Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
Takeaways from Browns rookie camp Day 2 …
1. Front and center: For the second practice in a row, quarterback Baker Mayfield took an inordinate number of snaps in 11-on-11 drills from under center, which is out of his comfort zone.
He’s been under center more in two days of rookie camp practice than in his entire three years at Oklahoma and one year at Texas Tech. It’s also more, by percentage, than coordinator Todd Haley will likely utilize in the offense during the season.
There’s a reason for it.
“We are going to hammer that until I am good and it feels natural,” Mayfield said. “That is the way it should be because I can play out of the ‘gun. Everybody here knows that. We are going to hammer that and we are going to work on what I need to work on so that we can go from there.”
The work is paying off. Mayfield had fewer faulty exchanges from center than at his first practice.
Unfamiliarity with the center shouldn’t be a problem. Mayfield has taken most of his snaps from his starting center at Oklahoma the past two years, Erick Wren, who is in Browns camp on a tryout basis.
The other thing Mayfield is working on under center is getting back in the pocket fast enough to create throwing space for himself. For the second day in a row, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams applied a lot of pressure on Mayfield in team drills. The makeshift offensive line had a hard time with it.
2. Injuries: Cornerback Denzel Ward spent his second practice pedaling on the stationary bike. He was held out with a strained hip flexor.
“It’s just precautionary,” Ward said in a statement provided by the Browns. “I wish I was out there with my guys but the training staff is being smart about it. I felt a little something in my hip [on Friday] at practice but I should be back soon.”
Also, receiver Antonio Callaway left practice after suffering a toe injury during 1-on-1 drills … Offensive tackle Desmond Harrison left practice because of cramps. Harrison is a prospect the Browns are watching closely. He’ll be 25 years old during his first season as a result of numerous transfers, academic problems and a dismissal from Texas. He was out of football for two years and then finished his college eligibility at Div. II West Georgia. He is 6-6 and 292 pounds and may be a wild card in the left tackle competition in training camp – if he makes it that far.
3. Late bloomer: Damion Ratley, the Texas A&M receiver taken in the sixth round, wasn’t even invited to the NFL Combine because his career lacked production until the very end.
He had 17 receptions his first two years before turning in 30 his last season for 694 yards and six touchdowns.
“It had a lot to do with me,” he said. “The coaches did everything they could for me. I just didn’t produce. The last year and a half, I started producing and finally got to play.”
Ratley’s breakout came at his pro day, at which former Aggie Johnny Manziel threw passes to him. Ratley, 6-1 and 200 pounds, said the Browns timed him at 4.38 in the 40. That would have ranked second to LSU’s D.J. Chark (4.34) at the combine. Callaway, incidentally, was clocked in 4.41 at the combine.