August 15, 2014

Scott Raab profiles Mike Pettine, underwater MP3 players, and Michael Cera… While We’re Waiting

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What’s up everybody? It’s Friday and I’m on for WWW. Hope it’s one of the good ones. We never know when we write these, by the way. I’ve discussed this with Andrew and the rest of the crew and it’s a mystery to us which ones are going to draw commentary and which ones will draw flies.

Oh well. [Read more...]

Hoyer to start second preseason game

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According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and later confirmed by the Browns, Brian Hoyer will reportedly make the start on Monday versus the Washington Redskins. This is a different sentiment then last weekend when there was a report that Manziel was likely to start in the second preseason game. The news of Hoyer starting may lead many to believe that Hoyer is the favorite to win the starting quarterback job. But as Mike Pettine said this week, the starter is not important because both quarterbacks will split snaps with the ones. This news, though, conveys the feeling that Hoyer has a leg up in the competition because he has received both starts this preseason.

The second preseason game on Monday seems to be a big deciding factor in who will win the starting spot. Hoyer will get the first shot at making his case for the starting spot, but Manziel will still have a chance if he gets time with the ones. But for right now, the favorite to win the job seems to be trending towards Hoyer especially after this recent news.

(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)

Johnny Manziel completes bomb to Travis Benjamin

Training camp stats are for the birds, but I recently noted that I didn’t feel as if the Browns were successful going long in camp. Between Hoyer and Manziel, I just haven’t seen a lot of long completions challenging the back of the defense. When the Browns do toss those kinds of passes, it’s a host of overthrows and passes defensed.

Not yesterday when Manziel found Travis Benjamin on this bomb.

Surprise! The state of Texas thinks Johnny Manziel should start Browns opener

Sometimes polls produce interesting results. Sometimes not. Sometimes even when they tell you exactly what you might have thought they would, it’s a source of comedy.

It appears the nation overwhelmingly supports the idea that Brian Hoyer should start the Cleveland Browns’ opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. All except the state of Texas, of course.

Maybe this map will become more (or less) interesting after the Browns’ next pre-season game against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. Of course, maybe that map will also include Rex Grossman?

Rex Grossman doesn’t make Brian Hoyer expendable

I was listening to Kiley and Booms this morning and Chuck Booms was entertaining the idea that Grossman’s arrival actually makes Brian Hoyer trade bait. It’s hard to believe that Grossman could be that ready considering his last regular season NFL snap came for the Washington Redskins in 2011. Then again, I didn’t really think that I’d be looking at pictures of Grossman in a Browns uniform a couple weeks ago.

Still, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Mike Pettine was asked by Tony Grossi directly yesterday if Grossman made Hoyer expendable. Pettine didn’t really take a lot of time when he said “No.”

The Cleveland Browns have needed more than one quarterback in a season pretty much every season ever. The idea that they could be so fickle as to pick up a guy who hasn’t played in the regular season in two seasons and get rid of the pre-training-camp incumbent starter, is hopefully a storyline from dysfunctional days gone by and not a realistic part of the Ray Farmer future.

Hopefully the trade talk is nothing more than the inane rantings of a comedian with nothing but a headline-grabbing take.

Karlos Dansby appears to be as advertised: Training Camp Notes 08.12.14

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It wasn’t one of those really action-packed days at camp today. Not a ton of “oohs and ahs” in the crowd. Still, there were some things of note.

I love watching Karlos Dansby play linebacker…

There wasn’t a specific highlight or anything, but I’m enjoying watching first-year Brown Karlos Dansby play. He seems to always be in the right place at the right time. We’ll know soon if he’s still young, athletic and explosive enough to be a difference-maker for real, but everything I’ve read about this defense says that like G.I. Joe, “knowing is half the battle.” Dansby really seems to have that instinct to be in the right place and at the right time where he occasionally blasts into the backfield to get a runner behind the line of scrimmage. I don’t know if that’s just practice or whether that’s an advantage for real, but I’m looking forward to seeing him suit up this Monday against the Redskins to see. [Read more...]

Grading Manziel vs. Hoyer: Still Too Close to Call

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The Cleveland Browns finally had their chance to play someone other than their fellow teammates. What many fans are watching, however, is the battle within the team as Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer both look to claim the team’s starting quarterback role.

