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Tuesday's Browns training camp observations

August 6, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



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  • A much needed offensive explosion for the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday. Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel were zipping footballs all over the field. For the first time, the defense actually looked winded from an array of consecutive completions. There was a sense of urgency from both Hoyer and Manziel. Neither quarterback threw an interception in team drills. Mental mistakes we saw last week were not very apparent, either. And, most notably, the playbook is opening up. Each quarterback had several throws of at least 30 yards. It was the most encouraging effort on offense we’ve seen since Day two of camp.
  • Linebacker Karlos Dansby made it known he wasn’t happy he wasn’t chosen for the Pro Bowl in 2013 with the Arizona Cardinals. It’s hard to argue against his case. Dansby’s statistics (122 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 19 passes defended) and the Cardinals 11-5 record warranted him to be there.
  • “I think it’s a joke man,” said Dansby, 32. “I’ve got to go out and earn my respect and I’m going to do it again this year.”
  • Read our profile on Dansby’s importance in the class room with the Browns.
  • The Browns released their first depth chart of the 2014 season on Tuesday.
  • “I did it because I had to do it,” said Pettine with a laugh about the depth chart.
  • Some notable things to address on the defensive side of the football: Even with limited training camp time because of a hamstring, Billy Winn is listed as the starting right defensive end. Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger are the starting outside linebackers and Buster Skrine is still holding onto the other outside cornerback spot opposite of Joe Haden.
  • Offensively, Josh Gordon and Miles Austin are listed as the starting receivers, with Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson as their primary backups. But we all know the rotations and reps in preseason games will be constant.
  • “[The depth chart is] very loose in our minds,” said Pettine. “I wouldn’t put a lot of credence in that. It will be very fluid and there will likely be changes after every week.”
  • One decision that might be agonizing for Ray Farmer and the coaching staff? Which third running back to keep behind Ben Tate and Terrance West. Undrafted rookie Isaiah Crowell ripped off the nicest run of the day and arguably has the highest ceiling amongst his competition. Edwin Baker still looks like the fastest running back on the outside edge. Chris Ogbannaya is by far the best at blocking. And we’ve written about how Dion Lewis’ unique style is benefitting him. Game action will be telling for this competitive quartet, probably more than any other position on the roster.
  • In year one of the Browns’ offense under Kyle Shanahan, MarQueis Gray is busy carving himself a significant role in the offense. Pettine told ClevelandBrowns.com a few months back that he’d like Gray to morph into a player like Dolphins tight end Charles Clay – a Swiss Army knife who can do everything. So far, the coaching staff has been pleased with Gray’s progression, and his move to fullback means he’ll be on the field for a large portion of the snaps. Watch for how many passing targets the 24-year-old sees his way on Saturday in Detroit.  

News and nuggets

  • The Browns and the rest of the NFL are still awaiting word on Josh Gordon’s suspension appeal.
  • “We don’t have an exact date,” said Pettine. “As frustrating as it is for Josh, I think he’s handled it well. He’s been practicing hard, giving good effort, finishing plays. Assuming if we don’t hear anything, then he’ll be out there Saturday.”
  • Tight ends Jordan Cameron and Jim Dray were held out of practice on Tuesday. There is still no word on whether Cameron (shoulder) will suit up against the Lions.
  • Safety Tashaun Gipson was also limited during team drills. Pettine expects his work load to increase tomorrow and anticipates Gipson playing in Detroit.
  • Michael Bowie, the versatile offensive lineman the Browns plucked from the waiver wire, is scheduled to go through his physical today. Multiple reports indicate the former Seattle Seahawk injured his shoulder which may require surgery.

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