BEREA, Ohio – Doodles in my notebook after watching the Browns and Eagles practice on Friday:
1. During some 7v7 and some 11v11 drills, I focused on Amari Cooper. The Browns’ new receiver slides down the field. He doesn’t seem especially fast, but he keeps opening up. At 6-foot-1 and 211 pounds, Cooper is a good size. But he’s one of those guys who seems to play even bigger because of the way he uses his body to create space and hold off a defender.
2. As the passing drills progressed, Cooper was becoming Jacoby Brissett’s favorite receiver. For good reason. It’s like he’s always open. It’s hard to believe that Andrew Berry’s front office exchanged just one fifth-round pick in 2022 to Dallas for Cooper. They also flopped sixth-round picks. Cooper has made three Pro Bowls. The Cowboys had salary-cap issues that led to the trade.
3. Brissett on chemistry with Cooper: “It’s kind of easy when it comes to Amari, right? It has been helpful to learn from how he plays the game and his ability.”
4. Cooper on Brissett: “You can tell he’s a veteran. What I really like about Jacoby is that he really understands the concepts from the receiver’s perspective. That makes it easy to communicate well.”
5. Earlier in training camp, coach Kevin Stefanski had this to say about Cooper: “You’re talking (about) a very, very smart football player. He has seen all the coverage. He has gone against every DB. I think he knows his game and what he’s good at.”
6. If Cooper can stay healthy and have a Pro Bowl year, that will open things up for younger receivers like Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Bell. Undrafted free agent Daylen Baldwin has had some good times catching passes. If Anthony Schwartz can recover and start catching the ball, the door is open for him to get significant playing time.
7. In some of the 11v11 drills, the infraction was called multiple times for penalties such as false starts and illegal formations. Jedrick Wills Jr. was flagged three times and was taken out of controlled scrimmage. Stefanski was really upset with his left tackle and the offense in general for unforced errors during a portion of practice.
8. The Eagles generated some pressure, and it was interesting to see Deshaun Watson and Brissett handle it because they’re mobile. “Solid” is one word that comes to mind about Brissett. Watson’s feet are so fast that he evades tacklers as he keeps his eyes downfield for a receiver. Watson throws with extreme accuracy when he’s running, even when he looks like he’s off balance.
9. In the first four years of his career, Watson has completed 67.8% of his passes. That’s the highest completion percentage in NFL history for a player throwing at least 1,500 passes. Watson has the ability to throw the ball where only the receiver can catch it while he is in the red zone, staying away from turnovers.
10 Cade York made 7 of 8 shots from the field against the Eagles. His miss was 55 yards. He shot 11 of 12 with no pressure. In that drill, he missed from 61 yards. He kicked three other field goals from more than 60 yards. It’s early. The weather is good. They don’t kick it on the shore of the lake. But it’s been a long time since a kicker had such an impressive training camp.
11. Stefanski on York: “It doesn’t go up or down too much. His teammates like him a lot. I think that’s how he carries himself around the building.”
12. Backup quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Joshua Dobbs didn’t play much. When they were in the field, none of them stood out. Both will play a lot on Sunday because Stefanski has said that neither Watson nor Brissett will be in the game.
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