On Saturday, both quarterbacks played about a quarter-and-a-half—or three-to-four offensive drives. Each player had his share of ups and downs during their time under center with the team finishing drives throughout the game, only making four field goals. As we will throughout the rest of the preseason, here’s WFNY’s breakdown of the performances of both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel in their first game in the battle for the starting quarterback job. [Read more...]

Browns Preseason Game 1: Winners and Losers

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With the first weekend of preseason football in the books, we learned some thing about the outlook of the 2014 Browns, both positive and negative, but many important questions remain unanswered. The difficulty of the preseason remains that no one truly knows whether certain players are flashes in the pan or can be counted on in the regular season. But, this is the first opportunity to watch football since January, so overreactions are abundant and to be expected. I’ll try to avoid reactionary instincts, but when you’ve been trying to analyze pictures of your players to gauge whether or not they are engaging in illicit activities in a bathroom, finally being able to evaluate their actions feels like a blessing. Without rambling any further, lets get into the winners and losers of preseason Week 1.

[Read more...]

Browns finally sign Rex Grossman

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After being linked to him through much of the offseason, the Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms with veteran quarterback Rex Grossman.

Grossman is 6-1, 225 pounds and officially in his 12th NFL season out of Florida. Originally, a first-round pick (22nd overall) by Chicago in 2003, Grossman has appeared in 54 games and has compiled a 25-22 (.532) record as a starter. He has completed 863 of 1,562 career passes for 10,232 yards with 56 touchdowns and 60 interceptions. He’s also the subject of one of the sports blogesphere’s most entertaining (and meme-generating) pieces pretty much ever.

Sexy Rexy spent his first six seasons (2003-08) with the Bears and led Chicago to Super Bowl XLI during his first full season as the starter. He spent the past four seasons (2010-13) with the Redskins following one year with the Texans (2009). Last season, he was inactive for 13 games and was active but did not play in the team’s final three contests.

To make room for The Cannon, the Browns waived quarterback Tyler Thigpen.

RIP Robin Williams: While We’re Waiting…

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Sigh.

I normally start this off with a “Happy Tuesday” greeting, but this Tuesday is anything but. I opened my laptop to start writing this post last night, and I was immediately hit in the face with the news of Robin Williams’ death.

I’ll be honest with you guys: I don’t normally feel all that affected by celebrity deaths. I mean, I feel bad for their families and friends, and yes it is sad, but I’ve never been good about connecting their deaths to my life. There have been a few exceptions, though…Certain artists and celebrities who meant something to me in some personal way: Kurt Cobain, Dale Earnhardt, Layne Staley, Chris Farley, Greg Giraldo. And now Robin Williams.

Robin Williams was a titan of my youth. He already had a long, prosperous career before I first remember noticing him, but in reality his career was just getting started. I still vividly remember seeing “Hook” in the theater as a young 12-year-old kid and just loving Robin Williams’ performance as Peter Pan. I remember seeing Mrs Doubtfire in the theater a couple years later and thinking it was just about the funniest thing I had ever seen. I’ve been a fan ever since, always trying to make an effort to see just about anything he does.

I can’t even totally grasp this news. Anyone who followed his career was familiar with his battles with addiction and depression, but Robin Williams was so full of life that it seems unfathomable that it could extinguished. Robin and Chris Farley both had a similar quality to them in that even when doing something that wasn’t funny, they could still make you smile and laugh. Robin always had that incredible, mischievous smile and twinkle in his eye, like he always knew more than he was letting on to and had something up his sleeve. His very essence and aura just oozed charisma and laughter.

The most beautiful part about living life at the same time as Robin Williams is that the capacity for happiness always existed. And that was both his gift and his burden. I remember once, while watching one of Robin’s many late night appearances, thinking to myself how exhausting it must be to walk in his shoes. Every time he was in public, there was pressure for him to be “on”. And the remarkable thing is, he never failed to deliver. If he was ever tired of entertaining us and making us laugh, he certainly never let us see even a hint of it. He simply lived his life to make the rest of us laugh and experience happiness.

It would be easy to think only about all the great things Robin Williams gave to society, but obviously this news also serves to remind us that there was another side to the man, hidden from most of us. It’s been said that humor is a kind of defense mechanism, and I think that might be why some of the funniest people to ever grace this planet have also had some of the biggest demons. Often times the humor is used to disguise the very real hurt underneath the surface. And the lifestyle of comedians can naturally lend itself to addiction, excess, and depression. Yet it’s hardly unique to comedians. People in all walks of life suffer with the same afflictions and struggles. We all deal with things differently, and clearly we all have varying capacities for coping with these issues. But no matter how common this connection might be among us all, it always seems to be a shadow lurking beneath the surface. It’s an unspoken side effect of conscious thought and self-awareness. It’s something we’re still evolving inside of and trying to better understand how to make sense of it all, especially in the wake of this kind of tragedy.

