By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Updated at 3:44 p.m.
Notes, quotes and observations from Browns OTA practice …
Gordon update: It wasn’t a great day for Browns receivers, who mostly struggled with being on the same page with the quarterbacks. Except for Josh Gordon, of course, who stands out in any group, much less this one, plucking balls out of the air no matter which quarterback is throwing them.
As the imaginary clock keeps ticking on a possible league suspension, Gordon had a traffic violation on Memorial Weekend that resulted in a passenger admitting to possession of marijuana. Yet on the field, you’d never know how Gordon’s eventual fate may be weighing on him.
“I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t. It would be human nature,” said Mike Pettine.
The Browns coach said he had no complaints about Gordon’s work ethic.
“He comes out and works hard, puts in a day’s work, (is) solid in the classroom. When he’s in the building, he’s been solid,” he said.
“It’s not the first guy in the league to be like that where when he’s in the building he’s great and has some issues, for whatever reason due to circumstances, when he’s out of the building. I’m not a stranger to situations like that and I don’t think the rest of the staff is either.”
In the context of a question about whether the NFL does enough to help players with drug problems, Pettine said, “I think there’s a lot of help available. I think the mandated programs for rookies are very important. I’ve sat in some of those meetings. It’s very impressive. But there has to be a willingness on the other side. Sometimes (they) get the message and it’s too late. In all my time in the league, there’s always going to be a handful of guys that just don’t get it.”
Pettine admitted there is frustration about not knowing Gordon’s status.
“At this point there is nothing to act on. It’s a difficult thing. But until anything happens, we have a plan in place for all eventualities. But like everybody else, we’re still in a holding pattern,” Pettine said.
Johnny Football: Johnny Manziel was intercepted on at least two occasions on conventional throws from the pocket – once by Donte Whitner on a throw over the middle and once by Joe Haden who stepped in front of Kenny Shaw on a sideline route. But later in the practice, Manziel took advantage of some designed throws on the run that brought out the best in him.
On one, Manziel bootlegged to the right, stopped and planted, and threw back across the field to tight end Jordan Cameron breaking down the left sideline. It was right on the mark and must have covered 40 yards in the air.
"It was pretty sweet, huh?" said receiver Nate Burleson. "I like to see Johnny make big plays. When a quarterback gets in a rhythm and gets a little confidence, chest sticks out a little more, and they play better. When he gets in a rhythm, he’s a special athlete."
Manziel’s play was impressive. But so was the coverage downfield by 330-pound nose tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, who stayed with Cameron but couldn’t defend the ball.
“The first thing I asked was what the hell coverage we were we in,” Pettine said with a laugh. “I thought (Jim) O’Neil (defensive coordinator) was messing with the defensive playbook, putting a nose tackle at free safety. I think (Kitchen) just sensed the play coming because we’ve been burned on it a couple times in practice. So he just latched on to him and started running. It was actually pretty funny.”
Quick hitters: Linebacker Karlos Dansby participated in all OTA drills for the first time this week. He had been tending to an undisclosed minor injury away from camp … Receiver Miles Austin did individual and position drills for the first time since joining the team last month, but was still held out of team drills … Cornerback Justin Gilbert was not active, but not because of the accidental kick to the knee he suffered last week. He practiced on Monday, he said, but was out Tuesday because of another undisclosed ailment … Guard Joel Bitonio limped off the field early in practice and had his left ankle and foot tended to. Bitonio then walked into the building with a trainer and did not return … It was a pretty good day for the secondary, but especially so for safety Jordan Poyer, who got his hands on several balls and eventually picked off Brian Hoyer … Pettine said he probably would remain cautious with Hoyer and keep him out of certain team drills at next week’s minicamp. “I just think from a risk-reward standpoint, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense to expose him at this point,” Pettine said ... Burleson said he expects to get the cast off his left arm this week and is on schedule to be full go for the start of training camp. He said the arm was not re-broken but the existing plate inside his arm needed to be re-set.
|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 hashtag #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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