The Cleveland Browns practiced in front of fans in Berea for the final time this year on Day 15 of training camp. This was the first time I have attended the "final" public training camp session of the year, and it's the fourth one I've been to in 2014, the most I've ever been to in a single year. It was a lighter crowd with 3,059 fans in attendance, and thankfully, the Browns actually practiced on the field with the best view -- the one right when you walk in!
The Browns began practice with their typical stretching and warm-up drills. After having gone to practice four times already now, those things get pretty old, and you learn that there aren't many significant observations to make from them as a fan. It's more of a waiting process until the 11-on-11's begin nearly an hour and a half into practice, which is what I will begin with in today's report.
CLEVELAND BROWNS TRAINING CAMP REPORT - DAY 15 (8/15/14)
- 11-on-11 w/ Manziel, Attempt 1: QB Johnny Manziel operated the first-team offense in camp today, and the word is that QB Brian Hoyer will be back with the ones during Saturday's closed-to-the-public session. Here is how Manziel's first drive went:
Play 1: Manziel rolled out, took his time, and then fired a short pass that looked to be picked off by the SS Donte Whitner. Somehow, it must have gone through Whitner and managed to stick to the body of WR Miles Austin for a completion. It was a pretty high-risk, low-reward throw to start off 11-on-11s.
Play 2: Manziel tried to connect with WR Marlon Moore, but the pass was thrown high and incomplete, with CB Justin Gilbert in on the coverage.
Play 3: Manziel found WR Travis Benjamin on a crossing route to his right for about a 15-20 yard completion.
Play 4: Handoff to a running back.
11-on-11 w/ Hoyer: Here is the quick rundown from QB Brian Hoyer's 11-on-11 drill. Note: Hoyer had two 11-on-11 drills, but I only took notes on the first one.
Play 1: After taking the snap, Hoyer dumped the ball off to RB Chris Ogbonnaya over the middle. Considering he didn't get any reps against the Lions, Ogbonnaya was getting quite a few during practice on Friday.
Play 2: There were a crowd of players standing in my way, but Hoyer threw an incomplete pass along the mid-left part of the field.
Play 3: Handoff to RB Dion Lewis.
Play 4: Handoff to another running back.
11-on-11 w/ Grossman: The photo of him was a bit misleading -- the guy has not ballooned out or anything in terms of size. Just from his warmup throws, I was immediately convinced that he was better than QB Tyler Thigpen, who was awful in the previous three practices I'd been to.
Grossman re-affirmed my position on his first play of 11-on-11 drills. Always known for loving the deep ball from his Chicago days, Grossman launched a bomb down the right sideline for WR Jonathan Krause, who caught it. Grossman had a couple more plays after that, but I didn't take notes on them. QB Connor Shaw was not getting any reps, so Grossman is getting work over him already.
11-on-11 w/ Manziel, Attempt 2: Here are my notes from the second 11-on-11 drive for QB Johnny Manziel:
Play 1: I couldn't tell if it was a miscommunication, or if WR Travis Benjamin just slipped trying to change direction. Benjamin ran upfield and started going right to left, but Manziel's throw was headed to the right as Benjamin stumbled. Incomplete.
Play 2: After a playaction fake, Manziel threw over the middle and a defender dropped what looked to be an interception that struck him right in the gut. Based on Twitter reports after practice, it sounds like the defender was FS Tashaun Gipson.
Play 3: Handoff to a running back.
Play 4: Manziel settles for dumping the ball in the right flat to FB MarQueis Gray.
Something About Manziel vs. Hoyer: Not only in the 11-on-11 drills, but for practice in general, I was pretty surprised out how much this stood out: QB Johnny Manziel would repeatedly throw the ball to the right side of the field, over and over again. I'm sure he did throw something to his left, but if he did, it wasn't often. QB Brian Hoyer favored the right side too, but had several throws to his left that I could recall.
