Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

Hard Knock life – day 13 Browns camp news and notes

Gregg Williams and Todd Haley give Hard Knocks crew golden camp moment

August 14, 2018

Daryl Ruiter-Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – There’s an unwritten rule during practice – the quarterback does not get hit.

It’s also a rule that occasionally gets unintentionally broken.

That was the case Monday when rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield got touched by a defender during 11-on-11 prompting offensive coordinator Todd Haley to yell “Don't touch the f-----g quarterback in practice. Good teams don't do it!''

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams responded, “Somebody's gotta f-----g block 'em,” setting off sparks between them as the verbal exchange continued for a few moments before head coach Hue Jackson stepped in.

“I like a little testy. Testy is good. I am surprised that it is just now getting testy,” Jackson said after practice. “They are fine. Those things happen. We have men that are competing every day. Both sides are competing. That is just part of football.”

This isn’t the first time Mayfield got touched in a practice. Earlier in camp, which Hard Knocks showed in the premiere last week, general manager John Dorsey wasn’t happy when Myles Garrett hit him inadvertently.

Garrett appeared to come close to starter Tyrod Taylor Monday as well.

Monday’s blow up between Haley and Williams will certainly have HBO and NFL Films producers salivating with primo content, even with Jackson reminding everyone on the field who is boss.

“I get to be head master,” Jackson said. “They understand. I love the fire in both of them. Both of them are very competitive. That is what you want.”

Temporary switch – Gregg Robinson received reps with the first-team offense during team drills Monday and Joel Bitonio slid back to left guard, but that doesn’t mean Bitonio is returning to his old position.

“Bitonio is still our starting left tackle,” Jackson said. “We just have to keep working combinations and things. It means nothing. It just means that every now and then, I am going to stick Greg out there and make sure that Joel keeps playing some left guard. I told you guys, if we find an answer in house, then great. If we do not, then I feel good about Joel being out there.”

Bitonio only played 8 snaps in the preseason opener, which came with the first-team offense before being given the rest of the night off.

“It was kind of hard to get in a great rhythm, but there are things to work on,” Bitonio said. “My hands were a little wide. I’m used to going up against Myles in practice, who’s like flying up the field. I’m used to getting back, so I was getting a little too far back with Olivier [Vernon]. He was more of a power guy, so there’s just little things to work on, but there is good stuff to come, and I felt like that last drive when we scored the touchdown, I was starting to get a little comfortable and kind of wanted to play another drive or two, but it’s preseason.”

Robinson, the former No. 2 pick in the draft, is getting a look as he auditions for a roster spot. 

Jackson plans to give Bitonio and the starters more reps in the second preseason game Friday night against Buffalo. Like the shift in positions, blocking new opponents is also an adjustment for Bitonio.

“Until you really play them, you don’t understand truly their strengths or weaknesses or how strong they are or how quick they are, so you have to get out there to understand what’s going on,” Bitonio said. 

Ward hurt – Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward suffered an apparent ankle injury, which showed up during Monday’s practice, but it is believed to not be serious.

“He has a little bit of a sore ankle,” Jackson said. “We have pulled through it. He has been out there practicing, competing and doing some good things. He just has to keep pushing through.”

Ward could be seen laboring to push through the injury before he was sent to the sideline.

Catch of the day – Tight end David Njoku had a monster day catching the football during Monday’s practice.

Njoku caught at least 6 passes during team 11-on-11 work – most of them came from starter Tyrod Taylor, including a 1-handed grab with safety Jabrill Peppers draped all over him.

Njoku is coming off a preseason opener that saw both of his receptions go for touchdowns against the Giants. 

In touch – Jackson said he’s been in touch with receiver Josh Gordon, but they still don’t know when to expect him back in Cleveland.

Jackson also declined to say whether they have a date in mind for him to return to be ready for the season opener against Pittsburgh Sept. 9.

“Honestly, I have not even thought that far,” Jackson said. “I am trying to coach the team that is on this field and trying to get these guys better.”

Puppy pound counter – The Browns are up to 123 adopted puppies after 9 more were adopted from the Northeast Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Monday. Since the program was launched in 2015, 346 puppies have found homes.

Injury report –  TE Julian Allen (abdomen), DL Caleb Brantley (ankle), DL Trevon Coley (ankle), DL Daniel Ekuale (calf), DL Marcell Frazier (concussion), DB Montreal Meander (concussion), FB Danny Vitale (calf) and OL Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice.

Up next – Practice Tuesday 3:00-5:55 p.m.