For all the uncertainty in a time like this, though, the one thing we know for sure is that while Robin Williams may be gone and will be forever missed by his family, friends, and fans, the man leaves behind an incredible legacy of work that we will be able to enjoy forever. The breadth and versatility of work across all genres is truly astounding. The highlights are too many to list in totality, but just think about some of the memorable roles he has played, including Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire, Insomnia, One Hour Photo, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Moscow on the Hudson, Hook, Jack, Jumanji, The Birdcage, Toys, Death to Smoochy, Patch Adams, What Dreams May Come, and on and on and on.

Yet I think the two most memorable performances that I’ll always remember him for came off the big screen. The first was his unforgettable cameo in an episode of Louie. It showed us a slightly different side of Robin that we didn’t often get to see. It was a more subdued and introspective side of the man who always seemed to have the largest personality.

The other comes from the Nerdist youtube channel, in a series called “Set List: Stand-Up Without a Net”. In this series, comedians come to a tiny stage in the back of a comic book store, and they are given a series of prompts in which the comedians must form their set around on the fly. It tests some of the best stand ups to think on their toes and to showcase their improvisational abilities. Some of the comedians absolutely bomb. Some of them struggle right before our eyes to formulate their jokes in real time.

But when Robin Williams was on, he just nailed it out of the park. And he did it without breaking a sweat. I remember him more as an actor than as a stand-up, but this episode gave me an amazing glimpse at his true comedic genius at his core.

RIP Robin Williams, and thank you for all the laughs and all the memorable performances.

*****

Browns’ QB competition heats up

I’ve read some fairly compelling arguments for both Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel starting Week One for the Browns. But the one thing I keep coming back to is just how quickly this race seems to have shifted. Hoyer came into camp the overwhelming #1 guy, with the front office saying Hoyer was ahead of Manziel “by a substantial margin”.

Yet over the last couple days we’ve been hearing reports from within Browns camp that Manziel has now pulled ahead of Hoyer, reports which Browns coach Mike Pettine has denied. Yesterday in his MMQB column, SI’s Peter King quoted Browns safety Donte Whitner as saying the locker room is split 50-50 between Manziel and Hoyer.

Look, it doesn’t really matter who is “leading” right now. This isn’t a literal race. The only thing that matters is who will ultimately be the starting QB for the Browns week one in Pittsburgh. But what I find interesting is that this is even a race at all. I’ll be honest, I believed the Browns were going to go with Hoyer unless Manziel played so well as to leave them with no choice but to give Johnny the nod. So far, that hasn’t been the case. The two QBs seem more or less even. I thought that would be enough for Hoyer, but the more we see and hear, the more I think a tie just might go in Manziel’s favor.

Regardless of who the QB is, though, the Browns simply must find a way to score TDs. The offense’s red zone struggles have been a recurring theme of training camp, it was an issue in the intra-squad scrimmage, and in preseason game one, it once again manifested itself on the field. We’ve seen this story over and over again in the Browns’ post-’99 return. I remember two years ago making the dreary walk into Cleveland Browns Stadium (as it was known at the time) for yet another home loss, and someone behind me yelled out “It doesn’t get any better than this guys….getting drunk in the morning and then going to watch Phil Dawson kick field goals all afternoon!”.

This has been an issue for too long, and while I know better than to put too much stock into one preseason game, I am certainly alarmed that red zone offense has been such an issue all training camp long. There’s a lot of optimism around this Browns team, but if we’re going to be watching them kick a bunch of field goals all season long, we’re all in for another very long season.

*****

Are advanced stats negatively impacting my love of sports?

I was listening to a recent Bill Simmons podcast with author Chuck Klosterman, and they got to talking about the World Cup. Klosterman mentioned that he felt that one of the nice things about the World Cup is that it was one of the few times it was just about watching the sport. We weren’t talking about free agency, trades, collective bargaining, players likeness rights, power struggles, etc. Instead, we just enjoy the games themselves.

Then they also briefly mentioned that watching soccer is one of the few team sports where advanced stats aren’t a main talking point. They didn’t really expand on that thought, but it did get me to thinking.

