Training camp is here, let's get to it --
- Per usual we see yet another QB story -- or lack of story about rookie QB Johnny Manziel. Yes, as has been noted for quite some time, the Browns do not like Manziel's off the field activities which keeps him in the public eye -- negatively that is.
The Browns have talked with Manziel and he has assured the organization that he will make every effort to improve the perception surrounding him. With training camp starting, Manziel as well as the rest of the team will not have the vast amount of free time to live the high life.
As for the Browns believing Manziel has regressed in on-field and other related activity, a member of the Browns tells theOBR, "Absolute horse-*****. He has done what was asked of him and more. His social life could be less of a focal point for all of us, but any talk of him regressing from the developmental stand-point is ridiculous and unwarranted.
We hear and see the stuff in the media and he (Manziel) has been told we don’t appreciate the negativity and people will attempt to create situations due to his popularity, he has to be careful and cognoscente to everything going on around himself.”
- We'll certainly hear from some within the peanut-gathering, otherwise known as 'some' within the media that Manziel's personal habits will keep him from being the starter -- well boys and girls, Manziel will not be the starter because he is not as good as QB Brian Hoyer at this time. Hoyer in camp sessions simply is the more ready player, he gets the ball out quicker and decisively......Manziel will push Hoyer.
- WR Josh Gordon will report to camp on Friday, will participate with the team and has been a model citizen since his DWI arrest. Gordon will not receive the number of reps normally dedicated for a starting WR due to his unknown status -- and he will be suspended with the duration in question, thus providing the opportunity to get reps for the youth of the roster.
As for Gordon's reported treatment, "Yes, we are very aware Josh (Gordon) has sought treatment and is showing the signs of a young man reaching out for help."
- Many eyes will be on the RBs in camp and there are plenty of them. At this point it comes down to this - Ben Tate was signed as a FA due to his familiarity of the scheme and talent.
Tate is going to have a difficult time holding off rookie Terrence West, as West has the Browns excited due to his ability to run with power, run to day-light mentality with speed/quickness and maybe as important, West maintains an attitude when running with the ball that you want to see.
While the focus is on Tate and West, RB’s Isaiah Crowell and Chris Ogbonnaya are on the radar.
“Isaiah has gotten overshadowed a bit due to Tate and West, but we see some very good things in him and believe he can play at this level. If he does what he is supposed to do, work hard, put in the time and keep everything positive, his chance will come,” a member of the Browns organization tells theOBR.
“He really fits very well into the scheme we are running. He (Ogbonnaya) runs well, has very good vision, is very capable out of the backfield, he is in this,” a member of the Browns organization tells theOBR.
Ask the Insiders Q&A
Gordon suspension "Up in the air"
As is might not get suspended or number of games?
LA - There just may a technicality issue involved with the Gordon violation which has drug this situation out and has kept the league, Rosenhaus and the players association in talks.
This thing definitely targets significant areas which the league was rather questionable, which could include misinformation and a player not failing a test.
It's no wonder this thing has drug on so long.
Which camp battles are you most intrigued with (aside from QB)?
LA - RB - Tate vs West. In OTA and mini-camp, West really looked good. He runs with authority, to day-light and is a load to bring down.
WR - OPEN. This position has serious youth with talent. It's difficult to depend on Austin, Burleson and Gordon for known reasons.
ILB - Kirksey vs Robertson. The Browns believe Kirksey can be special in this defensive scheme, but you have to do it on the field.
RG - Greco vs McQ vs Gilkey. Greco comes in as the starter, McQ was signed to provide experience, depth and starter potential, whereas Gilkey has impressed with better than anticipated agility while playing with a mean-streak.
Position battles will play a key role in training camp – Quotes on specific players.
“(Justin) Gilbert looked good in summer work, but it’s go time. He will have a battle on his hands with Buster (Skrine), as he has really come on and he has become confident in his game.”
“The job is Hoyer’s to lose. With all the hard work he has put in and the time spent learning the system and learning how to be a starting QB in this league, it’s hard to believe he won’t be the starter.”
