Manziel works with first team
CLEVELAND – It may be significant, or it may prove to be nothing more than the usual changes that take place during training camp.
The fact that it happened on the Browns’ practice fields and involved quarterback Johnny Manziel made it seem more important.
For the first time since camp opened July 26, Manziel took all the repetitions with the first-team offense. Brian Hoyer, who had received all previous reps with the unit, worked with the second team.
Coach Mike Pettine said from the outset of camp that Manziel would eventually get an opportunity with the first team. It’s possible the two quarterbacks will switch time with the units later this week.
The interesting part of the decision to switch reps was that it was the first practice following a scrimmage last Saturday. Manziel showed improvement in the scrimmage after what had been a difficult opening week.
“We had talked about it beforehand,” Pettine said. “It was not the result of anything that happened in the scrimmage.”
Pettine surprisingly said he hasn’t decided on a starter for the preseason opener Saturday in Detroit. When camp opened he said it would likely be Hoyer, but now he plans on waiting to get more input from assistants before making the call.
“I would still say that is true,” Pettine said of Hoyer starting Saturday. “But I can’t say it’s 100 percent at this point. I would still say that there’s more than a reasonable chance he’ll be the starter against Detroit. I just want to confirm with (quarterbacks coach) Dowell (Loggains) and (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) to confirm it.”
MOVING UP: Rookie free agent receiver Willie Snead took a short pass on a seam route from Hoyer and went the distance in 11-on-11 drills. Snead has performed well and is making a case for a roster spot or a spot on the practice squad.
Snead feels that he couldn’t have picked a better place to try to earn a roster position.
“When they called me draft day, I knew what the situation was here,” Snead said. “I knew I could come here and make an immediate impact.”
Snead caught 106 passes for 1,516 yards and 15 touchdowns in earning first team All-MAC honors at Ball State last season.
INJURY REPORT: Defensive lineman Phil Taylor practiced for the first time this camp. Taylor had been nursing a minor hamstring injury. He’s not sure if he’ll play in the preseason opener. Tight end Jordan Cameron watched practice. Pettine indicated that the injury is minor but that he might error on the side of caution and sit Cameron in Detroit. Safety Tashaun Gipson was another sideline observer. He sprained a knee last Friday. Offensive lineman Reid Fragel went down Monday with an apparent leg injury. He walked off the field slowly under his own power.
FURTHER REVIEW: Pettine said Manziel’s back-corner pass to tight end Gary Barnidge in the scrimmage should have been a touchdown. The official call was that Barnidge didn’t get both feet inbounds, but a sideline photo showed that he indeed was inbounds.
ROSTER MOVES: The Browns waived receiver Chandler Jones, linebacker Edgar Jones, tight end James Oboh and offensive lineman Jason Pinkston. Pinkston has had problems with blood clots in his lungs and will likely retire.
Signed to the roster was defensive back Royce Adams, who was waived July 23. Adams played at St. Edward High School before transferring to Glenville in Cleveland. He was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Purdue by the New York Jets in 2012.
CAMPING OUT: Rookie cornerback Pierre Desir had a strong day, breaking up several passes. Desir has made a strong showing after what Pettine called a rough veteran minicamp in June. Pettine said that Desir (6-2, 206) may be the toughest cornerback for receivers trying to get off the line of scrimmage. … The story never seems to change as the defense again outplayed the offense. Safety Donte Whitner intercepted Manziel on a pass for Josh Gordon that was tipped by an underneath defender. … Quarterback Tyler Thigpen had a rough end to practice, having passes intercepted by T.J. Heath and Robert Nelson.