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Browns’ mysterious Alpha Canine coaching camp competitors fueling protection

BEREA, Ohio — There’s a really notable Browns coaching camp battle this season that’s shrouded in thriller.

The Alpha Canine — or maybe extra aptly named Alpha Dawg — competitors is one thing the Cleveland protection is taking part in because the season creeps nearer.

What we all know:

  • It consists of 4 groups.
  • These groups have been chosen by a “cupboard,” in line with defensive coordinator Joe Woods.
  • It’s designed to assist the Browns’ protection enhance on some struggles from 2021, together with creating takeaways.

However with some good-natured intrigue, the Browns are maintaining the remainder a secret.

No less than they’re making an attempt to.

The world would nonetheless be fully at midnight in regards to the battle, if not for an virtually throwaway line courtesy of security John Johnson III, who took a query in regards to the Browns enhancing on takeaways and gave reporters a bit further — unsurprising contemplating he did earn a number of votes for the media’s annual “Good Man Award” final season and is all the time an ideal interview.

“Now we have a contest occurring with the entire protection, it’s referred to as the Alpha Canine,” Johnson mentioned on Thursday. “It’s not simply takeaways, it’s attacking the ball. We need to preserve attacking the ball, good issues are going to occur. That was like the very first thing that we talked about once we obtained again for coaching camp. We noticed the numbers, however we mentioned takeaways is what’s most necessary.”

The reply got here a lot to Woods’ chagrin when he confronted reporters 24 hours later.

However like with Johnson, Woods let a number of extra particulars in regards to the competitors slip out.

“That may be a secret!” he mentioned with amusing. “I can’t get into all the particulars, however principally we attempt to make our practices like video games. We attempt to churn all the info after which we preserve monitor of the blokes main every class and groups main every class after which there could also be a reward on the finish.”

Whereas the classes is probably not recognized, we are able to make some educated guesses.

Primarily based on Johnson’s reply, takeaways are in all probability one side of the competitors. The Browns have been middle-of-the-pack with these final season, forcing solely 19 whole, tying them for twenty first within the league.

The Browns additionally actually do worth quarterback pressures, one thing that Kevin Stefanski introduced up earlier this week when speaking in regards to the affect Myles Garrett has on video games and the way it’s about extra than simply sack numbers.

Woods has additionally talked lots about enhancing on situational soccer, most notably third-down conversions and crimson zone conversions. Final 12 months, opposing groups transformed 39.3% of their third-down makes an attempt in opposition to the Browns (nineteenth within the league) and transformed 34-of-52 crimson zone makes an attempt into touchdowns (65.4%).

And because the Browns stay within the ramp-up phases of coaching camp main as much as full pads on Tuesday, that’s about all we are able to guess for now by way of the competitors. There could also be extra to glean as time goes on.

“You’re gonna see,” Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah mentioned. “As camp goes on, you’ll know extra about it. However sure, it’s this Alpha Dawg factor we do. We’ll see who comes out with it. That’s all I can provide.”

It’s comprehensible why the Browns need to preserve this in-house, their very own particular competitors and prize that the remainder of the world isn’t aware about.

Coaching camp days are lengthy, oftentimes eleven-plus hours for gamers. What higher technique to preserve gamers centered and engaged regardless of the warmth wave, limitless conferences and limitless drills?


The Browns take pleasure in not solely the drills and the competitors side of Alpha Canine, however maintaining it a secret, too.

“I’m going to be secretive as properly as a result of I don’t need to get fined by these guys.” Stefanski quipped. “I feel what you are attempting to do is coaching camp is lengthy and it’s aggressive, however you’re all the time on the lookout for methods to encourage the blokes on a day-to-day foundation. Every place group does it in their very own manner, and definitely, Joe with the unit is taking it to a novel place.”

Owusu-Koramoah gave a extra poetic rationalization.

“You’ve obtained to search out one thing that means that you can propel your self,” he mentioned. “It’s about motivation, innovation, elevation, evolutions. It’s about all the time going in direction of a path to the place you possibly can higher folks, and that’s what we’ve completed. We’ve discovered one thing that everyone enjoys. You already know, we’ve obtained a number of totally different instruments that we use to maintain guys engaged.”

Although a lot is probably not recognized now, we’ll probably get there. Finally guys received’t give you the option to withstand speaking, particularly when it comes all the way down to who will get the Alpha Canine prize on the finish.

The gloating feels virtually inevitable.

“Coach Woods hasn’t gone over it with us but, however there’s a prize for certain,” Johnson mentioned. “Now we have 4 groups and I feel my staff goes to win.”

Could the perfect Alpha Dawg win.

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For those who or a liked one has questions and wishes to speak to an expert about playing, name the Ohio Downside Playing Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or the Nationwide Council on Program Playing Helpline (NCPG) at 1-800-522-4700.

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