The Fast Lane

Tate had become an after-thought due to the immediate emergence of West, but the tide has begun to change. In drills, Tate has looked every bit of the young veteran that is determined to become a feature back in the NFL.

About the QB’s:

To date, the QB competition between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel hasn’t been close.

Hoyer has been making quicker reads and throwing a better ball throughout these early training camp sessions. The early results in camp are as they should be, with the veteran Hoyer with a leg-up on Manziel.

At times Manziel has struggled with his accuracy and consistency. Often you will see a young QB working through this type of issue and Manziel has been this. To see a young QB come back after making a couple ill-advised throws is what you want in the development process.

In 11-on-11 drills, Manziel accomplishes more than he does in 7-on-7 and individual drills. I believe we will see a better Manziel in game conditions, as he appears to thrive on the ‘game aspect’.

A concerning aspect regardless of the number on the back of the jersey are the mistakes (interceptions) each QB has made in 11-on-11 drills. The offense is well behind the defense in readiness, but is making strides. The expectation is the proficiency of the offensive unit will grow in the coming days due to gaining familiarity in the scheme.

The third-QB spot battle has an interesting look to it. In mini-camp sessions, rookie Connor Shaw looked better than veteran Tyler Thigpen and there was some chatter about the Browns having two rookie QB’s on the roster heading into the season.

In the early camp sessions, neither Shaw nor Thigpen has distinguished themselves as the leader for the role. Both battle inconsistency, Shaw in floating passes into coverage and Thigpen with touch and consistency.

About the RB’s:

Rookie Terrance West has been shining in Cleveland since landing on his feet running, going back to rookie camp, OTA sessions and mini-camp.

West runs with excellent vision, balance and power. The rookie is showing to be good out of the backfield in the passing game and is determined.

Ben Tate was a significant free agent acquisition of the Browns this past off-season. Tate hasn’t disappointed and has come to camp hungry and ultra-competitive.

When the pads go on and the hitting starts, the game can change quickly for an RB and that is quickly become evident in Browns camp.

Tate had become an after-thought due to the immediate emergence of West, but the tide has begun to change. In drills, Tate has looked every bit of the young veteran that is determined to become a feature back in the NFL.


- Chris Ogbonnaya and rookie Isaiah Crowell continue to look solid in practice sessions and could ultimately battle for the third RB role. The veteran Ogbonnaya’s skill-set is a nice fit in this Browns new offensive scheme, while Crowell continues to flash the vision, burst toughness he was known for at the collegiate level.

- The WR group continues to be quick rotating group, all in the effort to gain as many reps as possible to evaluate the unknown (not talking about the Austin’s, Burleson’s and Hawkins’ of the roster) at the position. At this time, Charles Johnson, Willie Snead and Taylor Gabriel have flashed on numerous occasions in camp.

- Rookie TE James Oboh from Towson is having an excellent camp. Oboh is displaying quickness and fluidness when in route, which has caught the eye of the staff.

- The change in defensive scheme is benefitting LB Craig Robertson. Robertson’s quickness is easy to note and the LB has been aggressive. Robertson’s stay as a starter next to veteran Karlos Dansby will be short-lived as rookie Christian Kirksey has been every bit as good, if not better and more explosive.

- LB Darius Eubanks is quietly having a good camp. Eubanks is displaying the ability to play the run and drop in coverage.

- CB Buster Skrine is having a good camp. Skrine and first round draft pick CB Justin Gilbert definitely bring out the best in one another in what has been a training camp battle to watch. With each passing session Gilbert’s skill-set stands out and in the end we will likely see Gilbert being the starter with Skrine being the slot/nickel CB.

- DB Jordan Poyer may not be the biggest and most athletic S, but the young man is the type of player that finds the ball and he has done as such in the camp setting.

- The Browns like an offensive line consisting of Thomas, Bitonio, Mack, Gilkey and Schwartz. A comfort level is developing with this offensive as they grow in the zone blocking scheme being implemented by line coach Andy Moeller.

- At times in practice sessions, OLB’s Bark Mingo and Jabaal Sheard display ability and aggressiveness to get to the pocket – the same to date cannot be said about OLB Paul Kruger. Mingo and Sheard are showing explosive qualities/potential, whereas Kruger is workmanlike.

- DT/NT Ahytba Rubin has been solid as a rock in the middle of the defense. Rubin has been nearly an immovable object in drills.

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