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Browns Training Camp Day 8: Johnny Manziel gets reps with first team for the first time

Aug 04, 2014 -- 2:21pm

By Tony Grossi |



Updated at 4:20 p.m.

Notes, quotes and observations from Browns training camp Day 7 …

* There’s Johnny: The long-anticipated, much-ballyhooed appearance of Johnny Manziel with the No. 1 offense finally took place, causing network break-ins on day-time programming. (OK, that’s an exaggeration.) Manziel spent the entire practice behind the No. 1 offensive line – which really constitutes the first team offense because just about every other position on the unit is a mix-and-match situation. Coach Mike Pettine said this was the scheduled day for Manziel to get first-team reps, noting, “It was not the result of anything that happened in the scrimmage. It’s just part of our plan. If you’re going to allow the quarterbacks to compete, at some point you’ve got to mix up the supporting cast a little bit. It’s all part of it.” Pettine said that Brian Hoyer will be back with the first team at some point this week and the coach indicated that his original plans to start Hoyer in the preseason opener in Detroit on Saturday have not changed, though he is not ready to announce that. As for how Manziel did, Pettine stayed to his practice of refusing to give an instant analysis without reviewing the practice film. According to ESPNCleveland’s Jason Gibbs, who is charting all of Manziel’s throws in 7 on 7 and team drills, Manziel completed 9 of 23 passes with one interception.

* JG is back: In a bit of a surprise, receiver Josh Gordon returned from New York City in the morning and was able to get back on the practice field with teammates by the start of practice. It had been reported that Gordon’s appeals hearing of a possible league suspension would resume on Monday and Gordon would stay for it. But he received permission to leave the field at about 11:15 a.m. and joined a teleconference call inside the facility. The Browns had no vibe on the tone of the hearing. “Still part of the process,” Pettine said. “We’ve been patient so far. We’ve waited this long. Hopefully a resolution is coming soon.”

* Upon further review: Video review of the Manziel pass to tight end Gary Barnidge from the team scrimmage Saturday in Akron showed that Barnidge did get both feet inbounds with possession of the catch in the right corner of the end zone. So the offense did, in fact, find the end zone. That alone wasn’t the reason Pettine said he was “unconcerned” with the somewhat shaky performance of the offense. “It’s really our first time getting out there,” Pettine said. “Just inconsistent play. That’s tough on those guys when the whole playbook is available, not a gameplan situation. I’ve said before, defensively we present more looks than normal and I’ve seen it kind of retard the growth of an offense, so it takes a little bit while.” Pettine gave thumbs-up to both Hoyer and Manziel and reserved his most criticism for the running game. “I thought they’re still finding their way with it,” Pettine said. “For a lot of guys, it’s a different transition. A few runs got out, but the run defense was encouraging. The offensive guys came out of it knowing they’ve got to get better.”

* So long: Jason Pinkston texted ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he had reached an injury settlement with the Browns and would retire after a recurrence of blood clots in his lungs. At the end of the day, the Browns waived Pinkston.

* Comings and goings: Nose tackle Phil Taylor suited up for the first time since tweaking a hamstring injury in the conditioning test on July 25 … Offensive tackle Reid Fragel went down in a team drill clutching his knee and was carted off to the trainer’s room. There was no update immediately after practice … The Browns were waiting to examine Michael Bowie, an offensive lineman awarded off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks, before saying whether he would be on an injury list all season. Bowie was waived/injured because of a shoulder injury and is expected to need surgery. The Seahawks were hoping to return him to their injury list if he had gone unclaimed. Another of those puzzling roster gambles to save the 90th spot on a training camp roster ... Tight end Jordan Cameron (shoulder) and safety Tashaun Gipson (sprained knee) were kept out.

Brownie bits: Rookie cornerback Pierre Desir was all over the field on Monday. After getting beat on a Hoyer deep ball to Miles Austin, Desir never quit and poked the ball from the unsuspecting Austin before he reached the end zone; broke up another Hoyer deep ball intended for Jonathan Krause; disrupted a short throw for Anthony Armstrong; and then broke up a Hoyer lob in the end zone for Taylor Gabriel … Donte Whitner intercepted a Manziel pass tipped by Joe Haden … T.J. Heath and Robert Nelson had interceptions of Tyler Thigpen … Receiver Willie Snead, who had a good team scrimmage on Saturday, continued the momentum on Monday. Snead made a nice catch in the back of the end zone from Connor Shaw, and then hooked up with Hoyer for a quick-hitter down the right seam v. single coverage and took it home for a 70-plus yard touchdown ... The league is cracking down once again on the defense and emphasizing no contact from cornerbacks after the 5-yard bump zone. As a result, Pettine has his corners sometimes wearing boxing gloves to train to cover without using their hands on receivers (after the bump). Joe Haden said he wore them on Monday.


Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and

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

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi




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