Browns-Eagles Joint Practices: ‘Have Not Talked to the Team About That’

Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

Getty Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns takes off his helmet as he warms up during the Cleveland Browns mandatory minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on June 14, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Things got heated last year when the Cleveland Browns hosted joint practices with the New York Giants. Sterling Shepard and Troy Hill exchanged harsh words and real punches after the second session in what was later deemed “friendly competition.”

With tempers and temperatures rising, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski halted the practice. Stefanski was asked by Cleveland reporters if he talked to his team about that incident as they get ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles. The teams will tangle in two joint practices in Berea, Ohio on Thursday and Friday. Stefanski hadn’t yet brought up last year’s heated fight.

“I have not talked to the team about that just yet,” Stefanski said, via The Plain Dealer. Listen, we did it last year. There are ways to practice real hard and compete and not waste time.”

The Browns are dealing with major injuries on the offensive line, namely starting center Nick Harris. He was placed on the injured reserve list. Ditto for backup center Dawson Deaton. Ethan Pocic will draw the start there. Other injured Browns include DE Myles Garrett, CB Greg Newsome II, CB Denzel Ward, DE Isaiah Thomas, DE Chase Winovich.

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Deshaun Watson Bumped to Second Team

Jacoby Brissett has been taking the first-team reps at Browns camp with Deshaun Watson out for at least the first six weeks. Watson’s pending suspension is being appealed by the NFL as the league looks to drop the hammer with a full-year suspension. Deliberations are underway.

Watson started Cleveland’s preseason opener and looked rusty: 1-of-5 for 7 yards. It marked his first game action in 586 days. His future is in limbo stemming from sexual misconduct allegations. Brissett will be the guy under center with the first-team offense against Philadelphia.

“I would say just too far off,” Stefanski said when asked if Watson might see some reps.

Stefanski isn’t expected to play his starters in Sunday’s preseason game. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni likely won’t run out his ones either. Both coaches are using the two joint practices to simulate real-game action.

“We are going to be in those joint practices and those will be two hard days of work,” Sirianni said, “so if I feel like they have gotten enough in those joint practices and I feel like the work that we needed to get done, we’ll play everything by ear.”

Stefanski Comments on Relationship with Sirianni

Stefanski is a true Philly guy: Saint Joseph’s Prep for high school, then Penn for college. He has also crossed paths with former Eagles assistants Brad Childress and John DeFilippo over the years. But the 2020 NFL Coach of the Year doesn’t have an existing relationship with Sirianni. Aside from running into him at the NFL Combine, there is no familiarity there.

“I know Nick just over the years. Nick was a wide receiver coach, a quarterback coach,” Stefanski said. “Just over the years hanging out at the Combine and those types of things, but I do not have a past with Nick.”

Interesting side note: Sirianni was on the Browns’ list of head-coaching candidates in 2019. They hired Stefanski instead.

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