AKRON, Ohio — A week into training camp, the Cleveland Browns took to the field at the University Akron for 90 minutes or so of competivite, full-speed work in front of more than 20,000 fans.
It had everything but an offensive touchdown.
There’s still much work to be done.
A scrimmage of around 80 plays was split amongst three offensive and defensive groups and four quarterbacks, though Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel were the two everybody was watching. Hoyer and the first-team offense moved it at times and didn’t at others; Manziel kept plays alive with his feet, twice converting first downs on read-option keepers and throwing a 14-yard out to Willie Snead to convert a fourth down.
Manziel threw what should have been a touchdown to Charles Johnson that was dropped and also hit Gary Barnidge in the back of the end zone, but Barnidge was ruled out of bounds. Those came on Manziel’s second series; both the first and second units got full-field and red-zone opportunities.
"I don’t want to get in the habit of trying to evaluate (the quarterbacks) coming right off the field," Browns coach Mike Pettine said after the scrimmage. "I think it was pretty clear they both did some really good things and they both did some things they would want to take back. I think some of the completion percentages might be affected by they were forced to throw the ball away, as well."
The defense was very good, as it’s been throughout camp. Miles Austin was the most impressive receiver, with Snead — an undrafted rookie — getting and capitalizing on opportunities with both the first and second units.
Hoyer called it "an unscripted practice" more than a scrimmage, adding that the Browns didn’t have a play sheet or a script. Plays were radioed in from the sideline for the first time to the quarterbacks’ helmets.
"You’re kind of going through the process," Hoyer said of the scrimmage circumstances. "It’s good to get out here and do that. I think we got some good work in. Obviously, we have a long way to go."
Pettine said the full staff will meet Sunday to put together a plan for the week, which includes four consecutive practice days before the Browns travel to Detroit for their Aug. 9 preseason opener. The big question remains if and when Manziel will get his first chances to work with the No. 1 offense, which Pettine has said will happen at some point.
"We haven’t even talked about that yet," Manziel said.
For the first time in camp, Manziel has had back-to-back strong days. He reiterated what’s been the team’s stance, that nobody’s ahead and the work comes before any answer in the competition.
Jordan Cameron left the scrimmage early with a shoulder injury, but Pettine said it’s not thought to be serious. Josh Gordon was again absent as the Browns await a ruling on the status of his suspension and appeal.
Two defensive touchdowns were scored by the third team in the scrimmage following turnovers, once on a Zac Diles interception return and once with Jacobbi McDaniel picking up an interception that had been fumbled.
Maybe the most impressive athletic play of the scrimmage came on Hoyer’s final fourth down call when Barkevious Mingo came across the field to intercepted a ball batted into the air by John Hughes. Mingo, who was active all day, then took off on a long return.
Hoyer joked that he would have tackled Mingo if it wasn’t a scrimmage, to which Mingo later replied, "I would have dropped the shoulder."