BEREA On the first play of 7-on-7 after linebacker Chris Gocong went down with a torn right Achilles' injury, the defense lined up in a nickel alignment with D'Qwell Jackson and rookie free agent L.J. Fort at the two linebacker spots.
Don't expect to see Fort in the starting lineup when the Browns open the season, but he has a chance to make the 53-man roster for his play on special teams. Also vying for time on special teams is linebacker Craig Robertson, who spent the final two weeks of last season on the Browns' practice squad.
"Those are two guys that have caught our eye," coach Pat Shurmur said. "If they make the club they're immediately going to be special-teams contributors in a big way. They both made plays in the scrimmage drill. They are two young guys that we're very hopeful (about)."
The Youngstown State University Penguins should be familiar with Fort, who played in the Missouri Valley Football Conference for Northern Iowa University. Fort (6-0, 230) played in 50 games at NIU. He had a Football Championship Series (FCS) best 184 tackles last season, earning MVFC Defensive Player of the Year honors. In addition, Fort was named the FCS Defensive Player of the Year.
OFF DAY: Tight end Benjamin Watson didn't participate in practice. Watson, who had three concussions last season, was in uniform and appeared fine when talking to new owner James Haslam III after practice.
Defensive tackle Brian Schaefering and safety Usama Young remain sidelined with minor injuries.
WARMING UP: Cornerback Joe Haden, who failed to intercept a pass last season after picking off six in his rookie season of 2010, has intercepted several passes so far in camp.
"Through the offseason as we evaluated last year we talked about that with Joe," Shurmur said. "Usually you get what you emphasize, and if it shows up in practice it's your best chance to show up in a game. He's getting his hands on balls and his coverage is tight. He's having a good camp."
ON THE SCENE: The first thing you notice about Haslam is his hands-on approach to practices. Former owner Randy Lerner didn't attend many practices. When he did he usually stayed on the sideline wearing normal street clothes.
Haslam has been on the field for both practices that have been conducted since he became owner. He wears a gray Browns' t-short and athletic shorts. He spent much of the Saturday practice talking to president Mike Holmgren. Near the end of the session Haslam stood next to Shurmur.
CAMPING OUT: Tight end Jordan Cameron caught a touchdown pass from Brandon Weeden on a goal-line play. Gocong was hurt on the play Weeden connected on a deep pass to Josh Gordon in 7-on-7, drawing applause from another large crowd. Cornerback Sheldon Brown was beaten on the coverage Rookie free agent receiver Josh Cooper made a diving grab on a Weeden pass. Cooper faces long odds to make the roster, but his chances will increase with more impressive plays Rookie receiver Travis Benjamin dropped a pass on a deep crossing route from Colt McCoy in 11-on-11. Benjamin easily beat coverage and was wide open Starting a drive with 1:30 showing on the clock, Weeden completed two passes before a pass was tipped by Scott Fujita and intercepted by Jabaal Sheard. Weeden then threw a pass that should have been intercepted by Buster Skrine. The ball instead bounced off Skrine and was caught by Mohamed Massaquoi. Later on the possession Weeden completed a deep pass to Gordon along the sideline.