The Cleveland Browns open training camp on July 26 at the team's facility in Berea, Ohio. Here's a closer look at their camp:
Top storyline: The Browns did a lot of work to change the culture from a winless season in 2017, bringing in 17 new players via trade or free agency, hiring a new coordinator and taking a Lake Erie dive to "cleanse" the stench of winning one of 32 games since Hue Jackson was hired. Among the changes are a new quarterback, running back, receiver and two new cornerbacks. Rather than drag on a quarterback competition in training camp, Jackson named Tyrod Taylor the starter in the offseason. That has eliminated one annual question with this team; instead of wondering who will play, the offense can focus on learning and growing. Jackson and new GM John Dorsey hope the revamped roster can provide a fresh start as they try to wipe away the memory of an historically bad 2017.
QB depth chart: Taylor is solidly the starter. It's been a long time since the Browns entered a camp with clarity at this position, and it's been a long time since a quarterback gave the team the kind of professionalism and play that Taylor provided in the offseason. They are very happy with him, and his teammates clearly respect him. Baker Mayfield's spot will be determined in camp. He was given some reps with the second team in OTAs and minicamp, but the Browns will have to decide if they want their backup to be a rookie who has never played as opposed to the more experienced Drew Stanton. Mayfield would be the sexier pick, Stanton would be the safer pick. Mayfield will determine his spot with his performance during camp and preseason.
Bubble watch: Could wide receiver Corey Coleman be on the bubble? The roster numbers say no. The Browns need Coleman's talent and ability even more now that Josh Gordon has announced he will be away from the team indefinitely as part of his treatment program. Problem is Coleman has provided little but potential since his drafting, and the memory of him dropping that pass late in the season-ending loss in Pittsburgh is tough to erase. The Browns drafted Antonio Callaway and were happy with him before he was hurt. Rashard Higgins showed some ability late last season and in OTAs. Jeff Janis' special teams ability more or less ensures him a roster spot. Which leaves Coleman as a highly drafted player with question marks. "He understands this is a big, big year in his career," offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. "Year three is usually the make-or-break year of what kind (of player) you are going to be. I have made that clear to him."
This rookie could start: The easy choice here is cornerback Denzel Ward, except there is no "could" about his status. Ward will start. The interesting rookie to watch will be running back Nick Chubb. Dorsey has never drafted a back as high as he drafted Chubb, and Chubb looked very good in offseason work. Yes, it was without pads, but Chubb showed an innate ability to find a hole and to make a jump-cut to find space before heading downfield. The intensity and challenge will ratchet higher in camp, but Chubb was praised by running back coach Freddie Kitchens for the "violent" way he attacks the line of scrimmage. One factor to keep in mind about Chubb that could keep him from starting: Veteran free-agent signee Carlos Hyde may have looked better in camp.
Replacing Joe Thomas: The Browns have a tall task ahead in replacing this future Hall of Famer. Shon Coleman gets the first chance as he moves from the right to left side, but Coleman was stiff in pass protection on the right side in 2017 and if that continues it will be exposed more on the left side. Options if Coleman isn't the guy: Free-agent rookie Desmond Harrison got a lot of minicamp reps with the twos and threes. Rookie Austin Corbett could earn the spot, but he had limited offseason time at left tackle in minicamp. Free-agent signee Chris Hubbard was designated for the right side, but got some reps at left. Greg Robinson was signed after minicamp as a flier. The former second overall pick has been a disappointment with two teams. The most extreme possibility: Move Joel Bitonio outside if someone emerges who can play left guard. This option is always there, but the Browns did not use it in minicamp. "We will see," Jackson said. "We have not played a game with (Coleman) over there. Shon has done a good job. Shon has worked extremely hard. He deserves the right to have this opportunity to see if he can be the left tackle. We will know more about that once the pads come on and it is an everyday get-after-it session."
On the outside: Gordon let the optimism of spring -- optimism overflows in Browns season, which is the offseason -- get to him when he called the receiving group the NFL's best. Options three, four, five and six are too unknown to make that statement yet. But with Gordon and Landry, the Browns could have the best starting tandem they've had in years -- provided Gordon returns to the team before preseason ends. Landry's role will be expanded from what he was asked to do in Miami, and in the offseason he showed skill, savvy and excellent hands. The key: Getting Gordon on on the field and ensuring he stays there. His talent is evident, and when he returned in 2017 he showed some of the same ability. His problem was that he wasn't in football shape. Presumably, with a full offseason, he should be in good condition when 2018 starts. He just has to avoid the off-field issues that have led to him being suspended for 54 of the Browns' last 64 games. His attitude in the spring seemed more whole, but he's brought much uncertainty back in the picture with his announcement that he will not be present for the start of camp, and with the word there is no timetable for his return.