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Joint practices can have a lot of positives for teams. Besides getting a chance to test themselves in specific drills against another team, the Browns and Giants get to hit someone with another jersey on for the first time in training camp practices. After weeks of practice, banging heads with your own teammates over and over can wear on players.
A fresh set of targets on the other side is refreshing but comes with a few concerns, for both sides. Here is a look at three such concerns for Cleveland as they invite New York into their camp:
Joe Judge and Freddie Kitchens
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
In head coach Joe Judge and senior offensive assistant Freddie Kitchens, the Giants have two different thinking coaches leading their way. Judge has treated some of his practices as if he was coaching high school players. In correlated, but not necessarily causal, events, New York has had a few veterans up and retire during training camp this year. Kitchens is well known to Browns fans. Cleveland's last joint practice was led by Kitchens where he seemed to encourage physical play between the Browns and the Indianapolis Colts. Instead of cooler heads prevailing, Kitchens wanted to make sure his team seemed tough:
As the Browns plan to host the Giants, it will be interesting to see which coaching staff sets the tone for the practices.
Different Stages of Competing
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Along with different coaching staffs with, perhaps, differing opinions on how to run the practice, the Giants and Browns are at different stages. Cleveland has already proven that they can be a quality team and a winner. Their goals are much higher than that. The Browns primary goal in training camp, it seems, has been to avoid injury. The Giants have not proven anything under Dave Gettleman's tenure and the general manager is on the hot seat (whether the owner comes out and says it or not). New York comes into this season with a lot to prove and could look at these joint practices as a chance to prove they are on the level, or better, than Cleveland. Those differing stages of competing could lead to different goals while on the same field together.
As noted above, the Browns primary goal to get prepared for the season seems to be health. The team has tried to protect its players as much as possible from injuries. The Giants do not have to respect their host's primary goal. Instead, the reports out of New York's camp have been about very physical preparation for the season. Not only are Cleveland and New York on different stages of competing, but they also seem to have different mindsets about physicality and injuries. While the two coaching staffs will come to agreements about how practices are run, each sides' players have been practicing in a certain way. If the Browns are going half speed and the Giants are going full speed, at times, injuries are likely. Something to watch as joint practices begin.