By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Notes, quotes and observations from Browns training camp Day 12 …
* The Whitner survey: Following the game in Detroit, safety Donte Whitner told Peter King of themmqb.com this about the competition between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel: “It’s been fierce. Two guys fighting for their lives. It’s close. I’d say (the locker room) is split about 50-50. We know they both can play.” So, naturally, the quarterbacks were asked about the comment on Monday. Manziel: “I don’t feel any rift like that or anything going on in the locker room. As far as my end, I think they see two guys coming out, playing football and competing, as well as everybody else competing. Quarterback is just the one that gets a lot of flash and attention. I don’t really know if there’s an exact split like that. I know two guys are going out, competing and trying to move the ball down the field for this offense.” Hoyer: “I’m not concerned about that. For me, I’m always going out there trying to prove to those guys that I am the guy. Those decisions are over my head. In the same respect, you always want to go out and earn your teammates’ respect. I did a little of that last year and now I’m just trying to build that back up this year.” After a follow-up, Hoyer said: “I think everybody has their own opinions. He’s going against us every day, so he can form any opinion he likes. But it’s not a concern to me. All I’m concerned about is being the best quarterback I can be.” Tight end Jordan Cameron said to characterize the locker room as “divided,” would be wrong because “it has a negative connotation.” “I don’t worry about what other players feel about the competition,” Cameron said. “Whoever’s the best player is going to play and that’s all that really matters. There’s nothing else to say about it.” Fair enough.
* Slip-sliding away: As rain intensified early in practice, coach Mike Pettine elected to keep the team outdoors. They got in the full practice, which was scheduled to be about 45 minutes shorter than normal, anyways. But it looked like a sloppy day of work with receivers slipping and falling and balls thrown by both quarterbacks squirting off the mark. Pettine found a positive in the practice, however. “I think (playing with a wet ball) takes a little getting used to. In a game situation, if it is raining, I think they’d do a better job. It was kind of on purpose. Our offensive coaches wanted to see our guys throw a wet ball, a heavier ball. It’s going to happen.” The conditions raised the issue of playing in Cleveland in December games with Manziel. “It’ll be different,” he said. “It’s an adjustment. I haven’t been in the north very much. I haven’t played a lot of football in the cold. It’s a part of adjusting to the game.” I asked Manziel the northernmost game he’s ever played in. “Probably Missouri,” he responded.
* The myth of Hoyer’s mobility concerns: Any quarterback will pale in comparison to the quick feet of Manziel, but concerns about Hoyer’s mobility, especially after ACL surgery in October, had to be quelled in the Detroit game. The best play by either quarterback went for an incompletion because of a drop by Miles Austin. But seeing Hoyer run a bootleg to the backside (left) and put the ball on the money on a deep sideline out had to be reassuring to Hoyer and the coaches. “I feel great,” he said. “I love that part of this offense. For me, it’s something I did a lot in college, so I’m really familiar with it. It felt good. It is important to this offense.” Hoyer said moving left for a right-handed quarterback usually is a tougher throw, “but I actually think sometimes it can be your best throw because you have to get your shoulders square and get something into it … I’m not really worried about my lack of mobility.”
* Shout-out: Second-year cornerback Leon McFadden suffered two defensive holding calls in the fourth quarter in Detroit, which were the result of the NFL’s assertive crackdown on defensive backs – at least in the preseason. On one of them, McFadden’s interception was nullified by the penalty. Pettine shouted out McFadden, saying, “He competed and was challenging receivers. I thought the interception he made was a heckuva play. I thought that call could have gone either way. We don’t want our guys to back down from competing. Sometimes as a security blanket, they just put their hand out late in the play at the top of the route and that’s something the NFL apparently wants out of the game, so we’re going to have to adjust to it.”
* Brownie bits: Tight end Jordan Cameron (shoulder) returned to practice but was restricted from contact. He is expected to play Monday night v. Washington … Cornerback Justin Gilbert (groin) still was not ready to work, but Pettine indicated he should be ready for the Redskins game … Other notables not practicing were receiver Josh Gordon (abdominal), tight end MarQueis Gray (abdominal), receiver Nate Burleson (hamstring) and left tackle Joe Thomas (yet another day of rest, his fourth in 12 practices) … Cornerback Buster Skrine had a big day in the rain, with two breakups and one interception.
|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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