CLEVELAND - Rex Grossman's arrival as presumably the third quarterback on the Browns' depth chart has created a buzz on the trade rumor market.
It's hard to believe the Browns would bury a former starter and an 11-year veteran third on depth chart, and it's hard to believe that Grossman is willing to be that low. With Johnny Manziel growing more comfortable in the offense each day, speculation has surfaced that the Browns might be willing to trade Brian Hoyer to the Houston Texans.
Texans coach Bill O'Brien worked with Hoyer when both were with the New England Patriots and is believed to like what Hoyer brings to the table. The trade also would make sense if the Browns were to get receiver Andre Johnson in return.
If nearly three weeks of training camp have proven anything, it's that the receiving corps is awful without Josh Gordon. If Gordon is suspended for a lengthy period of time for a substance-abuse violation, the offense could use a big-play receiver like Johnson.
Johnson threatened holding out because of what he perceives to be a lack of an upgrade on the roster after last season's 2-14 performance. The likely starting quarterback is journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Browns coach Mike Pettine has tried to silence all the trade conjecture.
"We're not going to comment on every story that's out there," Pettine said. "We made a move to strengthen our quarterback room, and then you get these stories coming out."
BETTER ATTITUDE: Linebacker Barkevious Mingo had a poor rookie year in 2013 by the standards of most, including his own. Mingo recorded 42 tackles (31 solos and 11 assists) and had five sacks (three coming in his first three appearances).
Mingo, the sixth overall draft pick, has shown a new attitude since camp opened. He seems to have made progress in an attempt to become a complete, three-down linebacker.
Mingo admits he hit a rookie wall last season. It got to the point where he struggled to get out of bed and go to practice.
THE PLAN: Pettine expects the starters to play most of the first half Monday against the Redskins. He has to be careful how to distribute playing time because the Browns will play five days later against the St. Louis Rams.
INJURY REPORT: Not practicing Wednesday were offensive lineman Paul McQuistan, receiver Nate Burleson, linebacker Darius Eubanks, cornerback Isaiah Trufant, Gordon, defensive back Josh Aubrey and defensive lineman Desmond Bryant. Defensive lineman Billy Winn returned to practice.
Cornerback Joe Haden was given the day off.
TASTY TREAT: Receiver Travis Benjamin was given the nickname "Rabbit" because of his skills at capturing rabbits with his bare hands. Asked what he did with them, Benjamin said, "Eat them. Kind of tender; almost like pork chops."
CAMPING OUT: Another average day on the offensive side. Hoyer hit Benjamin with a deep throw to start 11-on-11 drills, but the ball was dropped. Dropped passes have been the theme for what seems like a string of days. ... Grossman made his debut. He connected with Benjamin on a deep throw that hung in the air too long. ... It wouldn't be camp without a fight between center Alex Mack and defensive lineman Phil Taylor. The two tangled for a brief period. It ended after Taylor pulled off Mack's helmet. ... The last part of practice was devoted to the no-huddle offense. Pettine described it as "the future of the league." ... The players are off today. Friday is the final day fans can watch practice.