Farmer: Browns approach won't change despite his suspension
BEREA, Ohio (AP) Even though he has been suspended for the first four weeks of the NFL's regular season, Browns general manager Ray Farmer said Friday his approach to building the roster during training camp and the regular season will not change.
''We will prepare the same way and keep the best 53 players,'' Farmer said after the second practice of training camp. ''We will go through and figure out who is available. No decision is made in a vacuum. Coaches and scouts have a say and we talk about what is best for the Browns. It is not just me sitting in a room.''
The league announced in March that Farmer would be suspended four games for texting during games, which violates NFL rules on electronic devices.
Farmer's cooperation with the NFL was mentioned earlier this week when NFL Commissioner Roger upheld a four-game suspension for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Goodell said Brady's decision to destroy a cellphone factored into his decision to keep the star's punishment in place for his role in using underinflated footballs in a playoff game last season.
Farmer said he turned over his cellphone to the league and that sending the texts was his own mistake.
''There was no ill-gotten intentions or to gain a competitive advantage,'' Farmer said. ''Those are the rules and because of that I will pay my penalty.''
The league said Farmer's punishment would have been more severe had he not cooperated.
Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine said there have been preliminary discussions about who will make personnel decisions during Farmer's absence, but Farmer was not ready to divulge those details.
''I'm very confident given the time of year - you are coming off a lot of the decisions already being made,'' Pettine said. ''Whether it is (executive chief of staff) Bill Kuharich, (vice president of player personnel) Morocco Brown or whatever we decide to do, I have full confidence in that group.''
About the only thing that Farmer hasn't thought about is how he will spend his four weeks away from the team. He will not be allowed to communicate with team officials or scout college teams in preparation for the draft. Right now his only focus is on improving the roster leading into the regular season.
''We are going to focus on controlling the line of scrimmage and then letting our skill show what level they are at,'' he said. ''We think our back end is really good on defense, and we think our offense skill is capable, as well. The pieces are in place for us to have success. We just have to go out and demonstrate that we can.''
On the field, Farmer said he has been impressed with Terrelle Pryor's switch to wide receiver. The former Ohio State standout, who is with his fifth NFL team, might be a long-shot to make the team, but Farmer thinks Pryor can make the transition.
Farmer pointed to other examples where a player who has been a quarterback earlier in his career has excelled at another position.
''The question is: Is he a good enough athlete and does he have the skillset to play receiver?'' Farmer said. ''I've seen him turn a broken play into a 90-yard touchdown run so I know he has the speed and he has the athleticism. You have to put two and two together and see if he can make the transition.''
Farmer has also been pleased with how Josh McCown has done at quarterback early on, along with Johnny Manziel showing more maturity in his second year. McCown, who was signed as a free agent in February, is expected to be the 23rd starting quarterback for the Browns since their return in 1999.
NOTES: WR/KR Marlon Moore practiced after missing Thursday due to illness. ... RB Glenn Winston (knee), LB Darius Eubanks (knee) and CB Charles Gaines (hamstring) missed practice for a second straight day. ... McCown showed some athleticism by scrambling out of the pocket. He also had the nicest pass of the day with a 50-yard completion to Dwayne Bowe on a fly route. .. Manziel bounced back after struggling on Thursday and completed four straight passes during seven-on-seven drills. . Saturday will mark the first practice in pads but Pettine said that Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas will have the day off.
AP NFL website: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL