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Browns GM Ray Farmer on scouting QBs: 'We like keeping everybody in the dark'

Mar 24, 2014 -- 12:27pm

By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Grossi

ORLANDO, FL

There’s a method behind the seeming madness of the Browns’ scouting methods regarding the top quarterback prospects in the draft.

They didn’t interview them at the NFL Combine and they haven’t enthusiastically observed the pro days of Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles.

The method, General Manager Ray Farmer confessed, is secrecy of their ultimate intentions.

“The systems we’re using are really based on keeping everybody in the dark,” Farmer said Monday at NFL owners meetings. “I like the idea. You know, the more we tell everybody, the more we’re at a disadvantage I think we’ve put ourselves at.

“The fact that people are guessing as to where we’re located, where we’ve been and what we’re doing, is a good thing. It’s a good thing in a sense when you’re too visible about certain things, it becomes obvious, and the obvious is not good for us.”

Farmer did attend the pro day workouts of Bridgewater at Louisville and Bortles here at University of Central Florida. But coach Mike Pettine and coordinator Kyle Shanahan did not. And Farmer will not attend the pro day of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel on Thursday.

Farmer is old-school and is not swayed by a prospect’s rise or fall due to a pro day workout.

“There’s no more football being played,” Farmer said. “Their resumes are on tape. What these guys do when they play football is out there. You’ll see people drop and fall and go high and grow, yet there’s no football being played. So it’s interesting to me all the excitement being built playing the game in shorts.”

What positive can be gained simply by not attending?

"The positive is no one really knows what we’re doing. So keeping everybody guessing is the positive,” Farmer said.

“I went to a lot of games this fall. I went to a lot of practices this fall. I’ve seen these guys throw the ball, I’ve seen them perform in a lot of ways. So it’s not about watching them throw the ball, watching the ball come off their hands. A lot of those things have already been addressed.”

Farmer disagreed that Bridgewater’s reported poor performance was a case of him buckling under pressure. Bridgewater previously elected not to perform for teams at the NFL Combine in February.

“I don’t know if that pressure necessarily mounted for me, in the sense of what I see the guy do when the pressure of a football game is on him,” he said.

On other matters, Farmer:

* Said he is willing to use the “currency” of the team’s 10 draft picks to move up or down in the first round, and has sown the seeds of potential trades already. Famer emphasized that nothing could happen until the day of the draft, though.

* Gave a strong endorsement of incumbent quarterback Brian Hoyer and said he was not surprised by his 2-0 record as a starter last year before suffering a torn ACL.

“He was brought here for a purpose,” Farmer said. “We knew he was smart, we knew he was a gym rat, we knew he worked hard, we knew he could process, we knew he could put all the things in place, so I don’t know why it would be shocking when he got an opportunity to do those things, that he would do them.”

* Said he wants competition for Hoyer, but indicated it doesn’t necessarily have to come from an acquired veteran quarterback. Farmer also said the competing quarterback doesn’t have to be one taken in the first round.

* Dismissed the Twitter rumor that the Browns were considering trading Joe Haden and indicated a long-term pact for the cornerstone cornerback is imminent.

“We have no interest in getting rid of Joe Haden,” Farmer said. “I don’t want to get into the particulars, (but) we’re excited about keeping Joe here not only today and tomorrow but extended into the future.”

(Ed. note: We will have an exclusive separate interview with Farmer on Tuesday’s “Hey Tony” show on 850 WKNR from 6-7 p.m., in which he touches on other topics, including the future of center Alex Mack.)

 

 

Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com.

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hastage #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to tgrossi@espncleveland.com

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi

 

 

 

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