First day of OTAs shows Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel have work to do


BEREA, Ohio -- How did the Cleveland Browns' quarterbacks look on their first day of competitive OTA practice on Tuesday?

Like two guys learning a new system with a new coordinator and new receivers on the first day of an offseason practice.

“Sloppy” was the word Mike Pettine used for the whole team. It certainly applied to the first two quarterbacks, as both Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel threw plenty of footballs to the ground.

McCown might be able to afford the errors better than Manziel. Teammate Donte Whitner said Manziel’s rookie season was a disaster, so Manziel has two hurdles to overcome this offseason.

He first must get his life together off the field, which is why he spent 10 weeks in a treatment facility. Then he must prove he can play in the NFL on the field -- something he did not do one year ago.

Given that it’s May and it’s a new system, immediate precision should not be expected. But it’s also clear the Browns have a long way to go.

McCown got all the reps with the first team, Manziel took all the reps with the backups. Both had moments, but neither distinguished themselves.

Manziel, as always, was the focus of attention. His arm strength was evident when he threw in one-on-one drills, but when it got to “team” work there were … well … concerns.

He underthrew a short out route in seven-on-seven that was intercepted by K’Waun Williams, a throw against no rush that leaves most NFL quarterbacks simmering.

He dropped the ball on a rollout, had another throw blocked at the line and had an underthrow to Paul Browning knocked away by Kendall James.

“I don’t want to get into grading specific plays today,” coach Mike Pettine said.

He echoed a by-now familiar theme: Manziel has been more engaged in meetings than he was a year ago.

“We’re a new group,” McCown said. “And any time you come together as a new group there’s going to be growing pains.”

He then emphasized setting a high standard to “speed up that learning curve.”

“I want to see the Cleveland Browns and the quarterback position be better than it's been,” McCown said.