The latest episode from the Cleveland Browns documentary series “Building the Browns” is appropriately called “Rookie Minicamp”.
As usual, Browns fans should be glued to their screens to see the inside look at what goes on in the facility; it is fascinating.
Here are three takeaways from the episode.
The Browns Go The Extra Mile To Make The Rookies Feel Welcome
There is so much preparation involved before the rookies arrive.
The staff spends 1 1/2 weeks before they arrive getting everything ready because as Stefanski puts it there is not a second chance to make a first impression, and the Browns want to make these rookies feel welcome immediately.
This experience for the rookies is compared to the first day of school.
2021 Rookie Minicamp is in the 📚
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 17, 2021
Many of the rookies are emotional as they arrive.
Demetric Felton talks about this fulfilling his childhood dream; he dreamt of being a professional football player since he was 7 years old.
Richard LeCounte feels blessed and relieved that the draft experience is done and is ready for the work ahead.
We hear a little bit from each of the guys as they begin their NFL experience.
There is levity from Greg Newsome II as he poses for roster pictures and tries to decide if he should smile or look fierce.
He also humorously champions Crocs shoes: Crocs should sign him to endorse them!
Rookie Camp Is Busy
There are virtual meetings, on the field work, and time spent focused on strength and conditioning.
Coach Stefanski is crystal clear at the first meeting that each rookie’s goal should be to make the team.
He also reiterates that the Browns are about putting in the work which explains why there is not much downtime at rookie minicamp.
In addition to getting their bodies and minds ready for professional football, Ron Brewer, Director of Player Engagement, spends a lot of time with the rookies talking through mistakes they can avoid, including making social media a higher goal than playing well.
He positions social media as a byproduct of being a good football player.
Rookie Camp Looks Different Than Previous Years
Many of the coaches are thrilled to be at rookie minicamp since it did not happen last year.
During the weekend, the CDC lifted the mask requirement for vaccinated people so they could interact with the players on the field without masks.
Because there were not a large number of tryout players invited this year due to COVID-19, the rookies benefitted from individual instruction with the coaches.
The Browns start Rookie Minicamp today in Berea. Here’s Cleveland’s second-round pick, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, working with the linebacker coaches. pic.twitter.com/tJpf6QIDT5
— cdotcombrowns (@cdotcombrowns) May 14, 2021
There also was not a scout team to walk through with them so the coaches and staff had to fill in for walkthroughs.
It was fun to see Joe Woods as the quarterback on the scout team who jokingly admitted he was rusty.
In the end, the players were overloaded with information.
Coach Stefanski encouraged them to start studying now as it will make things easier for them.
It is not clear if it is because rookie camp was paused last year because of the pandemic, or if the mood and attitude in Cleveland is so much better than it has been in years, but everyone seemed genuinely thrilled to be a part of the experience.