit. Coming out as a defense and responding the way that we did is a good first step, but that's all it is -- a first step. If we can come out tomorrow and do the same thing, not tomorrow because it's an off-day, but the following day – then, we'll start to do something. One day is okay, but we've got to put a string of them together."