It’s Browns camp, and no surprise, everyone’s talking about quarterbacks! As per usual, Mike Pettine didn’t want to talk too much about today’s QB performances until he got a chance to talk to position coaches and check the tapes—after all, you can’t judge passers if the receivers are running the wrong routes. I appreciate that about Pettine. It’s not so much about avoiding the question as it is a reality of trying to take in everything that’s happening in front of him on a day-to-day basis.
Let’s talk about the rest of today’s happenings via bullet points.
- Story of the day of course is that Johnny Manziel was taking snaps with the first team. This would be an especially remarkable thing if he all of a sudden looked amazing and never looked back. That was not the case. Manziel struggled with the first read and then struggled with accuracy from the pocket. He does look night and day better when he’s on a bootleg or otherwise on the run. It’s disconcerting to see him struggle with short routes and reads from the pocket though.
- Brian Hoyer didn’t look much better. Over the first week of camp, he seemed well in rhythm and under control during all the drills. In the QB competition, he appeared to be the veteran. That wasn’t the case today. All day long it felt like the defense was getting in lanes and even when something was open, it was off time or off target.
- Josh Gordon was at practice, but ducked out early (shortly after 11:00 a.m.) in order to participate in what Pettine called “that process” which he had no update on. That process is never-ending, it seems.
- Let’s just say the crowd was a little bit subdued for much of today’s practice. Defense wins championships, but it doesn’t win the hearts and minds of training camp audiences. Training camp audiences love to see high flying catches and long touchdowns, even if they come at the expense of, say, Joe Haden.
- The crowd did get a little defensive lift out of Donte Whitner catching an interception that came off the hand of Johnny Manziel via a deflection by the corner. It was a clear force by Manziel and the defense made him pay.
- Haden got sick and tired of the crowd silence as he took to high-fiving the first row after a nice pass breakup on a timing route to the sideline.
- Jason Pinkston was around, but obviously not on the field. Coach Pettine indicated that they don’t picture Pinkston playing anytime soon and that there might be clarity at some point.
- Reid Fragel went down at one point in practice today clutching his right leg. He had been going up against Jabaal Sheard and eventually walked off under his own power.
- Mike Pettine wouldn’t comment on if the Browns thought Michael Bowie would miss significant time after the team picked him up off waivers from the Seahawks. Bowie is due to arrive in Cleveland this afternoon for a team physical.
- As the quarterbacks struggled, I found it remarkable how much the Browns worked on running the ball. The Browns were 27th in rushing yards per game in 2013, and if I had to guess, they’ll work especially hard to obliterate that this season with Ben Tate and Terrance West. I haven’t seen this many hand-offs since Peyton Hillis was still in camp.
That’s all for today’s day in camp. I’ll have more tomorrow about undrafted wide receiver Willie Snead who continues to make an impression in camp. Also see some more of the pics from camp below.