CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Browns mandatory mini-camp wrapped up in Berea Thursday. The off-season has been a welcome relief for veterans and rookies who did not have an off-season last year.
The NFL Lockout left the Cleveland Browns down-and-out last year trying to install a new offense and defense without any coaches. This year's off-season has been quite the opposite.
"We feel miles ahead of where we were at this time last year. We were kind of scrambling this time last year trying to get together on our own, so we are ahead of where we were last year," said Browns wide receiver Jordan Norwood.
It has been a seamless transition from the college game to the pro game for rookie Mitchell Schwartz, who ran a similar style offense at the University of California.
"Some of the technique stuff is a little different, and that's obviously why you practice," said Schwartz. "You have to pick up on that stuff. It's just the muscle repetition day in and day out getting better at that, and it's been a pretty smooth transition, I think."
Schwartz has been impressed with offensive lineman Joe Thomas who he calls the best tackle in the NFL, but it's Thomas who has similar praise for the rookie out of Cali.
"I've been very impressed with Mitchell. He's a guy that takes it very serious, and it's important to him. He is a guy who is a technician, very smart, and I think he has everything you need in a right tackle," Thomas said.
The Browns will be back on the practice field next week for another round of Organized Team Activities. This will be the final time the team practices in the off-season until training camp starts in July.