- Pat McManamon, ESPN Staff Writer
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BEREA, Ohio -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Cleveland Browns training camp:
To help drive home the point that the league will call illegal contact and defensive holding much tighter this season, coach Mike Pettine is having his defensive backs wear kick-boxing gloves. It’s smaller than a boxing glove, with a thumb, and players take turns using them. Monday Joe Haden wore them. Tuesday Buster Skrine had them on. “I just think it’s more the mentality that they know they have to be able to cover more with an open palm than grabbing and restricting,” Pettine said. “Especially if the rule is going to be called as tightly as we’re told it is.”
Maybe Brian Hoyer got mad. Hoyer on Tuesday had one of his better practices. He started with a nice throw across the field to Charles Johnson, and later had an excellent throw down the hashmark, with authority, to Taylor Gabriel. He followed with another good throw to Andrew Hawkins, but Justin Gilbert made an excellent defensive play to break it up. In the two-minute work, Hoyer had an excellent throw to Josh Gordon on a deep slant, with Gordon catching the ball in space on the run. To the naked eye, and unofficially of course, this might have been Hoyer’s best effort since the second day of camp.
Gordon gave another view of what could be on the reception from Hoyer. He caught the ball in stride and might have escaped on one of his end-zone jaunts had it been full speed. Gordon is far and away the best player on the Browns, and when he’s on the field making catches the offense just looks far better and more explosive.
A drill with quarterbacks throwing to tight ends and fullbacks against linebackers or safeties had some interesting results. MarQueis Gray had a professional pushoff at the end of a route to make a catch, and Gary Barnidge had the catch of the day. He got past Jim Leonhard, looked back over his left shoulder, turned to a ball behind him, reached out his left hand and snagged it with one hand. Here’s a Vine post from the team with the video: https://vine.co/v/M9T9lKLbE9v
One media wag took a sideline poll among other media types during practice, asking who is the better athlete: Barkevious Mingo, Gilbert or Gordon. The answer from everyone polled was immediate and unanimous: Gordon. ... Gilbert is progressing at warp speed. “We’re getting to the point where a lot of it is small detail stuff with him,” Pettine said. At this rate, Skrine will have a hard time holding Gilbert off. ... The Browns have been in pads every day since the third day of camp, and Pettine said that will continue through the second preseason game in Washington. ... Free safety Tashaun Gipson was back in pads and if all went well with his knee, he could practice full go on Wednesday and play on Saturday. .. Tight end Jordan Cameron remains sidelined with a shoulder issue. … Interesting that with Gipson out, Jordan Poyer is getting the starting reps and not Josh Aubrey.
Up Next: The Browns return to practice at 9:30 a.m. CT.