“Coach Shanahan’s offense doesn’t necessarily have to have a standout WR, but you always would like to have one. These young guys will be put to the test early and we need veterans like (Nate) Burleson and (Miles) Austin to remain healthy contributing factors.”
"(Garrett) Gilkey and (John) Greco are going to have quite a battle for the starting RG starting spot. Greco comes in as the starter, but Gilkey is coming along well and ready to compete."
"If (Joel) Bitonio isn't starting at LG, all of us will be surprised, he has that type of talent."
"(Paul) McQuistan can play anywhere along the line and is likely to the backup at the guard spots. He'll compete with Bitonio, Greco and Gilkey though.'
"Not meant to slight anyone, but getting (Karlos) Dansby and (Donte) Whitner in here has helped change this locker room -- now guys say we are going to win."
"Phil Taylor is the happiest guy in Cleveland. He won't be stuck in that BS plan of that long-lost DC. That moth**** fuc**** works his ass off and he got fuc**** last year."
"Johnny (Manziel) is going to be a player, but as of today it's (Brian) Hoyer, all day, all night, all year."
"When you run into (Terrence) West it's like hitting a wall, that cat is solid and strong."
"The media keeps harping that we don't have any receivers, which is good -- that only means they have no fuc**** idea what has been going on in here."
"Alex (Mack) wanted paid and a true sense that he would go somewhere with a chance to win. He is where he belongs, we are going to win."
"(Josh) Gordon has some things to work out and has to look at those around him first. We got his back in here (locker room) and I think he is just now realizing that."
"Rumor is Gordon's potential suspension is up in the air."
"Like a couple of us told Manziel, the fun is over, now its time to work."
Notes Around the Browns
Plenty of questions remain as to the state of the Browns WR corps. Not only did the Browns ignore the position in the draft, they have remained silent on the trade and free agency front of late.
To say the Browns waltzed into the draft and simply ignored the WR position would appear to be correct, but that wasn't the case when the clock starting ticking.
The Browns were VERY interested in WR Brandin Cooks so much so that the front office discussed selecting him rather than CB Justin Gilbert (HC Pettine wanted Gilbert badly). Once the organization selected Gilbert, the Browns entertained the possibility to trade back up and select Cooks, but were unable to secure a deal.
As the draft progressed, the Browns inquired about dealing up for Davonte Adams but were not willing to deal a 2nd in the 2015 draft and their 3rd in 2014.
The impression around the league is the Browns are doing themselves a disservice in not addressing the perceived glaring need.
But, the Browns presently appear poised to enter training camp status-quo. The Browns also believe they can add a WR that can be productive in the scheme in camp if necessary.
The Browns staff has been impressed with WR's Miles Austin and Nate Burleson. The consensus feel is both veteran receivers have plenty to offer and will stabilize the perceived lack of talent and production projections in the offensive scheme.
Piggybacking on the two receivers, the Browns staff firmly believes Andrew Hawkins will be a well-known commodity in this offensive scheme which targets the slot often. Hawkins had been nearly uncoverable in Browns sessions during the early summer.
It's open-season at the WR position heading into training camp as OC Kyle Shanahan will heavily rotate and coach-up youth in camp, as the Browns staff has taken notice as to the development of Charles Johnson and and rehab of Travis Benjamin (ACL).
In talking to the Browns (we'll just generalize), the staff actually feels pretty good with the early work of the young receivers on the roster and believe situation isn't dire as many would led you to believe.
There is such confidence in Shanahan and his ability to generate offense without having true standouts at wide-out. The core belief around the Browns is -- run the ball effectively and the passing game will succeed.
The Browns offense will utilize an element of two TE sets, which Jordan Cameron will line-up in various spots, some of which are comparable to N.O. TE Jimmy Graham. The Browns view Cameron as a weapon which match-ups with safeties and LB's will have difficulty handling.
This Browns offense will show looks with Cameron, Dray and Gray on the field at the same time. Cameron generally off the line, with Dray playing the customary TE role, with Gray being a FB type look.
In practice sessions the Browns TE's displayed the ability to run to space, with Dray displaying surprising receiving skill.