By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Observations, notes, quotes and some facts on Day 15 of Browns training camp …
* What should have been a big day for Montario Hardesty turned into another frustrating one. On his first day in team drills after two weeks rehabbing from a hamstring tendon injury, the star-crossed running back suffered an injury to his right thumb fielding a direct snap to him well over his head.
Team media policy restricts reporting of special formations and trick plays, but, suffice to say, this was not a regular piece of the Browns’ base offense. Hardesty fielded high direct snaps from backup lineman Jarrod Shaw on three consecutive reps and the third one resulted in the injury.
Coach Rob Chudzinski was particularly tight-lipped about this injury after practice.
“I don’t (know the extent) other than he injured his thumb,” he said. “The ball hit his hand and he injured his thumb. It’s a tough deal, but we’ll see what the status is.”
Hardesty is still listed second on the depth chart at running back, but his injuries have enabled Dion Lewis, Chris Ogbonnaya and Brandon Jackson to get in more work. Lewis, in particular, appears to have bolstered status in the new offense. Hardesty is in the final year of his rookie contract and you’d have to say his roster spot is in jeopardy.
* Trent Richardson’s practice workload increased over Sunday, but there is still no indication whether the team’s meticulous plan for him includes an appearance in Thursday’s second preseason game against Detroit in FirstEnergy Stadium.
Chudzinski wouldn’t tip his hand and said he would have more information on game plans on Tuesday.
“I expect to play. I expect to play each game. I’m gonna leave it in Coach’s hands, whatever he thinks is best for the team,” Richardson said.
Richardson wears no protective covering on his right shin, which originally was injured in May and aggravated two weeks ago, and receives no treatment on it. He said he is 100 percent healthy and feels better than in a long time.
Richardson admitted frustration with Chudzinski’s master plan, but he is not fighting the coaches on it.
“In the back of your mind you’ve got to realize it’s preseason and Coach is gonna do the best thing for me to put me in the best position to stay healthy for the whole season,” he said. “It’s good and bad. I feel I can be ready to go Sept. 8 without playing any preseason. I feel I can be ready with playing preseason.
“The way we practice, how hard we practice, the way we get out here, that prepares you for everything. Coach (Nick Saban) always taught me in Alabama you win your games on Wednesdays and Thursdays, not just on, well, Saturdays back in the day, but not just on Sunday. You play hard in practice and that’s how you play your games. You practice like you play.”
One effect of Chudzinski’s conservative plan to keep Richardson healthy is that the running back may run like a caged lion set free on Sept. 8.
In the meantime, Richardson has been impressed with Lewis, who has taken more first-team reps than any back.
“That dude is great,” Richardson said. “He is a special dude when it comes to being a playmaker on the field. Even off the field he’s a special guy. The stuff that he can bring to the table, much like a (Darren) Sproles, it’s very rare you can find a smaller guy like him that moves and plays hard like him every down.”
* Two-minute drills by the first and second team offenses yielded no points.
Brandon Weeden took the first team from the 30-yard line to the defense’s 27. On fourth down, Weeden’s short pass for Travis Benjamin was disrupted by Joe Haden. A key play in the drive was Paul Kruger destroying Mitchell Schwartz and registering a virtual sack of Weeden.
Jason Campbell moved the second team from the 30 to the defense’s 34. Barkevious Mingo looked to get a sack on the drive. Campbell -- who runs the keeper more than any of the quarterbacks -- ran for a first down right after. The drive ended on a fourth down when pressure from Quentin Groves and Mingo resulted in a hurried Campbell incompletion.
Afterwards, each kicker tried a field goal from 50 yards. Shayne Graham’s was good. Brandon Bogotay’s was wide right.
* Cornerback Chris Owens was back to work after missing a few days with a sprained arch. Receiver Jordan Norwood and offensive tackle Oniel Cousins were also back. Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was given a day out of practice.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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