Hoyer Lights it Up in 7-on-7 Drills: Evaluating 7-on-7 drills is obviously a bit tricky since there is no rush facing the quarterback, but a quarterback can still stand out if he has pinpoint accuracy, and that's exactly what QB Brian Hoyer delivered. In fact, he didn't miss a single pass during the drill, and that included a perfect bomb to WR Anthony Armstrong down the left sideline. If there was a time to queue up the "He's on Fire!" line, this would have been it.
Statistically not fab day for Manziel (2-6 in 7on7, Hoyer 6-6, etc), but most impressive I've seen him re reads. Went thru progressions well— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) August 15, 2014
Red Zone Drills: The Browns proceeded to do a couple of red zone drills, however they did it at the complete opposite end from where I was sitting. On top of that, as you can see from the lead photo to this article, players not participating stand in a line, which blocks the view. Therefore, it was near-impossible for me to tell what happened.
I do know that S Jordan Poyer supposedly came away with an interception off of a deflection on a pass by QB Brian Hoyer. Hoyer also fit a touchdown pass into a tight window for WR Andrew Hawkins. QB Johnny Manziel reportedly had another would-be interception dropped by S Tashaun Gipson.
1-Minute Offense: To end practice, the Browns did three series with the following set-up: begin with 0:58 on the clock, and the ball at your own 40 yard line. The score is tied 17-17. The goal for the offense was to score at least a field goal, while the goal for the defense was to prevent a score. Let's see how things turned out!
1-Minute Drill w/ Manziel, Attempt 1: Here's how things went for the first attempt for QB Johnny Manziel, play-by-play:
1st-and-10 @ OWN 40 - 0:58: Manziel threw a nice quick slant to WR Miles Austin. The ball was on target, but whoever the defender was either got his hand in there or distracted Austin, forcing the ball to bounce off him and incomplete.
2nd-and-10 @ OWN 40 - 0:54: Manziel completes a pass on the outside to WR Andrew Hawkins for a gain of 9 yards. He doesn't reach the sideline, so the clock keeps running.
3rd-and-1 @ OWN 49 - 0:35: Needing only a short gain to pick up the first, Manziel connects with WR Anthony Armstrong on the same play to pick up another 9 yards. A timeout is called after the play.
1st-and-10 @ OPP 42 - 0:21: Once again on a similar play, Manziel completes another pass on the outside, this time a tad deeper, to WR Anthony Armstrong for a gain of 16 yards, putting the Browns into field goal range.
1st-and-10 @ OPP 26 - 0:09: Manziel clocks the ball to stop time.
2nd-and-10 @ OPP 26 - 0:08: This was a screwup -- at first, I thought Manziel had fumbled the quarterback-center exchange. Then I saw the flag go up -- Manziel must have false-started and pulled out from center. The ball was marked five yards back.
2nd-and-15 @ OPP 31 - 0:08 - I couldn't tell who the receiver was, but Manziel got a quick hitter (OK, this pass was to his left) for a gain of 8 yards. Another timeout was taken.
3rd-and-7 @ OPP 23 - 0:02 - K Billy Cundiff drilled the 40-yard field goal right down the middle. They re-kicked it from the same spot right after that, so I'm guessing the defense iced the kicker. Cundiff's second attempt was still good, but was almost pushed wide right.
1-Minute Drill w/ Hoyer: Here's how things went for the only attempt for QB Brian Hoyer, play-by-play:
1st-and-10 @ OWN 40 - 0:58: Hoyer immediately fired a bubble screen pass out to the left to WR Charles Johnson. It only picked up two yards, which isn't good for a one-minute drill. However, since live-tackling isn't permitted, this is the type of play that perhaps a receiver could get more YAC in a real game. In this case, it eats up a lot of clock.
2nd-and-8 @ OWN 42 - 0:39: False start on somebody, moving the ball back five yards.
