The Browns annouced Tuesday that guard John Greco, a former Boardman Spartan, signed a five-year contract.
Boardman Day set the stage for the big day.
First, the Browns made a Tuesday ripple by announcing that guard John Greco, a former Boardman Spartan, signed a five-year contract.
Former head coach Pat Shurmur used Greco as a backup in 2011 and again in 2012 before Greco replaced injured left guard Jason Pinkston.
Greco’s game films in 10 starts and his approach to spring practice impressed the new regime, which suspects Greco could be a big plus as a 16-game starter, evaluating him on the left and right sides.
Greco said he is proud to be a blocker on what he calls “one of the smartest groups in the league.” He sees it earning more and more respect, and went so far as to saying center Alex Mack plays like “a perennial Pro Bowler,” even if left tackle Joe Thomas is his only Browns line mate to have gone to a Pro Bowl as more than an alternate.
“I’m excited to play for a new energized team that is focused for some wins,” Greco said a day before all veterans were due to report for Thursday’s start of training camp. “You can tell it’s ripe for a push.”
Earlier Tuesday, Norv Turner alluded to a slightly more famous Boardman High School alumnus (Bernie Kosar) in explaining how quarterback reps will be divvied up in camp.
“If Bernie was here,” the offensive coordinator said, “he’d say the starter should get all the reps.”
Instead, Turner said, Brandon Weeden will share the load with Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer.
Head coach Rob Chudzinski keeps saying he is not ready to name the starter. Yet, Turner made it sound Tuesday as if Weeden simply needs to dot a few i’s.
“Brandon has taken to what we’re doing,” Turner said. “I expect him to play at a high level.”
Based on spring practice, Turner said Weeden shows “a sense of urgency” and “plays faster” as he picks up the new offense.
“This system really is quarterback friendly,” Turner said, rattling off the names of off-the-beaten-path passers who broke through in it.
Journeyman Gus Frerotte made it to the Pro Bowl in 1996 with Turner as his head coach in Washington.
Turner is encouraged by his receiving corps and says Greg Little made a mark in the spring.
“I think our fans will enjoy watching what we do,” he said.
THE JUMP ZONE
Tight end Jordan Cameron is a key player — the heir apparent to the No. 1 tight end job. He was a Round 4 pick in 2011 who hasn’t done much yet.
“We’re going to put it in Jordan’s hands and see what he can do,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said.
Page 2 of 2 - The brass sees Cameron as raw, but Cameron insists he’s ready.
“Ben Watson was a great leader and all that,” Jordan said, “but it’s my time.”
It’s unclear whether Cameron will line up often as a conventional tight end, with his hand in the dirt. It’s a safe bet he will split off the line, standing up, more often than not.
“It’s a dream offense for any receiver,” he said.
Cameron said the offense is a especially good fit for wide receiver Josh Gordon. Trouble is, Gordon is suspended for the first two games.
• Turner clarified where he will spend his game days: Upstairs, in the booth.
Turner said he will relay plays to the field, where head coach Rob Chudzinski will wear a headset.
While Turner is at the controls of the playbook, he acknowledged Chudzinski as “an outstanding play caller” who thinks along the same lines.
• Brandon Weeden might line up in shotgun formation as much in the preseason games as he did all of last regular season. However, he will take enough direct snaps for it to matter that his improvement in the spring in that area was substantial.
• Defensive coordinator Ray Horton raved about Jabaal Sheard’s spring, suggesting the 2011 Round 2 draft pick has answered most of the questions about whether he can adapt to 3-4 outside linebacker after two years of being a 4-3 end.
“We’re playing him on both sides, and he’s really done a good job of absorbing the defense,” Horton said.
• The Browns see Round 7 pick Armonty Bryant as a “project” of a defensive end, meaning he probably is fighting for a spot on the practice squad.
• Horton said three possible weights for first-round pick Barkevious Mingo are 235, 239 and 241. He said he doesn’t care.
“I’m not going to say anything to him about his weight,” Horton said. “I want a football player.”