AKRON, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo learned a lot of lessons during his rookie season in the NFL last fall, and he is hard at work applying that new-found knowledge to his second professional training camp.
After one week of practice, the results have been positive for Mingo, who collected an interception of quarterback Brian Hoyer after rookie defensive lineman Jacobbi McDaniel tipped the pass at the line of scrimmage, and then, he returned it nearly 60 yards during Saturday's Family Day Scrimmage at The University of Akron's InfoCision Stadium.
"One of our rookie D-linemen got his hand on the ball, and I was fortunate enough to come down with it," Mingo said with his trademark laugh and smile. "The first instinct is to take it to the house. I had some guys coming on angles, got a spin in there, worked on my running back moves, and eventually got tackled.
"Honestly, the goal is just to get better at anything. You guys heard about the offseason camp. My hands were bricks, so (I'm working) to just improve on that, improve on running drills, improve on anything that can help me be a better player so I can help this team win."
Mingo's interception, and subsequent return, made quite the impression on coach Mike Pettine and Hoyer.
"He was hell bent on scoring," Pettine said. "I was waiting for the officials to blow that one dead, but that was a heck of a play by him."
Hoyer added, "I would've tackled him, first of all, if it wasn't a scrimmage, but he definitely seems to be around the ball a lot. He's so fast, and he's so long. His arms are down to wherever they go, and his hands are up there. I know he didn't bat the ball, but he catches it and takes off. He's running a 4.5 down the field. It's nice to have a guy like that who can also come off the edge.
"There were a few times where I rolled out, and he was right there, so it's good to see him make a jump from his rookie year to the next year, and I think he kind of knows what it takes now. He's one year in, and obviously, all the physical talent in the world is there. It's frustrating sometimes, but it's good to know those guys are on our team."
While Mingo was happy with the interception, he was more excited about the opportunity to ply his craft in front of the fans.
Mingo said "it was good to change it up" and take the Family Day Scrimmage to Akron because it allowed the team to get a feel for playing in an actually stadium in a live-tackling situation ahead of next Saturday's preseason opener against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
"We got to come out here and simulate what it's going to be like in an actually stadium," Mingo said. "We enjoyed it. We got to feed off the energy of the fans. I keep hitting on that because that's important to us. We, as a defense, as an offense, as a team, we love our fans. We love how they support us and come out. I'm not sure of the numbers today, but it was a great showing."
And Mingo is hoping that "great showing" spreads from the fan base to the team as it continues preparing for the 2014 season.
"We made upgrades at positions," Mingo said. "We've got a scheme that's going to allow us to play to our strengths. I'm just looking forward to what this defense can do.
"Coming in here, I know what to expect. I know what my job describes. I know how to play my techniques. I'm comfortable with the offense, what they're going to throw at us. I'm comfortable with the defense, knowing what I'm required to do. It's year two. I've just got to get after them."