The Fast Lane

The Browns have still not signed their No. 1 draft pick. Is it time to worry? What about the latest on the quarterback competition? Lane Adkins has all the latest inside info, as the start of camp rapidly approaches.

- According to our guys in Berea, there is not a sense of urgency regarding the status of cornerback Justin Gilbert. Gilbert, the lone unsigned Browns draft selection caused a stir recently when he stated he didn't know whether he would be signed in time for training camp.

The Browns have been talking with the agent for Gilbert and a deal isn't as far off as the comment COULD lead you to believe. The slotting process basically leads the negotiation to an area of dollar value parameter and the nuts and bolts of the process is language and bonus value.

Gilbert's agent seeks everything he can achieve for his client and there has been resolution on some of these areas.

The Browns are very confident Gilbert will be signed, sealed and delivered prior to the players hitting the field in training camp.

- Speculation is team owner Jimmy Haslam doesn't care for the manner which rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has conducted himself during his free time.

While there is an element within the Browns organization that has reservations about Manziel's conduct, the Browns as an organization have not 'tore into his ass' about how he handles himself.

The Browns have noted to Manziel that being the public figure he is, people will seek to exploit him and he needs to be more aware of those surroundings.

Manziel has done a very good job in these early days as a member of the Cleveland Browns. The offensive staff is impressed with his work ethic and desire to achieve.

For now, the Browns hope Manziel will be a bit more responsive to the perception on weekends.

- When the Browns note that quarterback Brian Hoyer has a serious leg-up on Manziel for the starting role, they sincerely mean it and not as a negative toward Manziel.

Hoyer has done an exceptional job in his rehab for ACL surgery. The veteran is physically stronger and he is getting better distance and velocity on his throws. Hoyer endured a full-body workout plan to strengthen not only his injury, but also his body core to become stronger, quicker and faster. Early indications have been the workout regimen has provided the Cleveland native with a greater sense of confidence.

On the practice field, Hoyer has been the best quarterback in camp. Hoyer gets the ball out quicker, his accuracy has been better and those around him continue to buy into him on the field.

- The Browns decision to pick-up the fifth-year option on Phil Taylor came after extensive evaluation. Taylor was often rotated in and out of the line-up a season ago under the tutelage of then defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Horton's manner of rotating players in the attempt to keep them fresh didn't sit well with the starters.

Taylor is a player that needs and wants to stay on the field to gain that rhythm many athletes speak of when discussing playing the game. In speaking to Taylor and various members of the roster and front office, the new Browns staff determined that Taylor's play-value was good and the talk of discord about the methods of Horton were evident and detrimental.

- In discussing the new defensive scheme with a handful of players recently, I come away with the impression the roster is extremely happy with the changes in Cleveland. To a man, head coach Mike Pettine has kicked open the door and wants players — starting with the defensive linemen — to be aggressive and attack.

This was the initial philosophy players were told to expect a season ago, but was quickly reversed.

- Two veteran Browns on the defensive side of the ball tell us that rookie linebacker Christian Kirksey, defensive end Billy Winn and free safety Tashaun Gipson could make a huge impact on the Browns defense in 2014. Kirksey according to those voices should start, Winn has displayed the strength, speed and quickness to be a strong force at defensive end, while Gipson has spent significant time learning the new scheme.

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