First of all, I am not an anti-analytics guy. I bought Bill James and Jim Henzler’s book “Win Shares” in 2002 and it opened my eyes to seeing sports and statistics in a completely different light. I’ve been using analytics as a tool to help me better analyze basketball for years. So I don’t want anyone to think I’m saying analytics are in any way bad.

However, I do think they are affecting my enjoyment of talking about sports in a negative way. As metrics have become ever more prevalent in basketball, there has been a shift in the way people discuss the sport. Part of the fun in sports is debating the merits of players and teams, and to project how players and teams might match up. But now, if I make a qualitative assessment of a player on Twitter, I will inevitably get a couple responses from people citing a certain stat that they deem to be the end of the discussion. I have been proven wrong, and that’s that. There’s no room for discussion or debate, and it’s just not as much fun as it used to be.

Maybe that’s part of why I enjoy soccer so much these days. As FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine recently pointed out, analytics do indeed exist for soccer. But in general they are in their infancy and not fully realized yet. Soccer still exists as the one last adjective-based team sport. Announcers in soccer frequently refer to a player’s “quality” and use terms like “bravery”, “intention”, and “mindset” to describe what we see on the field. Even terms that are rooted in analytics such as “pace”, “touch”, and “possession” have a more qualitative than quantitative meaning in the lexicon of the sport.

I’m sure many statistical-minded people scoff at embracing a qualitative adjective-based approach to something that can be quantifiably measured, and they should be. Just like when someone can statistically demonstrate why my basketball opinion is flawed, they should tweet at me to tell me. They are not in the wrong. Enhancing and furthering our understanding of anything and everything in life is tantamount to the human experience.

My only point is that one side effect of all of this is that following sports from an analytical perspective is losing some of its fun. And some might suggest that I simply don’t follow the stats if I don’t like them and just watch the sports and enjoy them the way I want. But it’s not that easy. Willful ignorance isn’t something I’m particularly good at. If there’s a better way to understand something, you better believe I want to know it. When I make a basketball judgment, I want to feel confident that what my eyes are seeing can be backed up with the proper stats.

So I’m not saying advanced stats are bad or that I want them to go away. I just sometimes think sports were more fun to talk about and debate before we became overcome with all these stats.

*****

New Music of the Week

Finally, we end this Tuesday’s WWW with some music. They say laughter is the best medicine, and it’s pretty darn good. But for me, music has always been my best medicine. So while this WWW started on a somber note, I’m happy to end it with a new album that I have been enjoying quite a bit – The Gaslight Anthem’s new album “Get Hurt”.

This album is something of a departure for the band. I have a feeling a lot of people will dislike it. It’s not flashy, it’s not groundbreaking, it’s not doing anything special. It’s just simple, solid, dependable rock and roll music. And something about that just resonates with me. Similar to how chasing advanced stats can be exhausting and watching a sport for the age itself can be refreshing, I also feel that always chasing innovation and uniqueness in music can sometimes get exhausting and sometimes it’s nice to recharge the batteries with something simple and reliable. That’s what the Gaslight Anthem is for me, particularly on this album.

*****

That’s all for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week filled with laughter and joy!

 

Photo: the Browns’ QB competition just jumped up a notch

This is brilliant.

I mean, we’ve kind of been down this road before trying to turn a pitcher into a quarterback and the results were a little bit Weeden-ish. Then again, when you’ve got the focus and unemotional demeanor of Ivan Drago and a cannon to boot, it might just work. But, you know, he’s a little old at 28 years old. I guess we’ll just keep him with the Indians.

 

Kruger Questions Our Dedication: Training Camp Notes: 08.11.14

Gilbert Skrine

The Browns were back on the practice field Monday morning after an off day Sunday. The offense wore the orange winner’s jerseys for just the second time in camp, presumably for a competition won during Friday’s practice and not the preseason loss to the Lions.

The practice started and stayed outdoors, despite the rain that was heavy at certain points during practice. A security guard quipped that the previous two coaching staffs wouldn’t have even started outside. As Mike Pettine would say after practice, “sometimes it rains”. The staff wanted to see the team handle the less than ideal conditions.

As the team went through warm-ups and position drills at the beginning of practice the skies opened up. The majority of the media (myself included) were under the tents by the entrance to the facility waiting the period out before having to venture into the elements when the team gathered for 11-on-11 work. Veteran Paul Kruger ran back to the locker room for something and joked to the media huddled under the tents that if we were really dedicated, we’d be out in the rain looking for the best vantage point to watch. Fair enough Paul.

