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Manziel works with Browns starters for first time

August 4, 2014
Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Johnny Manziel took a planned trip up the depth chart.

The Browns' rookie quarterback spent practice taking snaps with Cleveland's starters for the first time at training camp on Monday, moving ahead of Brian Hoyer for at least one day.

Coach Mike Pettine said Manziel's promotion was simply the next step in the club's evaluation of the two quarterbacks, who are in their second full week of fighting it out to be the starter.

"It's just part of our plan," Pettine said. "We said we were going to allow the quarterbacks to compete, at some point you've got to mix up the supporting cast a little bit. It's all part of it."

Manziel had worked exclusively with Cleveland's second-string offense until Monday, when Hoyer was dropped back with the subs.

Pettine cautioned not to look deeper into the change and said there's still a strong chance Hoyer will start Saturday's exhibition opener against Detroit. Pettine said Manziel's performance in Saturday's scrimmage, where he made plays with his arm and legs, had no bearing on him practicing with the starters.

On his first play of 11-on-11 drills, Manziel completed a 40-yard pass to wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who came back to grab the underthrown ball. Moments later, Manziel's tipped pass intended for Josh Gordon was intercepted by safety Donte Whitner.

Manziel completed 6 of 17 passes during the practice, and Hoyer was 11 of 22.

After reviewing the tape, Pettine said both quarterbacks made progress during the Akron scrimmage, where Manziel showed some of the elusive scrambling ability which helped him win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman at Texas A&M.

Browns wide receiver Nate Burleson said the switch at quarterback didn't change things at practice.

"Maybe it's because I've been around," he said. "I've been on teams where we've had three quarterbacks in one season, so for us it's just show up and catch the ball. There's a height difference in the two, but as far as fundamentals, they both throw the ball the same. They're both making plays. We don't take notice. It's not, 'Hold on, wait, Johnny's in here.' It's just listen to the play, go out and be where we're supposed to be and make the play when the ball is coming to us."

Burleson said Manziel has improved during eight practice session.

"You can tell he's getting a lot more comfortable in the huddle, kind of spouting out the plays with ease," he said.

NOTES: Browns NT Phil Taylor practiced for the first time in camp. He had been sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained in the conditioning test. ... Browns Pro Bowl TE Jordan Cameron was held out with a shoulder injury. Pettine said Cameron has an AC joint issue but doesn't believe it's serious. ... Pettine said he doesn't see OG Jason Pinkston "coming back in the foreseeable future." Pinkston has made 24 starts over the past three years. He was hospitalized with a blood clot in his lung in 2012 and missed most of last season with an ankle injury.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

 
 

 

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