BEREA—One of the rumors persisting when the Browns were getting ready to play the Chicago Bears in the preseason finale was that nine-year veteran receiver Dwayne Bowe had to show something in that game to make the final 53-man roster.
However, Mike Pettine disputed that at the time.
Bowe made the roster, but when the first depth chart was released, Bowe was listed as the third-team wide receiver behind Brian Hartline and Travis Benjamin with Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel on the opposite side.
Pettine dismissed the depth chart.
“Let me walk you through how we do our depth chart: (Vice president of communications) Pete (John-Baptiste) types it up and walks into my office,” Pettine said. “He says, ‘How’s it look?’ Sometimes I look at it, sometimes I don’t. It is usually a very cursory glance. I say, ‘It looks good.’ I don’t put a lot of stock in depth charts, neither should you. I know the league requires it.”
Pettine would not say where Bowe will be in the rotation.
“You can wait.”
However, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo sounded as though Bowe wasn’t a starter—at least for now.
“I am going to lean back on Coach Pettine and the depth chart thing,” DeFilippo said. “Different personnel groupings have different depth charts. I told Dwayne we expect more out of him. It was disappointing that he got hurt so early. It was not all his fault that he hasn’t been on the field. He didn’t want to get hurt. I feel bad for the guy that he is in this predicament. At the same time, we need Dwayne to come along here and be a big part of what we are doing.”
Bowe was signed in March to a two-year $12.5 million contract, including $9 million being guaranteed after being released by the Chiefs. Bowe was expected to be the Browns number one receiver after catching 532 passes for 7,155 yards and 44 touchdowns in his previous eight seasons in Kansas City. Bowe has caught over 70 passes four times, but last year slipped to 60 receptions for 754 yards, including no touchdowns. He went to the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season.
DeFilippo said Bowe has responded to the coaching and the challenge.
“Dwayne has been great,” he said. “He has been great since he stepped foot in this building. He really has for a guy that had as much success has he has had. He bought into what we our doing. He bought into our plan and playing like a Brown. He has just had a little case of bad luck.”
DeFilippo said he’s confident that the hamstring injury Bowe suffered early in training camp is what has been holding him back.
“Yes, it is injury with him,” he said. “There is no doubt about it. When you watch the Kansas City-Arizona games in our cut-up this week in terms of we are getting ready for (Jets Head Coach) Todd Bowles – he was at Arizona last year so we are watching a lot of Arizona tape – the Kansas City game is in our cut-ups, and you can just tell that he is holding back a little bit with that hamstring. We have to get him healthy. I am really excited for Dwayne when he does get to that point.”
Ready to Go: The Browns had 52 of their 53 players on the active roster on the practice field for the final practice before the team leaves Saturday for New York to play the Jets in the season opener. Only RB Robert Turbin, who was claimed on waivers from the Seahawks was not practicing, as he’s recovering from a high ankle sprain.
On the Browns injury report Friday, only five players were listed as limited: WR Dwayne Bowe (hamstring), DB Justin Gilbert (hip flexor), LB Barkevious Mingo (knee), LB Nate Orchard (back) and DB K’Waun Williams (abdominal).
The rest of the players were probable, including QB Johnny Manziel, who was limited on Thursday.
Pettine said Manziel would be the backup quarterback on Sunday.
“He had a good week,” Pettine said. “He made some good throws and stepped into his throws.”
For Openers: The Browns haven’t won a season opening game since 2004 and that is a fact that has not gone unnoticed to Petitne.
“We know it.”