BEREA—Mike Pettine said that Cameron Erving is going to have to earn a starting job on the offensive line.
The second first round pick in this year’s draft is expected to battle John Greco for the starting right guard position. Erving started with the second team on the first day of training camp.
“We feel the starting five from a year ago is a solid group,” Pettine said. “If Cam wants to break into that lineup, that’s not going to be handed to him. He is going to have to earn it.”
Pettine said he feels the Browns have depth on the offensive line and they need to find the backups. Andrew McDonald and Ryan Seymour were mixing in with the first team.
“Just rotating those guys,” he said. “Especially since those five [starting] guys played so much, until Alex (Mack) got hurt, a year ago, there aren’t any problems mixing and matching those guys. Those five are known quantities for us. We have to know that next tier, where they rank and putting them in situations where they are not always going against the second string defense so we put them up against some of the starters, as well.”
The good news is Mack was taking the snaps with the first team and looking back to full strength.
“That’s something that the big part will be the communication with him,” Pettine said. “How does he feel? If he needs a day, if he needs some reps, if he needs to cut some time back. He knows his body better than anybody else. We will depend on him to let us know when he does need to scale it back.”
West first up: RB Terrance West took the first snaps with the first team offense, but Pettine said all the backs will work with the ones.
“It will be mixed,” he said. “You will see a healthy rotation. You will see all those guys taking reps with the ones. All those groups will get mixed. There are certain plays, as well, that Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) will put a tag on the personnel call to designate who he wants the back to be.”
RB Isaiah Crowell, RB Shaun Draughn and RB Duke Johnson rotated in, while RB Glenn Winston was not practicing. Rookie RB Luke Lundy is also in the mix.
“It will be mixed you’ll see a healthy rotation and all those guys will take reps with the ones,” Pettine said.
Armonty in dual role: There was a lot of talk about DL Armonty Bryant being used as a pass rushing outside linebacker, but Pettine said he will be used mostly on the defensive line.
“He will do it, but the individual stuff – since the vast majority of what he will do is defensive line, there will be days where we will emphasize outside backer for him and he might do some separate drills with (outside linebackers) Coach (Brian) Fleury with the outside backers,” Pettine said. “He is primarily a defensive lineman, but he will moonlight every once and a while as an outside backer. We are still working on some basic stuff, but his skillset, we can stand him up and put him out there, and he has shown in the spring that he is capable of doing it.”
Not Ready: Four players started on the stationary bikes: WR Marlon Moore, LB Darius Eubanks, RB Glenn Winston and DB Charles Gaines.
“The guys that we held for injury reasons and other circumstances will do extra conditioning with the strength and conditioning staff.”
DL Phil Taylor was practicing, but Pettine said coming off of knee surgery he will be on a limited basis.
“(Taylor is still on very much a limited basis,” he said. “His team reps, we will determine those each days just with where he is with it.”
On the QB’s: The quarterbacks had a mixed review. QB Johnny Manziel had two passes batted down, including one by DL John Hughes. Meanwhile, QB Josh McCown looked efficient in his time with the first team. Both completed passes down field, including McCown hitting WR Dwayne Bowe down the field.
“It is hard to say,” Pettine said. “There were some good balls thrown out there. I thought defensively, we made some plays. (DB) Joe Haden showed his usual form breaking on a ball. (DB) Tramon Williams made a heck of a play on another one. I will reserve that judgment again until I watch the tape.
“I thought both those guys did some good things,” he said. “What I liked about it, regardless after the ball was snapped, is the command in the huddle and the knowledge of the offense and to be able to take a play and if a guy was lined up wrong and move him and just the way the plays are being called and the cadence. Sometimes that takes some time. We’re further ahead this year than we were a year ago with that for all the quarterbacks.”