BEREA — Gary Baxter’s remarkable return took another positive step Monday.
For the first time since tearing both patellar tendons in October, Baxter participated in team drills. He lined up as right cornerback with the scout team.
“I felt good today,” he said. “This is part of the process, and the process is every week, every day, try to step it up more and more.”
Baxter returned to practice July 30 but had been limited mostly to individual work. The practice Monday wasn’t full speed, but Baxter dropped in coverage, ran with the starting receivers and even played some bump-and-run.
“Today was huge for me, see how I can twist and turn, run with the offense,” said Baxter, who added he hasn’t had any setbacks. “I did pretty good.
“Now the real test is (today), see if I can do it again and just continue to do it. Every day’s been a good day so far.”
Baxter said the next step is
7-on-7s, which could come any time. After that would be
11-on-11s, possibly next week.
“I think his timing is coming back,” coach Romeo Crennel said. “His confidence is coming back.”
Monday was a big step in the right direction, because the team activities put extra stress on the knees.
“It was a different kind of movement today,” he said. “You work muscles we can’t rehab.
“I felt great out there. I held back some — they told me to be smart, easing back into it. I was able to keep up with Joe (Jurevicius) and Braylon (Edwards). A lot of guys were complimenting me out there.”
Baxter’s goal remains unchanged from the day he was hurt. He plans on playing in the opener Sept. 9, and would like to test the knees in the third or fourth preseason game.
“I’m not going to rush it,” he said. “My goal was to be ready for the first game of the season and, so far, everything’s looking good.”
Crennel gave Charlie Frye the edge for his performance Saturday night vs. the Chiefs, but said he’s still competing with Derek Anderson for the starting quarterback job.
“I thought Charlie did a little bit better than Derek, but this is still a competition that’s going on,” Crennel said. “We’re going to let them compete this week and through the game on Saturday and then see where that leads us. We are looking for consistency.”
The Browns host the Detroit Lions on Saturday night. Ideally, a decision will be made afterward, but Crennel wouldn’t commit to a timetable.
“Competition makes everybody better, and these two guys have to work extra hard, they have to stay on top of it and they push each other,” Crennel said. “I think the position will be a better position as a result of the competition.”
Crennel flipped a coin before the Chiefs game Saturday night to determine the starter. He said he might keep the competition equal and give Anderson the start vs. the Lions.
“What happens this week will have somewhat of an impact on that,” Crennel said.
Rookie Brady Quinn practiced in front of the fans for the first time, but didn’t give them much to cheer. Receiver Steve Sanders dropped a deep ball during a passing drill and the practice was a glorified walkthrough. But any completion drew oohs and aahs.
Journeyman Ken Dorsey took the majority of snaps with the scout team, so Quinn was limited to a few snaps with the first and second teams.
“I’m not saying he’s No. 3 yet,” said Crennel, who makes rookies earn their keep.
Quinn is expected to see his first game action vs. the Lions.
“We’ll try to give him some reps in practice and see how he handles it, and then make a determination before the game what we think he can get, how much we want to give him,” Crennel said.
After his 88-yard kickoff return for the winning touchdown vs. the Chiefs, running back Chris Barclay joined the competition at punt returner. He dropped three balls on a windy afternoon.
“We need to work a little more on that,” Crennel said.
Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley was ranked seventh in SI.com’s top 10 defenders under 25. He had 11 sacks as a rookie.
• Joshua Cribbs arrived late for practice because he was dealing with a personal issue.
• Guard Brent Pousson, a rookie free agent, was added to the roster.