The Browns open with the first of 10 OTA practices on Tuesday. Here is everything you need to know as the team gathers with a host of new players and a new offensive coordinator.
1. All sessions are voluntary and non-contact. Players are not permitted to wear pads, but they will wear helmets during the first 11-on-11 drills of the offseason.
2. Johnny Manziel is expected to be in attendance. Manziel has seemingly done everything right since emerging from his stint in rehab. Can he begin to show signs of the Johnny Football of old and actually force a QB competition with Josh McCown?
3. First-round pick Danny Shelton will not be in attendance for any of the 10 practices. He’s still on campus at the University of Washington finishing up his degree in anthropology.
4. With Shelton away, Cleveland’s other first-round pick, Cameron Erving, will certainly draw plenty of attention. Erving can play multiple positions along the offensive line, but his only path to the starting lineup, barring injury, is on the right side. It will be interesting to see if Erving gets most of his snaps at right tackle or right guard behind Mitchell Schwartz or John Greco, respectively.
6. Don’t expect to see Tashaun Gipson at Browns headquarters over the next three weeks. The restricted free agent is unhappy with his second-round tender and is not expected to attend any voluntary sessions. Teammate Joe Haden is confident that Gipson will be back for the team’s mandatory minicamp from June 16-18.
7. Remember when Mike Pettine alluded to Justin Gilbert’s "very personal" issue that played a role in Gilbert’s disastrous rookie campaign? Gilbert spent time this offseason working out with Haden. After the signing of veteran corner Tramon Williams, Gilbert is likely to duke it out with K’Waun Williams for the nickel spot. Let’s see if Haden’s mentorship pays an early dividend.
8. This will mark John DeFilippo’s first stint as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. DeFilippo is expected to install a system similar to Kyle Shanahan’s from last season, but Mike Pettine has already acknowledged that he’ll take a greater role on offensive side of the ball this season. Having a new offensive coordinator is nothing new for the Browns, but bear in mind that the Browns also have a new quarterback and two new starting-caliber receivers in Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline.
9. The kicking game. The Browns released the only veteran kicker on the roster in Garrett Hartley last week, leaving kicking duties in the hands of Travis Coons and Carey Spear, neither of whom have kicked in an NFL game. GM Ray Farmer says he’s comfortable entering the season with the inexperience duo, but he’ll surely have his eyes trained eye on the uprights right from the get go.
10. The rest of the schedule for OTAs is as follows: