It's back to football for Johnny
MAY 28, 2014 3:36p ET
BEREA, Ohio -- Even though much of the attention on Johnny Manziel was for his trip to Las Vegas last weekend, there were a few questions that were about his on-the-field actions in Berea on Wednesday.
For those watching OTAs, it appeared that Manziel had been promoted from third team to second team. Last week, Tyler Thigpen ran the 11-on-11 drills in place of Brian Hoyer when he sat out to avoid contact on his surgically repaired right knee. This week, Manziel was at the helm with the first team in the same team drills.
However, the coaches said not to read anything into it.
"They have a plan on how they're going to rotate those guys," Mike Pettine said after practice. "It makes it a little difficult with how we have to limit Brian (in team drills)."
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan also downplayed it.
"It's different every day," Shanahan said. "Today, Johnny had reps with the ones, two and the threes. Hoyer hasn't been cleared for everything, so we're mixing everybody around.
"There's not a ton of difference between the ones and two," he said. "There's a difference with the threes."
Last week, Pettine said that Manziel was inconsistent, but he said all rookies are inconsistent and he's coming along as expected.
"As I stated before, all rookies are inconsistent," Pettine said. "I haven't seen a rookie come in and bat 1.000 right out of the gate in all my time in the NFL. Until we really get in and break the tape down, I know we're going to be hard on him on the little things like footwork. I know getting out of the huddle, as is the case with a lot of other rookies, he's got a lot of stuff to clean up."
Manziel said he's taking his reps in stride.
"(I'm) just plugging in whenever they ask me to go," Manziel said. "Whatever group it is, I don't put any stock in it, never too high or never too low on that. I'm just trying to learn every day, learning from the mistakes I do make. I've been here a couple of weeks and have had five or six practices.
"I don't have it all figured out and am still learning as the days go on," he said. "I feel like them putting me in certain situations, there's another speed level there and I'm just getting a little accustomed to it, but I don't put any stock in it."
Manziel said every day is the same for him right now, but he does feel he's picking the nuances of the NFL game up thus far.
"Learning. Just learning every day," he said. "Studying the plays and trying to pick this stuff up. It's different than what I did in college. It's a little bit similar to what I did with coach (Mike) Sherman my first year, but it was three years ago, but it's different on top of that. I have a lot to learn, but it's different from college to the NFL level, so it really is hard for anyone to assess, but I think I'm getting better every day."
Shanahan said it is way too early to try and evaluate Hoyer and Manziel. He says the quarterback competition really won't start until training camp.
"I really don't try to assess them right now," Shanahan said." For (the rookies), right when they think it's getting easier, then they show up tomorrow morning we're going to throw a whole bunch of stuff at them. Right now, OTAs is all about getting your feet wet. There are going to be bad reps which are good reps, because you learn from bad reps. (We're) putting them through as much situations as you can and then they get away from here for a little bit in June, July and then come back for training camp and see what sticks.
"To me, that's when the true competition starts because it's a little fairer," he said. "They have a better idea of what's going on and a little more comfortable with not only calling the play, but actually looking in the right direction of where those people are. Right now, I think their heads are spinning as all rookies are and as a lot of the guys on our team are because we are a new (coaching) staff and it's our first year together. The vets have a little more experience."
Shanahan doesn't think Hoyer is losing any ground, not being able to fully take part in all of the practices.
"It's not necessarily about losing ground," Shanahan said. "We're throwing a lot at all of our positions. We evaluate everything, but I'm not day-to-day on anything. We have a lot of practices ahead and we'll evaluate everything to know who the best player to go with is."
Manziel said all of the right things when asked where he thought he stood in the mix at quarterback.
"I don't think there's any ranking right now," Manziel said. "Obviously, Brian has been here and has a good grip on the offense. I'm just coming in here, learning trial by error. I've only been here two weeks and I'm just trying to piece things together and it doesn't happen over night. There's a process and I think there's a lot of time left.
"We have more OTAs, minicamp and then training camp and there's a lot of time to improve and try to figure this thing out," he said. "I wouldn't put too much into everything. I think I speak for our entire team that were' all out here trying to figure this out."
Gordon Flashes: WR Josh Gordon isn't showing any signs of an impending suspension affecting his play on the field. Gordon is catching almost every ball thrown his way.
"He has been impressive," Pettine said. "Like I stated last week, until we hear otherwise, it's business as usual."
Reports have surfaced that the NFL will suspend Gordon for failing a substance abuse test and that Gordon's agent is appealing the possible suspension.
In the OTAs, Gordon has been a focal point of the offense as he's being used in multiple ways.
All Hands on Deck: Pettine said he expects every player on the roster to be ready for the start of training camp. He said he thinks WR Charles Johnson (ACL) and WR Travis Benjamin (ACL) will be ready, but they are the only two players he singled out as possibly not being ready for the start of camp in July. They could start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
"Anything I deem significant is miss the start of training camp and don't see that right now," Pettine said. "I anticipate (Johnson) and Travis both to be ready for the start of training camp. Those two are potentially the two that could start on PUP."
Pettine confirmed that Dansby has an unspecified injury.
"We're in the voluntary phase (of the offseason)," Pettine said. "He has something minor and is out of town. He should be back next week."
Bryant was on the sidelines last week. He had a heart ablation procedure during the offseason and it is believed the Browns are just easing him back.
Watching Wide Outs: WR Miles Austin and WR Nate Burleson were on the field but just watching. Austin wore a baseball cap for the second week during the time the media was allowed to watch. Burleson had a cast on his arm as he watched practice.
"(Austin's) getting closer every day," Pettine said. "We just want to take it slow with him. We don't have a game until September."
Joe's Break: OL Joe Thomas watched practice and OL Martin Wallace took his place with the first team during 11-on-11 scrimmages. Rookie Joel Bitonio was at left guard with OL Alex Mack at center, OL John Greco at right guard and OL Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle.
Bike Brigade: DL Ahtyba Rubin, WR Travis Benjamin, WR Charles Johnson, DB Jamoris Slaughter, RB Jourdan Brooks, LB Tank Carder, RB Dion Lewis, RB Isaiah Crowell, WR Taylor Gabriel and LB Eric Martin were on the stationary bikes during practice.
Gilbert Hurt: First round pick CB Justin Gilbert limped off the field with an apparent ankle injury. His lower leg was packed with ice after the injury.
"I don't think it's anything serious," Pettine said. "It was just a bag of ice."
DL Billy Winn also had to leave practice and had a bag of ice on his leg, as well.
Not Full at FB: After the release of FB Chris Pressley, the Browns have just two fullbacks listed on their roster in FB Chris Ogbonnaya and FB Ray Agnew. However, MarQueis Gray, who is listed as a tight end, has been taking reps at fullback. Ogbonnaya was listed as the fullback last year, but played more of a running back role.