Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
Takeaways from Day 6 of Browns training camp …
1. Come get some: Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ aggressive, abrasive nature historically has a big impact on younger players but may wear on older vets who have “been there, done that.” But count defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, 31, as a big fan of the new sheriff in town. “His attention to detail, his passion, is unparalleled I think in coaching,” Bryant said. “Anytime there’s any small mistake, he’s in your head about it.” An example of this was Williams chewing out the defense after getting dominated by the offensive line in the first live tackling drill on Saturday. Since then, the defense has reclaimed the upper hand in daily “siren” sessions. “I think coach Gregg brings a nastiness in attitude that permeates throughout the rest of the defense,” Bryant said. “That goal line, short-yardage [drill] we had [on Sunday, won decidedly by the defense] … I think that’s really going to translate to the season. He really holds us to a higher standard, kind of a standard of perfection that I haven’t really seen before. I think guys are really buying into that.”
2. Mix and match: It’s more apparent every day that starting spots and roles are blurred in Williams’ defense. Bryant explained, “The packages we have, there’s a lot of them. More so than I’ve had before. So, we’ll have different guys running on and off the field all the time. That will give offenses something else to think about.” One intriguing new player whose role is a work in progress is that of rookie safety Jabrill Peppers. While Peppers continues to field questions about possible appearances on offense and as the No. 1 punt returner, the fact is he is working only with the second- and third-team defenses through his first week. He answered “yes” when asked if he was looking to capture the attention of coaches in the team scrimmage on Friday, after which coaches will review roles and position rotations. Williams has dictated all defensive players learn two positions. Peppers said his two are strong safety and free safety.
3. Center of attention: When Cam Erving was moved from center to right tackle, he conceded a sense of relief for not having to make all the line calls for his offensive line mates. New center JC Tretter considers this vital function one of his strong suits. “I think it’s a huge part of the position and the job description,” Tretter said. “A lot of it is taking the onus off the rest of the guys. My job in my mind is to make sure everybody knows what they’re doing, who they’ve got, and that way they can play fast.” After playing “for the love of the game” at Cornell University of the Ivy League, which does not offer football scholarships, Tretter received a master’s in center play in four injury-plagued seasons at Green Bay. “[I’m] coming from a system in which the center had a lot of responsibility. And I was lucky to be around guys like (guards) TJ Lang and Josh Sitton, and, of course [quarterback] Aaron [Rodgers], who passed on a lot of information. And as you see a lot of defenses, you kind of understand what they’re doing quicker than when you were younger.” All of which prompted guard Joel Bitonio to refer to Tretter’s mental approach to his position as “Alex Mack-like.”
4. That’s amore: One more reason to like rookie defensive end Myles Garrett: His pre-game playlist of choice on his iPod includes the likes of Dean Martin. “I think he’s an old soul, from listening to the type of music he listens to,” observed linebacker Christian Kirksey. “He’s got a lot of old school vibes to him.”