BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns opened their mandatory minicamp Thursday.
Here are some early notes and observations from the first practice:
It was an inconsistent showing for quarterbacks. There were several good throws. But overall, starter Jake Delhomme and backups Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy and Brett Ratliff looked shaky in team drills. Delhomme, in particular, made a really poor throw behind the tight end that was intercepted by Ray Ventrone and nearly returned for a touchdown. Plenty of other throws from Cleveland’s quarterbacks were off-target in the first practice.
Browns kicker Phil Dawson and fullback Lawrence Vickers took different approaches to discussing their contract situations. Dawson, who is under contract but wants a raise, didn’t want to discuss the particulars. Vickers, a restricted free agent, was more open about his situation. "You just have to make the right situation for yourself," Vickers said. "This is a business. Sometimes we just look at it as just going out and playing football. But there is a business side to it. So you always have to make sure business is handled correctly."
As mentioned earlier, safety Abram Elam and linebackers Matt Roth and D’Qwell Jackson were absent from minicamp. The trio are restricted free agents who did not sign their tenders. So there is no penalty.
A player that impressed Thursday was rookie receiver Carlton Mitchell. He’s big, can move, and made several nice catches in practice. I don’t like to overrate minicamp, but at the very least he looks the part early. "The one thing I like about Carlton is he’s gotten a little better each day," Browns coach Eric Mangini said. "With those guys [rookies], they may take a step forward and a step back. But he’s a hard-worker."
Play of the day goes to receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, who beat first-round pick and cornerback Joe Haden on an under-thrown ball for a big gain. Massaquoi got behind the defense, but Delhomme’s pass was short and forced Massaquoi to adjust and fight off Haden for the nice catch.
On the injury front, Browns second-round pick T.J. Ward was dressed but the safety did not participate in team drills. According to Mangini, Ward has “tightness” but may practice later in minicamp. Starting cornerback Eric Wright also didn’t return but should be OK. Running back Peyton Hills is still sick but may rejoin the team as early as Friday night, Mangini said.