The Browns-Eagles training camp joint practice on Tuesday got seriously heated, with a couple skirmishes breaking out while tempers flared on both sides.
Early reports from beat reporters on both sides of the table made it clear that the Eagles were instigating these altercations with some less-than-savory plays, and Browns guard Joel Bitonio all but confirmed that.
Bitonio was pretty diplomatic about it, emphasizing that nobody wants to be fighting out there. Both teams want to use these practices to get bet, and iron sharpens iron. The Browns have a great opportunity to work against the reigning NFC champs, and the Eagles stand to benefit from the Browns putting up a good fight as well.
But Bitonio did make sure to highlight what was going on from the Browns side.
"You know, sometimes there's some cheap shots and things like that where you want to defend yourself."- Joel Bitonio
And this really did seem to be what was playing out. Whether it was an undrafted rookie standing up for himself after late hits from Philly's Derek Barnett or Dawand Jones winning Browns fans' hearts by coming to the defense of Demetric Felton after a cheap shot, you absolutely do want to see your guys defending themselves.
This all-class response from Bitonio is also exactly what you want to hear from your captain.
He didn't let the Eagles' nonsense slide, but he also made sure the focus was on moving forward, getting better and preparing for the season. There's a reason that Bitonio is one of the best leaders on this team both on and off the field.
Bitonio and the other Browns starters aren't expect to get much playing time in our actual preseason game against the Eagles, but it's good to see that they aren't taking these practices lightly.
I know Browns fans are always reluctant to get our hopes up too much, but things really are feeling different this year. Going blow-for-blow with the Eagles should give this locker room a ton of confidence.
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