The rain slowed and eventually seemed to disappear, though the sun never made an appearance. [Read more...]

The importance of what Donte Whitner said about Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer

Manziel and Hoyer

Everyone’s talking about what Donte Whitner was quoted as saying to Peter King’s MMQB this morning. The quote was this.

“It’s been fierce,” Whitner said. “Two guys fighting for their lives. It’s close. I’d say [the locker room] is split about 50-50. We know they both can play.”

While I think a lot of the focus has been on the split within the team and the report cards comparing the two quarterbacks, what Whitner said last is most important to me. If Whitner’s accounting of team sentiment is accurate, then there’s legitimate belief in the locker room that the Browns have not one, but two quarterbacks who can actually play the position.

As I said on Sunday, I’m intrigued by Manziel’s performance and I can’t wait to see more. Maybe I’ll even get to see him with the first team this week on Monday Night Football. I welcome the opportunity to see it. In the end, with the way the Browns have set up their team this year, the quarterback looks to be helped by the running game and not vice versa.

That being the case, all I need is a guy who can perform somewhere close to the middle of the pack of NFL quarterbacks. I don’t need Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. I need something approximating Alex Smith, Carson Palmer or even Andy Dalton plus a great defense and running game.

It seems like Donte Whitner is saying the Browns’ locker room thinks they might have two guys capable of that.

[Related: Johnny Manziel ahead in QB race? I want to see more, but I’m patient]

Johnny Manziel ahead in QB race? I want to see more, but I’m patient

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Saturday night’s pre-season game against the Lions wasn’t really anything to write home about. The excitement over Browns football carried me through and I really only want to see the good things. I want to ignore the Browns giving up chunks of yardage to Matthew Stafford and the great field position they gave up on special teams. It’s a pre-season flaw most of us have. Because “it doesn’t mean anything,” we only derive what we’re pre-disposed to want to derive.

All that said, the real takeaway for me from the game is that I’m excited to see more of Johnny Manziel, but just like I was going into the game, I’m willing to wait a bit.

[Read more...]

Browns lose the GLC to the Lions 13-12

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The Browns and Lions battled in a low scoring game that ended with a late fourth quarter game-winning touchdown by the Lions. The final score is not as important as how the team actually played. The main focus of most fans and the team was on the battle for the starting quarterback position. Brian Hoyer started the game and had a solid first half, going 6 of 14 for 92 yards. He drove the offense down the field for two field goals. Johnny Manziel replaced Hoyer late in the second quarter and also a solid first game for the Browns. He completed 7 of 11 for 63 yards and ran 6 times for 27 yards. Manziel led the offense to one field goal in his four drives, excluding the one drive at the end of the second half where he took a knee. Both quarterbacks had their ups and downs during the game. They were both hurt by multiple drops from their receivers. Neither quarterback really stood out above the other, so the battle remains tight for the starting spot.

The second half was marred by bad offensive line play by the second string. They had trouble protecting the quarterbacks causing both Manziel and Tyler Thigpen to get hit on multiple occasions. The depth of the line is a major question going forward with the Browns. The team also struggled late in the fourth quarter finishing off the victory. The offense could not get the first down and subsequently gave the ball back to the Lions for their game-winning drive. On the last drive, the Browns defense was called for a lot of penalties including multiple fouls on Leon McFadden. It was not a pretty game late in the fourth quarter for the Browns.

All in all the team showed signs of improvement from last season including the running back depth. But, they also need to improve on multiple aspects like tackling and catching the ball. It is not good when the team cannot tackle on defense and catch the ball on offense. The Browns will look to build off this first performance and go into this week’s practices with the mindset of getting better. The Browns next game is a week from Monday versus the Washington Redskins on national television.

(Photo by: Joshua Gunter/ The Plain Dealer)

Johnny Manziel’s first action comes late… Browns vs. Lions Halftime Report

Manziel and Hoyer

Johnny Manziel’s career in the NFL started today… but only after Brian Hoyer was finished. The Cleveland Browns only put up six points in the first half of their pre-season game against the Lions, but that was good enough for a tie heading into the locker room.

