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Browns Training Camp Day 14: Jimmy Haslam is asking questions

Aug 13, 2014 -- 2:13pm

By Tony Grossi |


Photo/ESPN Cleveland

Notes, quotes and observations from Browns training camp Day 14 …

* What’s up?: With balls skidding off receivers’ hands as the slow transition to the Kyle Shanahan offense drones on, sometimes the most interesting observations are away from the, um, action. On Wednesday, owner Jimmy Haslam walked onto the field and approached receiver Josh Gordon, who remained out of practice (abdominal) but watched from the sideline. Haslam talked to Gordon for about 10 minutes. The league heard Gordon's appeal of a probable suspension on Aug. 5.Then Haslam spent about 20 minutes chatting with coach Mike Pettine. Then Haslam spent another 10 minutes talking with GM Ray Farmer. These may be no more than routine updates for Haslam, who crams in as much “intel” from his football men as he can in his typical 24 hours around the team during the week. It just seemed that Haslam was making the rounds more than usual, and then he ended his time outside the facility with a five-minute chat with Peter John-Baptiste, the new VP of communication. Asked what the topic of conversation was with the owner, Pettine said, “Just talking about crazy Cleveland weather.”

* No-huddle offense or no-offense huddle?: For the first time other than in two-minute drill situations, the offense practiced a no-huddle period. Pettine sounded as if it were practiced for the benefit of the defense as much as – if not more so than -- the offense. “It’s something that we want to incorporate at some point. I think it’s always good to be able to change your tempo,” Pettine said. “It’s really the future of the league. So I think, defensively, we can’t see enough of that. In Buffalo, we were up-tempo all the time. Our guys got real used to it, so our guys weren’t fazed by it when we saw it during the regular season. That’s something you’ll see more of, especially leading up to the opener. I know Pittsburgh has talked of liking it, might increase it some more. It’s a league-wide trend. So it’s something we certainly have to be prepared for.” I asked if Shanahan’s system, which features extra-long play-calls, is conducive to a no-huddle format. “They weren’t lengthy in the no-huddle,” he said. “They get shortened down to a number and a word. They can get the guys lined up and they have code words to help with the snap count. You can’t do your whole offense that way, but I think in a given game plan you can pick a certain number of plays and go ahead and code-word and number them and run the no-huddle.”

* Daily QB update: Pettine had no firm answer on the starting quarterback for the Washington game. He said that starters in general would play “a half,” but previously indicated Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel would share that time behind the starting offensive line. For what it’s worth, Hoyer took all the snaps in team red-zone drill at the end of practice. Pettine was asked about “stories” that the addition of Rex Grossman might lead to a trade of Hoyer, possibly to Houston. For the first time all camp, Pettine showed a tad irritated. “’Stories’ is a good word to apply to that,” he said. “We’re not going to comment on every story that’s out there. We made a move to strengthen our quarterback room. I don’t want to get in the habit of commenting on all of them. I really addressed that situation yesterday.” On Tuesday, Pettine said “absolutely not,” when asked if the pickup of Grossman made Hoyer expendable.

* Brownie bits: Another not-so-good day for the receiving corps as a whole, except for Travis Benjamin, who made a lot of catches and proclaimed it afterwards his best day. (More on Benjamin Thursday morning on … Cornerback Justin Gilbert was back at work and spent a lot of time with the first team because Joe Haden enjoyed a day off … Defensive end Billy Winn got back in the swing in position drills … Two players not talked about too much received praise from Pettine as being “not flashy” but having good camps – safety Josh Aubrey and defensive lineman John Hughes. On Aubrey: “He’s a guy that we’re very pleased with his development.” On Hughes: “You look at his grade sheet and it’s all filled with pluses. All he does is his job. And he’s made some plays. He’s a guy that’s tough to block. Technically, he’s one of our better guys up front.” … Grossman, wearing No. 3, wasted no time in getting some reps on his first full day here. “It’s all stuff he’s run before. He’s very comfortable with it,” Pettine said.



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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