CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns are taking the show on the road, literally.
After 13 training camp practices in Berea and the Orange and Brown Scrimmage at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland earlier this month, the Browns have travelled to Westfield, Indiana to take part in two practices with the Indianapolis Colts ahead of Saturday’s preseason game between the teams at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I think it is always good to see what else is out there,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said earlier this week. “This has been a pretty tough camp for these guys. I think it has been kind of a culture shock, but I think they have embraced it.
“We have a lot of guys that are willing to pay the price. We understand that now. A lot of guys have bought in to what we are trying to do. Now, it is just a matter of going in and seeing what you got against someone else. Wednesday and Thursday are not going to make or break our season, but it is going to give us a little barometer of where we are at from a physical standpoint.”
Like Kitchens, the Browns’ players have embraced the opportunity to break up the monotony of training camp practices against teammates by taking the trip to Indiana to face the Colts in back-to-back sessions before the preseason game.
And the players are expecting “great work throughout the week going against those guys,” according to wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
“No question. No question,” Landry said of the joint practices testing the players. “Obviously, we are going over there to compete, to take care of each other, to take care of both sides, their guys and our guys, but we are coming to compete.
“Obviously, it is always good to go against an opponent, somebody different than the guys you’ve seen. The (Browns) DBs know our routes, our splits and stuff like that, so it is good to go against the people that have not seen it before and be able to execute. It is good. They were playoff contenders too last year, so it will be good.”
Handling adversity has been a key theme throughout the first training camp with Kitchens as head coach.
While there will be a different kind of competition, Kitchens is looking forward to seeing how the Browns handle a weeklong road trip for joint practices, a walk-through and the first true away game of the 2019 season.
“You are sleeping in a hotel in a different city, you are playing against different people and you are practicing against different people,” Kitchens said. “Just that aspect in itself can go a long way to giving you practice when we travel. We travel the second game of the year. Everything surrounding it, I do not have any problem with the competition. I think the competition is going to be there. If it is not, we have some of the wrong people.
“What I am looking forward to is how do we respond to distractions? You guys have built several distractions. Do not take offense, goodness (laughter). You understand what I am saying. Everybody wants to talk about distractions and expectations. Well hell, let’s see how we do under some distractions.”