I made it out to Berea for the third time this year as the Cleveland Browns took the field for Day 10 of training camp. There were 3,477 fans in attendance, and today, the action was on Field 1 (the top left corner of the diagram, if you recall).
Unfortunately, I got there a little later this time -- around 8:40 AM -- and thus had to stand on the little curb against the fence for practice, anticipating that by the time thing's started, it would be the best view I could get. I was right, but it sure would've been nicer if I had been able to get there earlier (damn you, train, which slowed my arrival!). Let's get to what happened at the Browns' final public practice session before Saturday's preseason game against the Lions.
CLEVELAND BROWNS TRAINING CAMP REPORT - DAY 10 (8/6/14)
- QB Irony: Despite the fact that QB Johnny Manziel was with the first-team offense in practice (for just the second time this camp), after practice, head coach Mike Pettine said that QB Brian Hoyer will start Saturday's preseason opener against the Lions.
No matter how much spin the media wants to put on the quarterback situation, all of this seems to have been scripted ahead of time, just as Pettine said it would be -- Hoyer would start the first preseason game, and Manziel would get some work in with the first-teamers here and there. How did each quarterback perform during Wednesday's practice, though?
Dialing Practice Back a Bit: Based on the practice reports from the past few days, it has sounded like some exciting drills have been happening in Berea. Unfortunately, on Wednesday, it seemed like the overall vibe was...toned back a bit?
For example, the Browns dedicated a significant chunk of practice to doing offense-only (no linemen) hurry-up drills in slow motion. As bizarre as that sounds, it happened. Then, the Browns did 1:30 drills, but only with 7-on-7. Hell, I'd say it was practically a half-practice day for the offensive and defensive linemen.
The Best Manziel's Looked Yet: As I said earlier, I've been to three practices, and Wednesday was by far the best I've seen Manziel look. The biggest thing I noticed was that he actually stayed around the pocket and delivered some strong throws. A lot of the work he did involved handoffs and then passing off of a playaction. In fact, I don't know if I recall any pass plays of his that didn't involve a playaction (although the same seemed to be true for the other quarterbacks too).
Charting the 11-on-11s: The Browns did have a stretch in which they did 19 plays in 11-on-11 drills for the quarterbacks. 8 plays went to QB Johnny Manziel over two series, 8 plays went to QB Brian Hoyer over two series, and QB Tyler Thigpen got 3 plays over one series.
Browns During Manziel's 11-on-11s: Here is what the Browns did while QB Johnny Manziel was manning the first-team offense on Wednesday:
1. Off of a playaction fake, Manziel found a wide open WR Andrew Hawkins over the middle for about a 25-30 yard gain.
2. Handoff to RB Ben Tate.
3. Handoff to RB Terrance West, who showed some breakaway high-stepping down the left sideline.
4. Handoff to RB Terrance West. We've seen some practices go pass-heavy, but Wednesday's made up for it by having the running backs take on more carries.
1. FB MarQueis Gray was motioned from the backfield to an outside receiver spot on the left. Manziel handed the ball off to RB Ben Tate, who was able to take it up the left sideline because Gray had a smoldering block on his guy.
2. Handoff to RB Ben Tate.
3. With CB Justin Gilbert in coverage, off of a playaction fake, WR Marlon Moore caught about a 15-yard out/comeback route.
4. Hanoff to RB Terrance West.
Browns During Hoyer's 11-on-11s: Here is what the Browns did while QB Brian Hoyer was manning the second-team offense on Wednesday:
1. There was an immediate fumble between Hoyer and the center, who was later reported to be Jeremiah Warren. The Browns' backup centers will be a disaster against the Lions, based on how things have gone in practice.
2. Handoff to RB Edwin Baker.
3. Handoff to a running back.
4. Off of a playaction fake, Hoyer threw a quick pass to (it looked like) FB Ray Agnew. The ball went off Agnew's hands, but was probably a tad tough to recognize.
5. Hoyer dropped back and heaved a bomb down the left sideline to WR Anthony Armstrong, who appeared to have separation. I don't know if it was a tad overthrown or if Armstrong just missed it, but his diving attempt came up short.
1. Off of a playaction fake, Hoyer zipped a pass right over the middle to WR Miles Austin, who showed good body positioning in a crowd.
2. Handoff to RB Dion Lewis.
3. Handoff to somebody at running back.
Browns During Thigpen's 11-on-11s: Here is what the Browns did while QB Tyler Thigpen was manning the third-team offense on Wednesday:
1. Handoff to RB Dion Lewis, who put on some very shifty moves (and some nostalgia) in a drill where the defense still can't really tackle.
