Pettine to make QB decision Tuesday
CLEVELAND – Northeast Ohio’s long wait could be nearing an end.
Browns coach Mike Pettine said after Friday’s practice that he’ll likely decide on the starting quarterback for the season opener on Tuesday. That will be an off day for the players following Monday night’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins.
“That should be the target date,” Pettine said. “Something unforeseen could come up. I do want to see if I can cut the quarterback questions down by about 90 percent after next week.”
Pettine announced Thursday that Brian Hoyer, who started the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, would start against the Redskins. Pettine was quick to point out that the plan is to also give Johnny Manziel time with the first unit, likely starting with the third possession. That will depend on how long most of the Redskins’ defensive starters remain on the field.
Pettine genuinely seems undecided at this late point in camp, which, he claims, doesn’t indicate poor play by either of the quarterbacks.
“They both started camp at a certain point, and they both have made improvement,” Pettine said. “I think they’ve both made big strides. I feel like we’re in a good position. We feel we have two quarterbacks that have started to have NFL-starting ability. That’s why it will be a difficult decision. I don’t see it as a disappointment that one hasn’t distinguished himself over the other.”
THAT’S COOL: Pettine, general manager Ray Farmer, President Alec Scheiner and several players accepted the challenge of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and participated in the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to increase awareness and raise money for ALS. Prior to having buckets of ice water dumped on their heads, Pettine dedicated the moment to former NFL player O.J. Brigance, a special teams contributor for the 2000 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Brigance was diagnosed with ALS in 2007.
After completing the challenge, Pettine issued a challenge to the Monday Night Football Crew, which was on hand for Friday’s practice. He singled out commentators Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden.
LONG TALK: Browns owner Jimmy Haslam attended practice for a second straight day. Gruden spent about one hour talking with Haslam before leaving about 15 minutes before the end of the session.
STAYING ACTIVE: Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown has attended several practices in his role as special advisor. Brown is normally outspoken, but he took the company line when commenting on the quarterback competition.
“I like their attitudes,” Brown said. “I like their skills; their skills are different. I think the coach is very fortunate to have two guys that if one doesn’t make it, the other one can.”
NO BIG DEAL: Chris Mortensen of “ESPN” reported Thursday that Manziel was late for a team meeting last Monday. Mortensen revealed in the same report that Manziel was among a group of rookies who misread the schedule that called for a meeting.
Pettine refused to comment at length, saying he prefers to keep those matters internal.
CAMPING OUT: Cornerback Buster Skrine injured a finger and wasn’t able to finish practice. Rookie cornerback Pierre Desir didn’t practice because of an injury Receivers Josh Gordon and Nate Burleson; defensive backs Isaiah Trufant and Aaron Berry; offensive lineman Paul McQuistan and defensive lineman Desmond Bryant worked out on stationary bikes Hoyer and Manziel may have had their best collective days since camp opened. Hoyer, working with the second team, connected with Charles Johnson on a deep fade. Both produced Billy Cundiff field goals in one-minute possessions that began from the 20 There’s still a competition at right guard between John Greco and Garrett Gilkey. Gilkey played with the first unit Friday.