BEREA — Brodney Pool started games at left cornerback, right cornerback and free safety for the Browns last season.
Come this fall, though, Pool won’t be playing musical positions anymore.
“We’re letting him settle in at that safety spot,” Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel said. “He played some corner, some (special package) linebacker and some safety for us because we needed it last year, but we’re keeping him at safety now.
“He’s doing pretty good because the last couple days, he’s gotten his hands on some balls he wouldn’t have gotten to if he hadn’t been (in the right spot).”
Pool has excelled in his new role early in training camp, including another productive day Wednesday. The third-year pro has been sharp, aggressive and effective as part of the top safety pairing with Sean Jones.
If the Browns are to be successful, the young duo must continue to play at a high level once the regular season begins Sept. 9 at home against Pittsburgh.
“I feel good. I’ve been feeling good this whole camp,” Pool said. “My coach told me to never get too high, never get too low. It’s just practice right now, so I’ve got to continue to do the same thing.”
There is one specific area, however, that Pool must show improvement in. He has just two interceptions in 29 NFL games and has had a number of passes bounce off his hands already during practice.
If Pool is able to turn some of those bat-downs into thefts, he will make life a lot easier for his fellow defenders.
“Brodney and Sean are phenomenal athletes and I wouldn’t be surprised if both guys have a lot of picks this season,” linebacker Andra Davis said. “We’re going to miss B-Russ (departed safety Brian Russell), but I have no doubt those guys can get the job done because they’re only going to get better.”
Running back Jamal Lewis is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. He is the first Browns player to be featured solo on the magazine’s cover since Bernie Kosar in the week of Aug. 29, 1988.
The current edition of SI shows Lewis participating in an individual gauntlet drill at camp. The
27-year-old joined the Browns in the spring after spending his first seven NFL seasons with the Ravens.
“Jamal is still a young pup,” wide receiver Joe Jurevicius quipped. “People say he’s up in years, but if this is his downside, I think we’re OK.”
Three for all
One day after referring to Braylon Edwards, Jurevicius and Tim Carter as his top three receivers, Crennel backtracked a bit. He listed Carter, Travis Wilson and Joshua Cribbs as being in competition for the third spot.
“They’re all competing, but whoever is the best is the guy we’re going to use,” the coach said. “I would like the guy who performs the best to be the third receiver, whoever that’s gonna be.”
Davis reported to camp at a career-low weight of 243 pounds, partially because he no longer has to play against Lewis.
“We’ve got the biggest running back in our division now with Jamal,” said Davis, who carried between 250 and 260 pounds last year. “(Pittsburgh’s) Willie Parker, (Cincinnati’s) Rudi Johnson and (Baltimore’s) Willis McGahee are all quicker backs, so I figured I needed to be lighter, too.”
Crennel revealed that second-year defensive lineman Alvin Smith is out indefinitely with a broken leg he suffered while playing in NFL Europe. “He’s not going to be with us for a minute,” the coach said.
• A number of NFL officials are in Berea this week to call penalties during practice.
“I think it helps — especially with the young guys — because when they see something, they tell the players what they can and can’t do,” Crennel said.
• Willie McGinest and Antwan Peek are expected to share time at outside linebacker in the regular season in order to keep both players fresh.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.