Cameron hoping for encore
BEREA, Ohio — Can he do it again?
Browns tight end Jordan Cameron is coming off a breakout season and he hopes to continue his climb among the league’s elite tight ends. After being the No. 1 tight end for really the first time in his football career, Cameron responded with an 80-reception season for 917 yards with seven touchdowns. He was rewarded with making his first trip to Hawaii as a Pro Bowl player.
Cameron hopes he will be rewarded this season or after the season with a big contract. He is in the final year of his rookie contract.
Cameron missed the final game of the season in 2013 with a concussion or he would’ve had a good chance of hitting the 1,000-yard mark. He still ranked second among tight ends to only Jimmy Graham (1,215).
The Browns drafted Cameron in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of USC, where he appeared in 23 games as a reserve. He was drafted for his background in basketball and potential as a pass-catching tight end. However, in his first two seasons with the Browns, he had just 26 receptions combined in just eight starts.
Cameron (6-5, 249) thinks offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s system is even better suited for him. His role could even be bigger if Josh Gordon is suspended for all or part of the 2014 season, as expected.
"It’s awesome and they do a lot of things that are tight end friendly and put you in positions to win," Cameron said. "Kyle is creative and does a lot of things to put you in position to win (your matchup)."
Cameron thinks the offense is starting to come together.
"I think we’ve had a good minicamp and good OTA period," he said. "It’s a good time to let it sink in and see where we’re at. I think it’s been a positive few months and I look forward to camp."
Cameron thinks the read option can really be a benefit to the receivers, particularly the tight ends.
"There’s a read option available in this system and it’s hard for defenses to cover that," he said. "It’s tough on a defense to scheme for the (read option) and it opens it up for the receivers and tight ends."
Cameron said he would do some studying of the playbook during his time away from Berea.
"This offense has a lot of wrinkles and a lot of new stuff and we’re all really rookies to this system."
Cameron has a little bit more incentive to have a big year, personally, as he is in the final year of his contract. However, Cameron doesn’t want to talk about the business side of things.
"I’m not worried about (the contract)," he said. "It would be great (to get it done), but right now, I’m just focused on football."
Waiting Game with Gordon: The Browns ended minicamp with still no word whether WR Josh Gordon will be suspended or not.
With about six weeks before training camp begins, Pettine was asked if he thought the Browns would be informed of any suspension before camp begins so they can make contingency plans.
"I think that’s reasonable to say," Pettine said. "We haven’t been given a date, but in fairness to us I think the league will let us know. I think we’re all comfortable in thinking we would know before training camp."
Injury Roundup: Most of the players that were on the stationary bike on Wednesday were still there on Thursday, including: WR Josh Gordon, WR Travis Benjamin, WR Charles Johnson, RB Jourdan Brooks, RB Dion Lewis, RB Edwin Baker, WR Willie Snead, LB Tank Carder, DB Robert Nelson, LB Brandon Magee and DL Billy Winn.
OL Joe Thomas was back practicing, but LB Karlos Dansby and WR Miles Austin were held out of drills on Thursday. Thomas worked with the starting unit on Tuesday, but sat out Wednesday. RB Ben Tate was limited on Thursday, as well.
OL Chris Faulk was not on the field for the third straight day. Faulk missed all of last season on the non-football injury/reserve list with a knee injury. Faulk participated in the OTAs and Pettine said he expects all players to be ready for training camp, with the exception of possibly Benjamin.
OL Joel Bitonio is still out with a high ankle sprain but is expected to be back by training camp.
Ladies First: The Browns have officials for all of their practices and this week is no exception. However, one of the officials this week is Sarah Thomas, who is currently a Conference USA line judge. She and one other female are in the NFL’s developmental program. Currently, there are no females officials doing NFL games.
Summer Break: The Browns are officially off until around July 26 when they will start training camp.
Pettine feels the Browns are prepared as they get ready to start camp.
"We feel we’ve built a good foundation," Pettine said. "The amount of inventory, volume we’ve put in should allow us to be in great shape for the start of training camp."
Pettine was asked if he’s nervous about the time the players have off, specifically concerning staying out of trouble.
"I think it’s a nervous time any time your whole team is dismissed," Pettine said. "When your phone rings you kind of look at it with one eye and hope it’s not an issue coming up.
"We talked to (the team) about it and our advice was to stay in shape, get into the playbook and stay out of trouble."
The next two weeks, the rookies will be close to Berea as the rookies will have meetings and then the following week the NFL has a rookie symposium, which is held locally.
Pettine was asked what he plans to do.
"What I found is when you have time off to take it and get out of town."