2. Thigpen dumped the ball short to RB Edwin Baker, but if this had been a game, the oncoming defender would have probably just blasted Baker.
3. There was a bad exchange and the defense ended up with the ball.
Unusual Two-Minute Drills: With 1:30 and some timeouts to work with, the first- and second-team offenses tried to lead their units down the field for touchdowns. I don't think I've ever seen this drill done to such depth in 7-on-7 drills, though, which made the action less exciting.
Manziel completed a nice pass to WR Andrew Hawkins for a 25-yard pass down the left sideline as time was winding down. He later scored on a quarterback sneak, which is kind of a copout when no defensive linemen are there.
Hoyer's first two attempts in the two-minute drill fell incomplete, and the third was tipped by CB Pierre Desir and intercepted by CB K'waun Williams. When Hoyer works with the second-team offense, you can just see the array of issues that come up, compared to when he's with the first-team offense.
Special Teams Notes: The Browns had a scheduled day off for WR Travis Benjamin, the team's prolific return man. When the Browns had the ball shooting out of the JUGGS machine at the start of practice, veteran S Jim Leonhard looked very comfortable fielding them. Players who dropped at least one punt include CB Aaron Berry, WR Anthony Armstrong, RB Edwin Baker, and CB Royce Adams.
I got to see K Billy Cundiff try some field goals for the first time this camp. On the first one, he sent it through the uprights and the camera man on top of the Browns' administration building actually caught the kick with one-arm. A few attempts later, the Browns tried rushing Cundiff and company onto the field, presumably to get the kick off quickly. Cundiff banged the kick off the left upright, though, and it was no good.
Camp Chatter from the Fans: I always try to listen for the logical or absurd "camp chatter" from opposing fans around me. Here is a sample:
(1) Despite being crowded, the fans were very quiet right when practice started. You couldn't hear any fans holding a conversation. The quarterbacks were busy working with running backs, either via handoffs or pitches. The silence broke one time when QB Johnny Manziel was under center. "Let's go Johnny..." and then Manziel pitched the ball to RB Ben Tate, followed by, "there it is!" from the fan. He was likely mocking the hype that Manziel gets at times.
(2) Another sarcastic remark -- QB Brian Hoyer throws a quick pass to the flat, to the reaction of, "Come on, Hoyer...(after the throw)...yep, that's a touchdown, all day. To Josh Gordon, maybe he's right.
(3) One group of fans was pondering whether the Browns would have a Top 10 fantasy defense in 2014. One member of the group confidently said, "no doubt." Well, alright then.
- Injury Report: WR Travis Benjamin (rest), TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder), OL Reid Fragel (lower leg), OL Randall Harris (knee), OL Nick McDonald (wrist), and ILB Darius Eubanks (shoulder) did not practice. LT Joe Thomas had a scheduled day off. ILB Tank Carder returned, as did TE Jim Dray. C Alex Parsons might have suffered a knee injury.
- Brownies: The Browns worked on some basic screen passes (offense only). ... WR Jonathan Krause seemed to drop a pass or two during simple pitch-and-catch drills. ... WR Charles Johnson had a couple of catches and again seemed to be a little more prevalent that WR Willie Snead. ... CB Buster Skrine made a nice play in 7-on-7 drills to prevent WR Josh Gordon from making a catch.
The orange jerseys went to the defense again after winning a best-of-five 11-on-11 red zone drill. ... For the orange jerseys, QB Brian Hoyer did not get a touchdown in two attempts, while QB Johnny Manziel got one touchdown to TE Jim Dray. To end practice, Manziel tried to hit Dray again (which would have tied the orange jersey competiton up), but ILB Chris Kirksey broke up the pass. ... It was impossible to tell who started it, but a scuffle broke out briefly at camp.
The Browns will practice Thursday, but only in front of the media; camp is closed to the public as they try to prepare for the preseason opener against the Lions.
Link Collection / Training Camp Sources
- Browns name Brian Hoyer starting QB vs. Lions (Jones, Browns.com)
- Hoyer gets start in Detroit, but Manziel's momentum keeps rolling (Grossi, ESPN Cleveland)
- 2014 Browns training camp snapshot: Day 10 (Ulrich, Akron Beacon Journal)
Manziel Runs with the Ones (Grayshock, Waiting for Next Year)
Manziel Building Momentum On Day 10 Of Camp (Ruiter, 92.3 the Fan)
Cameron remains sidelined, starters to play longer Saturday (Reed, Plain Dealer)
- Gipson excited to play Saturday after avoiding serious knee injury (Petrak, Chronicle-Telegram)
- Browns Camp Report: Day 10 (McManamon, ESPN)