Browns make more cuts, moves
CLEVELAND – By the time you’re reading this, Rex Grossman might be back on the Browns’ roster.
The backup quarterback survived the final cut to the 53-player limit Saturday, but he was waived Sunday to make room for new arrivals. The way coach Mike Pettine describes the situation, Grossman could be on the next plane, train or automobile into town in the near future.
“As you know, 48 hours after the deadline there’s a lot of movement with the roster, so I wouldn’t read too much into where it stands right now,” Pettine said after a practice Sunday evening. “There are some guys who aren’t here who potentially could come back. There are some guys who are here who won’t be here. The roster situation right now is very fluid.”
For now the Browns are going with just starting quarterback Brian Hoyer and backup Johnny Manziel. Grossman was considered a good option as the third quarterback because of his familiarity with coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s system, and he still might be once player movement settles down.
Grossman was moved after the Browns were awarded running back Glenn Winston, who was waived by the San Francisco 49ers. Winston arrival gives the Browns four running backs, joining starter Ben Tate and rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell.
The Browns now have two young backs with checkered pasts. Crowell was dismissed from the University of Georgia after being arrested on weapons charges following his freshman season. Winston, who attended Michigan State, had a short career in East Lansing because off-the-field problems and served two short prison terms.
The presence of the two at this time indicates a need to have a competent backup in place for Tate, and it appears West isn’t the guy. West was inconsistent in the preseason and looks uncomfortable in the zone-blocking scheme deployed by Shanahan.
“We put him out there in some situations that we wanted to see him in,” Pettine said of West. “There were some times where he made plays, and then he made rookie mistakes some other times. I had a good meeting with Terrance today, just talking about the next step. We’re pleased with where Terrance is.”
The Browns were also awarded receiver LaRon Byrd off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys. Byrd spent the last two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, appearing in four games and catching one pass for 8 yards.
Byrd’s arrival made second-year receiver Charles Johnson expendable. Byrd brings good size (6-4, 220) to a position group that has tiny receivers in Travis Benjamin, Andrew Hawkins and Tyler Gabriel.
Adding Byrd to the receiving corps doesn’t address the question of experience. That’s a missing commodity, with just Miles Austin (ninth year) and Hawkins (fourth year) having played much in the past.
Despite the inexperience, the Browns decided to waive 11-year veteran Nate Burleson.
“It’s a business, and those decisions were out of our control,” Hoyer said. “We all know what this business is about and this time of year is always the most difficult because there are only so many spots.”
No one is probably more anxious for the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers than is Hoyer. His task now is to make the most out of what is a weak group of receivers and try to jump start the offense.
“I think that we did do some good things during the preseason,” said Hoyer, singling out the touchdown drive by the first team last Thursday against the Bears. “When you realize that, all you can go is up. We’re in position to get better week after week.”
ROSTER MOVES: In addition to Byrd and Winston, the Browns were awarded offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann (Seattle) and offensive lineman Ryan Seymour (San Francisco). Offensive lineman Karim Barton and offensive lineman Martin Wallace were waived.
INJURY NEWS: Cornerbacks Joe Haden (foot) and Buster Skrine (thumb) returned to practice Sunday. Pettine thinks Skrine, who had surgery, will be available against the Steelers.
PRACTICE SQUAD: Added to the squad were quarterback Connor Shaw, linebacker Keith Pough, offensive lineman James Brown, nose tackle Jacobbi McDaniel, tight end Emanuel Ogbuehi and linebacker Justin Staples.