CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns wrapped up training camp for the 2017 season with one final practice on Thursday afternoon, and over the three weeks of work, there was plenty of movement on the depth chart as far as players rising and falling based on their performances after installation sessions and team meetings.
Here are five takeaways from the Browns’ second training camp under the direction of coach Hue Jackson:
GARRETT IS LEGIT
In 34 career games at Texas A&M, Garrett registered 141 total tackles, including 81 solo stops and 60 assists, with 31.0 quarterback sacks, seven forced fumbles, one recovery, five passes defended and one interception.
After having 11 and 11.5 sacks in each of his first two years at Texas A&M, Garrett registered 8.5 sacks during the 2016 season.
Despite that history of success, Garrett has been everything the Browns could want in a player expected to be a cornerstone of the franchise for the foreseeable future, and he quickly earned the respect of his teammates.
“I think he’s got a tremendous attitude,” 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said. “You don’t want to build somebody up too much and make the expectations too high, but he’s a great kid, a great man.
“He’s been fun to work with, and he’s got all the talent. He checks all the boxes. There’s obviously a lot of variables and a lot of things that can happen in football that are sometimes out of people’s control, but there’s no reservations from me at this point.”
KIZER SHOWS PLENTY OF SKILLS, PROGRESS
Despite having to learn a new system and adjust to the speed of the game, quarterback DeShone Kizer continues to progress in his first season with the Browns.
Three weeks ago, Kizer started his first training camp with the Browns third on the depth chart, but he did not stay there long, as Jackson elevated him past Cody Kessler and onto the second team for Monday night’s preseason game against the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium.
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 a 20-14 victory in the preseason opener over the New Orleans Saints last Thursday.
KESSLER IS OUT OF SYNC
Kessler started training camp as the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, and even before the preseason opener, he was demoted to second team. Now, Kessler finds himself in the No. 3 spot after struggling through camp and the preseason opener.
Kessler completed just five of his 10 throws for 47 yards against the Saints, and has consistently looked uncomfortable in the pocket in practice, having to scramble to extend plays and an inability to get the ball down the field.
Additionally, Kessler appears not to trust his own skills, as on fourth-and-long situations in practice, he routinely checked down to running backs and tight ends in the flat for minimal gains and slim chances for a conversion.
PLAYERS MEET EXPECTATIONS
Jackson did not shy away from pushing his players through training camp ahead of the 2017 season, and he utilized full-contact portions of practice to ready the team for the games to be played.
Jackson continued to test his players, both mentally and physically, with multiple full-contact drills because he felt this year’s squad was a “better football team” with different goals.
“I expect more from this team,” Jackson said. “I want more from this team. That is the expectation. I really believe we are going to be a better football team. We will put a better product out on the field than what we did a year ago because I think these guys understand where we are.”
CROWELL EXPECTED TO BE THE ‘BELL-COW’ BACK
On a Browns team that went through six quarterbacks and struggled to move the ball down the field at many points during the 1-15 2016 season, running back Isaiah Crowell still found a way to rush for nearly 1,000 yards.
And with a retooled offensive line including the additions of interior blockers Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter, the emergence of young wide receivers in training camp and improved play out of the quarterback position, the Browns are expecting big things from Crowell in 2017.
“Nothing short of a spectacular year,” running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson said.
“He has worked extremely hard here during training camp. He has all of the physical tools. We think that his work ethic and his attitude about how he approaches his job every day should lead to a really special season for him.”
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