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Browns Training Camp Day 15: Mike Pettine indicates opening QB starter will not be permanent

Aug 15, 2014 -- 2:57pm

By Tony Grossi |



Notes, quotes and observations from Browns training camp Day 15 …

* The way it is: Mike Pettine did little to explain his reasoning for starting Brian Hoyer ahead of Johnny Manziel in Washington in the pivotal last preseason game before naming his season starter. “Because that’s the decision we made,” he said. “We’re making our decisions based on the information we have, based on the body of work and that’s what we’re going to do. There were a lot of factors involved and that’s ultimately, when we hashed it out, the direction we went.” The coach reiterated his goal of both quarterbacks getting roughly equal reps with the No. 1 offensive line over the course of the first half. He believes the Redskins’ No. 1 defense will be on the field long enough for Manziel to get some reps against it. Pettine said despite how it looks, Manziel still has a chance to unseat Hoyer. He also intends to stick by his preferred timetable and name the season starter on Tuesday in the interest of “chemistry and continuity” in preparation for the Sept. 7 opener. “We’re looking for the total package, the quarterback who’s best suited to take the field and lead this team to a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s the bottom-line decision we have to make. There will be a lot of things that go into it,” Pettine said.

* The Not For Long league: Pettine declined to say he or his staff were disappointed that neither quarterback distanced himself from the other to make it an easy choice. (Some expected Hoyer to do that.) But, unless something changes their minds in the Washington game on Monday, you can tell there may not be consensus right now on the eventual starter because Pettine already started hedging on how “permanent” the job is. “I think quarterback is different from other positions, that you do want to make a commitment,” he said. “I don’t know if you can make  a permanent commitment. So much can change over the course of an NFL season. But I think that’s the one position where you probably have to have a little more patience than some others. As far as if a guy’s not performing to the level you think he can and not getting the results, then you would go ahead and make a move. So it’s somewhere in between. I don’t want whoever the starter is to feel ‘if I make one mistake, I’m out.’ But I also don’t want him to feel like ‘I’ve achieved something, that this is my team for the year.’”

Photo/ESPN Cleveland

* Challenge met, and passed on: Pettine accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge presented him by the Jets and Baltimore Ravens, his former teams, and had himself and 24 other team excecutives, coaches and players, including Manziel, subjected to a ceremonial ice bucket shower. The ice bucket challenge sweeping the nation creates awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease. Pettine made a point of saying former Ravens player and executive O.J. Brigance, who is stricken with ALS, is “an amazing person.” Pettine said the Browns will make “a sizable donation” to the ALS Association, which has raised more than $4 million in contributions since the challenge was started on July 29. Pettine then issued a challenge to the crew of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” to take the ice bucket plunge over the next 24 hours.

* Coach Gruden on hand: ESPN’s No. 1 announcing team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden arrived for the start of practice despite working the Jacksonville-Chicago game the night before. They will call Monday night’s game in FedEx Field and wanted to take a first-hand look at the Browns and talk to coaches on their way. Gruden travels with a small supply of visors with the inscription “FFCA,” on them. That stands for Fired Football Coaches of America, a coaches “think tank” established by Gruden in 2008 when the Glazer family fired him as coach of Tampa Bay after a 9-7 season and six years following a Buccaneers Super Bowl championship. Gruden spent a lot of time talking with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. Gruden’s coaching career started as a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee in 1986-87. The Haslam family is a long-time benefactor of the university.

* Brownie bits: Defensive end Desmond Bryant (wrist), receiver Josh Gordon (abdominal), receiver Nate Burleson (hamstrong) and cornerback Pierre Desir (undisclosed) did not practice … Pettine ruled out Bryant and Burleson from the Washington game, but not Gordon … Cornerback Buster Skrine left the practice with a thumb injury … Tight ends Jordan Cameron and MarQueis Gray had non-contact jerseys removed and will play v. Washington … Pettine said that while he hopes to identify most starting positions following the Washington game, he can see two competitions continuing – Justin Gilbert v. Skrine at the cornerback opposite Joe Haden, and inside linebacker Craig Robertson v. Chris Kirksey.


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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