Day 3 of Cleveland Browns minicamp took place on Thursday, as players said goodbye to each other following the conclusion of practice. Our Day 3 minicamp report is below, derived from noteworthy news and nuggets from local media reports.
CLEVELAND BROWNS - DAY 3 MINICAMP RECAP (6/12/14)
- Not as Much Action: There were no brawls or major headlines on the final day of the team's three-day minicamp. According to ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi, practice was cut short by a half hour. More of the media reports seemed to focus on quotes from players and coaches after practice.
Brian Hoyer will be No. 1 on the depth chart heading into training camp and is "securely ahead" of QB Johnny Manziel at this point in time. Here's an interesting note from the NFL Network, though, and something that the rookie Manziel might not have picked up on yet:
Brian Hoyer asks Donte Whitner something about the defense, a look, a pressure EVERY day. Whitner said Manziel hasn't ever done that. Yet.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) June 12, 2014
The lead story by pretty much every local Browns reporter was Mike Pettine's comments on the quarterback competition. He confirmed that QB
- Praise Builds for Connor Shaw: When the praise comes, it comes in bunches. Today, undrafted rookie QB Connor Shaw was on the receiving end of the good publicity. Nobody is lumping him in the same category as Hoyer/Manziel, but it seems like he's getting the favorable reviews over QB Tyler Thigpen for the No. 3 job.
#browns undrafted free agent rookie I've been most impressed with: former SC quarterback Connor Shaw. Nice offseason.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) June 12, 2014
Shaw has become more comfortable making quick throws while not scampering around. The one good thing going forward about his mobility: he would be an excellent practice simulator of quarterbacks like Jake Locker, E.J. Manual and even to a degree Cam Newton – all on the Browns’ 2014 schedule.
- Playing it Safe With Top Players: The Browns didn't want to risk further injuries to many of their star players. RB Ben Tate did not participate in team drills during minicamp, and neither did WR Miles Austin or WR Nate Burleson. WR Josh Gordon continued sitting out on Thursday. The new addition to the list was TE Jordan Cameron, who participated in individuals drills, but not the 11-on-11 drills. Everybody is expected to be ready for training camp still, with the exception of possibly WR Travis Benjamin (coming off of a torn ACL).
- Confidence at the RB Position: When you look at RB Ben Tate, he definitely has one of the more...interesting demeanors I've seen among Browns players since 1999, and that should say something considering that he's only been here a few months. Tate has endeared himself to fans by engaging with them, but he also is not afraid to speak his mind and say things that are the opposite of what players typically say when they are "following the script."
When asked about the competition at running back this year, particularly RB Terrance West, Tate stated the following:
"There’s nobody in that room [of running backs] that scares me. I’m just honest. ... I’m not worried about that because I know when I’m on my game — I respect every running back here — but there’s no one that can really touch me or that’s close to what I do," Tate said. "So honestly, I mean I’m not worried really about that. I battled in and out every day with what some people consider the best running back in the league — Arian Foster. I’ve seen the best. I went against him every day. I battled it. So this around here to me is really not anything."It might come off a little arrogant, but I don't mind it. Tate played behind RB Arian Foster for years and yearned for a starting gig. Now, he hasn't even started a game with the Browns, and people are even questioning who the starter would be? I'd have a bit of a chip on my shoulder too.
- Brownies: OG Garrett Gilkey said that he will consider cutting his hair before training camp, after having it pulled in the fight with DT Phil Taylor the other day. ... LT Joe Thomas took part in team drills on Thursday after being idle in that department on Wednesday. ... Grossi noted that due to the small size (5-7) of DB Isaiah Trufant, he can "sneak into a passing window at the last moment, just like he did on a Brian Hoyer pass and almost picked it off." ... Mike Pettine said that he wants the league to make a decision on WR Josh Gordon soon, and certainly before training camp. ...
The Browns' rookies will stay in Berea for a little bit, but for all intents and purposes, training camp is the next major event on the agenda in late-July.