By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Notes, quotes and observations from Browns minicamp practice …
Cue the Jaws music: Months before the draft, ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said he wouldn’t take Johnny Manziel in the first three rounds. After Manziel’s pro day, Jaworski said he’d move him up to the third round.
On Wednesday, Jaworski watched Manziel from the sideline for the first time in person and softened his criticism – but predicted Manziel would not beat out Brian Hoyer for the Browns’ starting job.
“He won’t,” Jaworski said. “Because of Hoyer.”
“Johnny just needs experience. He had a two-year college career. I think these guys need to mature mentally and physically with more college reps. This is totally different. This is your life now. You compete against guys married and have kids and they compete like hell. The more experience you have I think the better chance you have of being successful at this level.”
Jaworski credited George Whitfield, Manziel’s pre-draft quarterback coach, with correcting some mechanical inconsistencies that Jaworski said were replete on his Texas A&M game film.
Jaworski said he is concerned with Manziel’s ability to survive the pounding in the NFL and to throw in the brutal weather in the AFC North in December. But his nod to Hoyer in this competition is mostly due to his appreciation of Hoyer’s ability and experience.
“It’s noticeable when you watch the offense when he’s running it or any of the other quarterbacks,” Jaworski said. “He’s a veteran quarterback. The machinations at the line of scrimmage, the understanding, the command, the calling of the plays – you can tell he’s a veteran quarterback.”
Jaworski also noted that Hoyer’s competitiveness will help him prevail.
“I hope he’s ticked off,” he said. “Whenever I talk to Tom Brady and I mention (his draft status) Pick 199, the chip comes out. That still ticks him off. I think that’s what Brian needs to have – ‘Hey, this is my team, my opportunity, and I’m not letting anyone take that job.’”
Clip and save: One way to incorporate Manziel into the pro game would be for coordinator Kyle Shanahan to create a special package of the offense to be used in conjunction with Hoyer as the starter.
I asked coach Mike Pettine if that conversation with Shanahan was already taking place.
“That conversation will occur, but it’s too early at this point,” Pettine said.
Jaworski said, “I think that’s what they’ll do. I think it’s a good thing to do.
“I think there are things you can do with packages now. With what we’re seeing in this league right now, defenses are getting quicker and faster. Defensive ends now look like safeties at 235 pounds. It’s all about speed and quickness. So a good way for offenses to match up is that same way and create a numbers advantage.”
A specific package for Manziel would no doubt incorporate the zone-read option plays that Shanahan created for Robert Griffin 3 as a rookie in Washington.
There has been a lot of work on the zone-read option the first two days of this minicamp with all four quarterbacks – not just Manziel.
Quick hitters: Receiver Josh Gordon rode the stationary bike and was a bystander at practice because of an undisclosed minor injury. Pettine said Gordon would also skip Thursday’s final practice … A pushing match between guard Garrett Gilkey and defensive tackle Phil Taylor escalated into a full-blown melee with punches thrown and landed by both players. Pettine said the fight was a byproduct of the competitiveness of his team. “As a coach, you frown on it. But at the same time you understand it might be the price of doing business,” Pettine said … Running back Terrance West became the third Browns’ draft pick to agree to contract terms … Mike Pettine Sr., the legendary Philadelphia-area high school coach and father of the Browns coach, watched Browns film in the morning and observed practice in the afternoon.
|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
Return to: Grossi Stories Blog