BEREA, Ohio — Well, they always say "The sun will come out tomorrow," and it did today after rain kept the Browns indoors at the start of training camp.
Day two? Brilliant sunshine, and the Browns were out on the practice field outdoors, and looking pretty good.
Again, it was a ramp-up day, although they did have helmets on and went through a little bit more than a walk through. They'll accelerate that on Friday and Saturday, and by early next week — possibly by Tuesday — the pads will go on and they'll have their first day of contact.
The headline of this day two is a bit concerning. Anthony Schwartz is coming into his second year out of Auburn, a third-round draft choice but a guy who had injury problems at this time a year ago and then really struggled his rookie season. He had a good offseason these past couple of months leading up to camp, but left the practice field today after tweaking what we believe was his left knee.
Schwartz pulled up on a pass route, went to the sideline, met with the trainer, and they walked off the field and into the locker room. That is a problem, both for Schwartz and for the Browns.
For Schwartz, this is a recurring issue as he continues to get injured. Remember, you've got to be on the field to really factor into team play, and the Browns had big plans for him. Receivers coach Chad O'Shea worked with him emotionally and physically to get him ready for this second season, which they hope will be a bounce-back campaign for him. He's the "stretch the field" wide receiver with world-class speed coming out of college, and the Browns wanted to have that speed extend their offense vertically with his ability to get behind defensive backs.
We didn't see much of it last year, but the forecast was "He'll be much better this year." Schwartz did a lot of work on his speed, his conditioning, and his hands, but that's now in question. We'll get more on an injury update on him tomorrow.
If the prognosis isn't good, it would have to push into high-gear the plans for the Browns to start looking at another wide receiver out there, a wide receiver who can get them down the field. If they find that what they have in camp right now isn't acceptable to do that, then they're going to have to get out on the marketplace.
There are receivers out there who are yet unsigned. T.Y. Hilton and Will Fuller (a guy who played with Deshaun Watson) are some of the options who could possibly do it, and the Browns could find themselves on the market for that. We don't want to get too far in front of things, so we'll wait for the word on Schwartz.
As for the day's workout? Boy, when you watch Deshaun Watson operate this offense, I mean, you go, "Wow!" The chemistry is already being built up between Watson and Amari Cooper, but front-and-center today was the chemistry Watson's working on (and succeeding at that work) with Donovan Peoples-Jones. It has been amazing.
Donovan Peoples-Jones — who I thought had a so-so year last year and a good second half to his rookie year the season before that — is a big, tall target, and Deshaun Watson went to him a number of times on this afternoon practice. They were a combination to watch, and it's really good stuff to see Peoples-Jones being counted on in the Browns' offense.
In the offensive sets, a lot of times we're noticing that it's Amari Cooper on the same side with Peoples-Jones, and they feel they're a bit loaded on that side. On the other side, because of what happened to Schwartz, that could be a problem that will need to be addressed.
Now to the other angle of the Deshaun Watson situation: no news. I don't know if no news is good news, but I can tell you "no news." Still no ruling in the case, and it goes on and on and on.
The strange thing is all members of the national media are coming to town hoping to be in Berea when that announcement is made, and they'd like to be in here one day, get it announced, and then leave and go onto another story and another training camp. But it might be a pilgrimage — that they have to come here and stay here — at the rate, at the slowness, at the tardiness of this decision coming from Sue L. Robinson.
There's no indication when we're going to get it. Could it be on Friday? We'll have to see.
There was a good injury sighting today when it comes to progress being made, and that is with starting right tackle Jack Conklin. Remember, he suffered that patella tendon tear near the end of the season last year, by far the worst in a series of ailments he dealt with.
It takes a long time to bounce back from that, and we saw him out on the field working with the trainer. I have to be honest with you: He looked good, so Kevin Stefanski wasn't blowing smoke at us yesterday when he said it's really marvelous and unbelievable the progress Conklin has made.
He doesn't really necessarily have to do much in training camp, but the bulls-eye would be if he's ready to go on Sept. 11. They feel he will be at the rate he's going right now, and to the eyes today, I would have to agree with that.
Back on the field tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock, then another practice Saturday that will be open to the public, then an off day Sunday before it really gets cranked up next week.