The Browns moved the ball pretty well. Brian Hoyer was the first to get the call at quarterback for the Browns. He ended his night shortly into the second quarter completing six passes for 92 yards on 14 attempts. Hoyer struggled a bit with accuracy on some of his longer balls, but the Lions didn’t make him pay for his overthrowing ways. It was just an alright performance by Hoyer as everyone was really waiting for their first look at rookie Johnny Manziel.

When the rookie hit the field for the first time, the stadium came alive with anticipation. Johnny Manziel was streaking upward on the depth chart according to many who have been closely watching training camp. Yes, Brian Hoyer’s name is still a fixture in the number one slot, but it is the first real quarterback competition in Cleveland that I can remember. How did Johnny Manziel fare in his first chance?

Well, on third and one, Johnny Manziel ran head first into two defenders on a pistol option run. In fairness, Johnny completed his first pass in rhythm for six yards to Anthony Armstrong. For Armstrong it might be the moment he became an answer for a Johnny Manziel question on Jeopardy! For Manziel it was a very small amount of first-half action. Manziel wouldn’t get back under center for the Browns until there was under 20 seconds to go in the first half. With a single kneel, the Browns ended the first half.

The Browns defense looked very good in spurts. Barkevious Mingo showed up well. Donte Whitner got one of his signature “Hitner” hits in with a vicious shoulder. Desmond Bryant and Armonty Bryant were causing havoc, although not at the same time. Still, the Browns were a bit of “bend-don’t-break” for much of the first half. Even after Matthew Stafford gave way to Dan Orlovsky, the Browns weren’t exactly finishing as a defense. In the end, they only gave up a pair of field goals.

We’ll have much more on this game later, but that’s your halftime report.

Meanwhile, it’s tough to maintain perspective on Johnny Manziel. He’s already such a bigtime national figure.

WFNY Exclusive: G.L.C. Song 2014

This year’s Great Lakes Classic is happening tomorrow night and it’s a pre-season all about Johnny Football. My friend is the creator of the original GLC song and he gave me the newest iteration today.

Enjoy!

Preseason Game 1 Preview: Cleveland Browns v. Detroit Lions

GLC Barge

Rookies and a revamped offense: What we are watching during Week 1 of the NFL Preseason

Football in Cleveland is back and once again, the Browns have brought in a new regime. On Saturday, the Detroit Lions will host new Head Coach Mike Pettine and the new-look Cleveland Browns. Gone are Rob Chudzinski, Joe Banner, and the vertical passing game. In comes Kyle Shanahan and the zone run, play-action pass offense. Brandon Weeden, Willis McGahee, D’Qwell Jackson have been upgraded to Johnny Manziel, Ben Tate, and Karlos Dansby. Given the change in scheme and turnover in personnel at key positions, the preseason is of utmost importance.

[Read more...]

Manziel Runs with the Ones: Training Camp Notes 08.06.14

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Johnny Manziel took all the first team reps on Wednesday, even though after practice Mike Pettine announced that Brian Hoyer would start the first preseason game on Saturday against the Lions. During Manziel’s first 11-on-11 session, the team mostly worked the running game, but he did make a few throws including a big gainer to Andrew Hawkins. Manziel also led his unit to a score in 9-on-9 format, connecting again with Hawkins for a big gain on the drive.

Brian Hoyer didn’t exactly shine with the second unit on Wednesday as he threw an interception to end his 9-on-9 series when a low pass bounced off the receiver and landed in K’Waun Williams’ hands. Both quarterbacks were given two series at the end of practice to work an 11-on-11 red zone offense session. The only touchdown of the four series came on Manziel’s first series when he found tight end Jim Dray in the end zone. Hoyer had five completions and only one miss, but his throws were underneath and both drives stalled short of the end zone.

[Read more...]

Brian Hoyer to start Browns’ first preseason game under center

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By many accounts, rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel “won” training camp on Wednesday, but Brian Hoyer will be getting the start on Saturday when the Browns and Lions lock horns for the 2014 Great Lakes Classic.

Manziel’s playbook wrestling has him behind Hoyer for now, but this competition is far from over. The man they call Johnny Football has begun to earn more first-team reps in practice lately, and is not ruled out to be starting the second preseason game.

Browns head coach Mike Pettine is expected to name his starting quarterback before the team’s third preseason game, at home against the St. Louis Rams. Browns players have gone on record to say that they believe Hoyer will be under center, but Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau believes the No. 22 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft will get the nod.

For now, the Battle of the Barge will be up to the St. Ignatius product. WFNY will have more on Wednesday’s Training Camp later today.

(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)