BEREA, Ohio – The star of the Browns training camp so far has been obvious: wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones.
The top battle of Brown’s training camp, the fight for the second start cornerback job, has not really taken place yet.
Why do we mention these two things together?
Well, on the one hand, Peoples-Jones took the opportunity presented to him. Every day he seems to be playing a game to ignite Brown’s Twitter. He did it again on Friday, catching a deep ball from Baker Mayfield over cornerback Greedy Williams.
That brings us to the other thing we mentioned.
Williams is back after a lost 2020 season. A nerve injury he thought wasn’t the end of the season, and to top it off, the Browns put their pick for the first round – # 26 overall – on a cornerback.
“Great choice,” Williams said Friday when he said he found out that the Browns picked a cornerback at the same time as all of us. “We need depth”
That Williams stood before us before taking part in a padded workout is telling. Nerve injuries are tricky and it was certainly a milestone that Williams participated in padded team exercises on Wednesday and Friday after sitting in the pads on the first day on Monday.
“The coaches were definitely happy,” said Williams. âI wanted to impress her. As long as they were smiling, I smiled. “
Williams is fighting and it was mixed to start camp. It can’t be easy to come back and get going after so much time, especially with a hungry rookie on the back of your neck and a bunch of receptionists on the other. That’s how it goes in the NFL.
“Everyone is competing in (defensive back) space,” said Williams. “We learn from each other.”
The best news so far for Williams is that there just isn’t a lot of clarity on CB2 right now. There is still a lot of camp and three preseason games. Among the significant payers who could play a role in these games are likely Williams and Greg Newsome II on the list.
Peoples-Jones held a quiet press conference on Friday. His young NFL career was all about taking opportunities. It was put into action in Dallas last season after KhaDarel Hodge sustained a hamstring injury while warming up after inactivists were revealed. Peoples-Jones had to go.
He made a handful of significant games during the season, including a long touchdown catch against Tennessee and a deflected pass for a two-point conversion in a Monday night game against Baltimore. His final numbers – 14 catches for 304 yards and two touchdowns – didn’t tell the story of his rookie season.
Now Peoples-Jones has another opportunity as Odell Beckham Jr. is suspending team practice. He took advantage.
“Physically, when he showed up here on campus, he was ready to roll and looked great,” said head coach Kevin Stefanski. âWorked very hard in the off-season. He was productive in training and caught balls that came to him. Probably the most impressive thing is special teams – who run around and cover kicks and cover kicks. He’s a full-time guy at the moment. “
There’s still plenty of camp and three preseason games here, too, but Peoples-Jones has certainly positioned himself to secure real game time this season, something that will be hard to come by the later your name is on the depths table appears.
Williams and Newsome are still in a fight. Williams was the other outside corner of the first team in most of the team exercises. Newsome has worked mostly with the second team and promoted to the first team when Williams was unavailable.
The Browns will head to Jacksonville next Saturday, less than a month before their September 12 opener against Kansas City. Perhaps by then one of the corners has taken a little swing – or maybe you can find some in the TIAA Bank Field.
Peoples-Jones already has momentum. He built it up early and now the challenge is to keep it going – through the dog days in August and the rigors of the preseason.
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