Lessons Learned from Cleveland Browns' Training Camp This Week
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
This weekend will mark the end of the Cleveland Browns' 2012 training camp, and thus begins in earnest the process of paring down the roster to 75 players by the August 27 deadline. Evaluations will now come from on-field performance in the remaining two preseason games as well as how the players look when preparing for them.
Instead, let's take a look at the three biggest takeaways from the Browns' final week of camp.
Taking Few Chances with Mohamed Massaquoi
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was reported to have suffered yet another concussion, this time in the team's first preseason game against the Detroit Lions. He was held out of practice for a few days, and though he returned to take the field with the team this week, he did not play against the Packers on Thursday.
This concussion would be Massaquoi's third in as many years. Though the receiver continues to maintain that he did not suffer a concussion and that all measures taken in the days after the game were merely precautionary, clearly the Browns view it differently.
There's little reason to risk putting Massaquoi out on the field in a preseason game if there's even a shred of apprehension about his health. The most important thing for Massaquoi is to be ready for the regular season and not to play in the preseason, especially now, when he no longer appears to be on the roster bubble.
Chances are, Massaquoi will play next week against the Philadelphia Eagles. But this week, even though he did practice, clearly the Browns were not comfortable enough with him taking hits against the Packers.
L.J. Fort Impresses
One benefit of there being so many injuries to the Browns' defensive front seven is that it is giving the coaching staff the chance to give an extended look to players who would otherwise be on the margins of the roster.
One of these players, undrafted rookie linebacker L.J. Fort, has managed to make the most of the reps he's gotten and has fully established himself as one of the team's training camp standouts.
Head coach Pat Shurmur gave Fort a glowing review in his Monday press conference. Fort has been working with the first-team offense in D'Qwell Jackson's place, and while he won't supplant Jackson this year, he certainly has made enough of an impact on the practice and preseason to warrant him earning a roster spot.
Fort showed versatility in Thursday's win over the Packers and was used in blitzing packages regularly. Blitzing may prove to be his bread and butter during the regular season.
Trevin Wade Earns His Chance
Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
Injuries also played a role in another otherwise marginal Browns player getting significant time with the first-team defense. Seventh-round pick Trevin Wade took over for Dimitri Patterson this week as the team's starting nickel corner.
Wade leapfrogged Buster Skrine for the job and played well against the Packers, notching two tackles and a defended pass. The promotion of Wade may result in him getting time with the starters during the regular season if Joe Haden is indeed suspended for the first four games of the year.
Wade and Fort's promotions highlight that the Browns clearly have some strong, young depth on defense. Considering defense was the one area in which they needed to improve, it's extremely advantageous that players like Wade and Fort have stood out this summer.
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