Shurmur Sees ‘Huge’ Difference in Browns

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Are you ready for some football?  The Cleveland Browns are.

The team officially kicked off their 2012 season with their first training camp practice of the year, and they were hitting it hard.

"I'm just seeing a huge difference this year from last year, and I'm really excited to keep moving through this," said head coach Pat Shurmur.

Last year at this time, the Browns were in disarray. They had a new coaching staff, the lockout had just ended and no NFL team had an offseason.  This year, that offseason made a big difference.

"Having OTAs, we came in, and we rolling now instead of coming in and trying to learn; we're just perfecting it now, putting a fine tuning on it and last year we were just getting the stuff down, getting the defense," said Browns defensive back T.J. Ward.  "We just had to throw it all in and go on a run.  Now, we are a little more comfortable with it."

"It's huge, because a lot of it starts with communication, and we didn't get all of that last year so to have the whole group back, the same coaching staff, now we are all speaking the same language, it goes so far in this league," added linebacker Scott Fujita.

One of the guys making an impression on day one of training camp is actually one of the newest members of the Cleveland Browns: rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon.

"He's really good, he's strong. That's the main thing I tell him from the beginning, like, he has no trouble getting off the line in press coverages so the only thing is just making his routes look the same, making his comebacks look like his fades," defensive back Joe Haden said.

"Of course I'm behind the guys; I got drafted and came in earlier and came in during the spring and stuff, but I feel like I've caught up pretty well with them, and as far as getting the new plays in and getting acclimated to the offense, I'm learning pretty fast," said Gordon.

It was a rough year last year for the Browns who finished 4-12, but a whole season together has this team and its coach coming together.

"Last year, at this point in the season, I was watching numbers walk by. Now as, I watch a guy walk by, I know his wife. I talked to him this morning. I know what he did last year. I know how to push his buttons. I know how he responds to adversity. It’s a whole different year from that standpoint, and I feel more confident about how they function together," said Shurmur.

About 3,000 fans packed into Berea to see Saturday's practice.