By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Notes, quotes and observations from Browns team scrimmage on Day 7 …
* Keeping score: In front of a rapt audience of 20,673, in InfoCision Stadium, the bottom line on the Browns’ “unscripted” team scrimmage was the defense had two touchdowns and the offense had two field goals. The lasting image was linebacker Barkevious Mingo catching a Brian Hoyer pass tipped by star-of-the-game Jacobbi McDaniel – yes, that Jacobbi McDaniel -- and sprinting downfield, looking like he was auditioning for the offense. “He was hellbent on scoring,” said coach Mike Pettine. Mingo said, “My first instinct is to take it to the house. Had some guys coming on angles. Got a spin in there. Worked on my running back moves and eventually got tackled. It’s all fun and games.” As for McDaniel, an undrafted free agent from Florida State who has worked rather anonymously to most, but not the team, Mingo said, “The guy’s going to be a stud. He’s wreaking havoc on the line, getting his hands on balls. What more can you ask for?” McDaniel also scored a touchdown when he picked up the ball after a Craig Robertson interception of Connor Shaw. The other defensive touchdown came on a Pick 6 by linebacker Zac Diles after a tip of a Shaw pass. Billy Cundiff had field goals of 42 and 53 yards.
* Hoyer review: In three “racks” of plays in team drills starting from the 30-yard line, Hoyer completed 7 of 11 for 56 yards. He was “touch-sacked” on the very first play on a surprise blitz by safety Donte Whitner. He converted third downs on a 9-yard completion to emerging rookie free agent Willie Snead and one of 19 yards to Miles Austin. His first series died at the plus 44-yard line. Hoyer went three-and-out on his second rack ended after two first downs at the plus 35. The interception by Mingo occurred on a “red zone” rack that began at the plus 25 when Hoyer’s pass for a wide open Austin was tipped by McDaniel. “I’ve always learned you can’t throw it through ‘em,” Hoyer said. “I have one of the highest release points in the league. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes you have to find a window to throw around him. It was tough because I think he was pretty much wide open,” Hoyer said. At times it appeared Hoyer was frustrated with the play-call process. Pettine said the team didn’t use the game communication process and coordinator Kyle Shanahan voiced plays by walkie-talkie into the helmet earpieces. Hoyer downplayed it afterwards and generally proclaimed the day a good day of work. “It was an unscripted practice,” he said. “We didn’t have a call sheet. We just kind of went off the cuff. You want to see how people react. The other thing, we’ve got to always remember how good our defense is. It’s good to have them on our side of ball.”
* Manziel update: The numbers weren’t impressive for Johnny Manziel: 3 of 7 passing for 14 yards and runs of 9, 9 and 5 yards. After a shaky start, though, he showed that his legs will be the catalyst for plays he makes on the field. On his first play, Manziel appeared to turn the wrong way and had to throw the ball away to avoid a sack. On the second play, there was a false start. His first rack ended in a punt without a first down. His second rack was a prolonged series, 16 plays (counting three penalties), on which Manziel moved the team 63 yards before it died with a frantic completion to Tyler Gabriel that went for a 5-yard loss back to the 7. Everything seemed frantic for Manziel – his escapes from pressure, his designed runs, his few completions off sprint-outs or moving out of the pocket, after which he’d fire the ball through tight windows. Sometimes the receivers couldn’t hold on – Charles Johnson dropped a wicked fastball just inside the goal line from the 4. Sometimes they did – Gary Barnidge made a nice catch in the right corner but appeared not to get both feet in. A rare sight was Manziel in a conventional dropback; he did complete one of 14 yards to Snead from the pocket. “It’s clear to see,” Pettine said. “We did have some runs in for him that he did. You can see that’s going to be a strength of his.” Manziel admitted a comfort zone with the plays on the run and reiterated he is learning, well, on the run. “That’s really the story of my life right now, is I have to get better. Run the stuff, continue to get more familiar with every play in our offense. Days like today help.” Manziel said it’s “unfamiliar territory” just using the headset to receive play-calls. “We’re going quicker, making sure we have the right personnel, making sure we have the right amount in the huddle. Just running my team, the guys out on the field. That’s what I have to get better at,” he said.
Brownie bits: Tight end Jordan Cameron “banged” his shoulder on the first series and was removed as a precaution, said Pettine … Safety Tashaun Gipson will miss a few days of practice after a knee injury on Thursday. Pettine called the injury “relatively minor.” … Receiver Josh Gordon did not return from New York, where his appeals hearing will resume on Monday … Radar showed storms on the way, so the team scrimmage started a few minutes early. Pettine said the coaches were able to get in about 80 plays.
|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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