3rd-and-8 @ OWN 42 - 0:39: Hoyer goes to his right this time, again finding WR Charles Johnson. Johnson picks up 11 yards for a first down and also got out of bounds to save clock.
1st-and-10 @ OPP 47 - 0:33: Hoyer again goes for WR Charles Johnson, this time over the middle. He had a chance to catch it, but was also taking a tightly-contested shot from the defensive back, so the ball bounced away for an incompletion.
2nd-and-10 @ OPP 47 - 0:28: Hoyer dropped back and a pass rush started coming into his face. As he did, Hoyer began winding up to throw the ball away. The officials blew the whistle (to indicate a sack) right as the ball was being thrown out of bounds. Hoyer lobbied with the coaching staff and/or officials, and they end up giving him the throwaway (to stop the clock) instead of the sack.
3rd-and-10 @ OPP 47 - 0:21: Oh, you devil. Hoyer does the delayed inside handoff to RB Dion Lewis, who takes off up the middle and then down the right sideline for a gain of 26 yards. He also got out of bounds, and Hoyer's second-team offense was now in field goal range.
1st-and-10 @ OPP 21 - 0:12: This was a bit...bizarre. Hoyer clocked the ball despite time already being stopped. Maybe practicing the clock play was in the script, though (good to practice everything, right?).
2nd-and-10 @ OPP 21 - 0:11: K Billy Cundiff drilled the 38-yard field goal right down the pipe.
1-Minute Drill w/ Manziel, Attempt 2: Here's how things went for the second attempt for QB Johnny Manziel, play-by-play:
1st-and-10 @ OWN 40 - 0:58: Things start off good as Manziel hits WR Miles Austin for a 10-yard gain and a first down.
1st-and-10 @ MIDFIELD - 0:44: RB Ben Tate ran a route short up the middle, and then turned to his right. Tate stopped, but Manziel threw the ball as if he was going to continue his route to the outside. Incomplete.
2nd-and-10 @ MIDFIELD - 0:39: I can't tell whose name I wrote down, but I think it was WR Willie Snead. Anyway, Manziel completed the pass for a gain of four yards.
3rd-and-6 @ OPP 46 - 0:20: Manziel threw the ball toward the right sideline about 10-15 yards deep, and CB Justin Gilbert jumped the route -- it was one of those plays that could have been a pick six, but he couldn't hang on.
The horn sounded to end practice, and it looked like the offensive line was gesturing as if they wanted to continue the fourth-down play. At first, I didn't know why they stopped. After I got home, I realized that it might have been an end-of-the-first-half drill instead of an end-of-the-game drill. With 0:20 left on the clock at midfield, the call would be to punt.
- Injury Report: TE Jordan Cameron shedded the non-contact jersey on Friday and is expected to play against Washington. Players who missed practice included DE Desmond Bryant (wrist), WR Josh Gordon (abdominal), WR Nate Burleson (hamstring), and CB Pierre Desir (knee). CB Buster Skrine also left practice at some point with a thumb injury.
- Brownies: In drills where quarterbacks handed the ball off, QB Brian Hoyer ran a QB keeper on a rollout; as he reached the end zone, he jokingly flipped the ball at S Jim Leonhard. ... After disappearing for awhile, WR Anthony Armstrong had a much-needed good practice. ... ESPN's Jon Gruden attended practice. ... Former Browns OG Jason Pinkston watched practice. ... The Browns did the Ice Bucket Challenge to finish practice, including team president Alec Scheiner, who did his in a suit. ... The practice utilization of RB Dion Lewis today would make you think he still has a chance at making the roster. ... WR Travis Benjamin looked lightning fast on punt returns, even if the coverage units know not to hit him in practice.
Link Collection / Training Camp Sources
I consulted Twitter for a few verifications on minor details, but other than that, everything above is from my own personal notes today. Hope you guys enjoyed! There is one more training camp session (media only) on Saturday, which will be Day 16 of camp. I am happy to have been to 25% of the possible practices this year.