Locker room weighs in on quarterback situation

CLEVELAND – Apparently Donte Whitner has become a pollster.

The Browns safety told Peter King of “Sports Illustrated” that the locker room is 50/50 concerning which of the two quarterbacks should start the season. He stressed that the locker room isn’t divided.

No one knows how many players Whitner conferred with when making the assessment. Tight end Jordan Cameron said he wasn’t asked and added that from what he can tell everyone in the locker room will be on board no matter which of the two is named the starter.

“Divided might not be the right word,” Cameron said. “That has a negative connotation, and it’s not a negative thing. I can’t say. I’m one guy. If he (Whitner) says that, then that’s how he feels.”

Safety Tashaun Gipson agreed with Whitner’s assessment.

“At this point it is (50/50),” Gipson said. “Both of the guys bring their own element to the game. Johnny Manziel can do a lot of things with his feet versus the things (Brian) Hoyer can bring. Both of them are good quarterbacks, and I feel like we can win with both of them.”

MEETING OF MINDS: Manziel has had conversations with Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III about playing in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Shanahan coordinated the Redskins offense in both of Griffin’s two seasons, and he’s now working with Manziel.

Manziel and Griffin could start opposite each other when the Browns and Redskins meet Monday in Washington.

“Obviously another Heisman Trophy winner and a guy I got to know a bit through some Heisman functions,” Manziel said. “Obviously a big fan and a guy it’s going to be fun being out on the field with. He likes to extend plays with his legs, which is similar to what I do.”

SLOPPY TRACK: A heavy rain fell shortly after practice began Monday, but coach Mike Pettine never thought about moving the session indoors. Only the threat of lightning would have changed his mind.

Pettine made sure the ball remained wet.

“If it is raining (during a game), they’ll do a better job of (keeping the ball dry),” Pettine said. “It was kind of on purpose. Our offensive coaches wanted to see our guys throw a heavier ball to get used to it. It’s going to happen.”

HIGH PRAISE: Pettine spoke highly of second-year defensive lineman Armonty Bryant, who is having a good camp.

“Armonty has the chance to be a special pass rusher in this league. He makes it tough on offensive linemen where he can get through some cracks that some of the bigger guys can’t,” said Pettine, noting Bryant’s slim (6-4, 265) frame. “He’s very explosive with his hands.”

INJURY REPORT: Not practicing were offensive lineman Michael Bowie (shoulder), receiver Nate Burleson (hamstring), linebacker Darius Eubanks (shoulder), cornerback Justin Gilbert (groin), receiver Josh Gordon (abdominal), fullback MarQueis Gray (abdomen), offensive lineman Randall Harris (knee), linebacker Eric Martin (concussion), linebacker Keith Pough (ankle) and defensive lineman Billy Winn (abdomen).

CAMPING OUT: Cornerback Buster Skrine could be closing in on a starting job as Gilbert continues to miss valuable time. Skrine was strong in coverage Monday, intercepting a deep pass by Hoyer and breaking up a Hoyer pass to Andrew Hawkins on an out route In what has become a broken record, the defense won the daily challenge by stopping the offense from the 2 on two of three tries. Manziel opened with a touchdown pass to Charles Johnson. Hoyer then threw two incompletions There were several drops and situations where receivers fell because of the wet conditions Whitner continued his practice of giving a jersey to a fan. The Glenville High School (Cleveland) graduate has bonded well with fans in his first season of playing for his hometown team.