2012 training camp preview: Cleveland Browns

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

More AFC North training camp previews: Bengals | Ravens | Steelers

Training camp goals

1. The coaches want Brandon Weeden to get all the time he needs with the starters to make sure they are in sync when the season opens. Weeden has not been named the starter yet, but it would be the biggest story of training camp if the 22nd pick in the draft this year does not end up starting. Weeden played five years of minor league baseball with the Yankees, Dodgers and Royals, so he is not overwhelmed about being a pro athlete. Neither he nor the Browns are concerned he will be 28 in his first NFL training camp. He is, though, still a rookie. How quickly Weeden adjusts to NFL defenses after playing in the Big 12 will be the key factor in how much the Browns improve on their 4-12 record in 2011.

2. Improving the offensive line is critical to any jump the Browns make in the AFC North. Rookie Mitchell Schwartz will be the starting right tackle from the first day of training camp. Getting him plenty of practice against the pass rush is essential in keeping Weeden vertical. Right tackle was a major problem for the Browns last season, though the problems cannot all be pinned on Tony Pashos. He tried to play with a foot injury that required surgery after the season ended. He would likely have missed all of 2012 so the Browns released him. Schwartz isn't the only player being counted on to fortify the line. Left guard Jason Pinkston and right guard Shawn Lauvao are second-year starters and should be able to build on what they did last year.

Player to watch

Coach Pat Shurmur says second-year tight end Jordan Cameron made one of the biggest leaps from last year, based on his conditioning in the offseason. Cameron then continued to show that improvement on the field during OTAs and minicamp. Incumbent starting tight end Benjamin Watson fought through three concussions last season. The last one landed him on injured reserve for the final three games. Cameron is quicker than Watson. More because of a numbers game than anything else, Cameron was inactive in eight games last year. He caught five passes in the final three games when Watson was on injured reserve. He will have to show his blocking has improved as much as his route running and hands to unseat Watson, but he will get plenty of opportunities to do that in training camp.

On the hot seat

Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi is entering his fourth season as a starter. He has seven career touchdown catches and never caught more than 36 passes in one season. He was a second-round draft pick in 2009, the same year the Browns drafted Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie in the second round. They gave up on Robiskie last year. They are not at that point with Massaquoi, but he will have to produce if he expects to re-sign with the Browns next year. The Browns selected Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft by investing a second-round pick in 2013. General manager Tom Heckert says Gordon can eventually start. That should be a signal to Massaquoi, who has to get tougher to be a No. 1 receiver.

[Related: 2012 training camp schedules, fantasy advice and more]

Full Browns team report

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