- Pat McManamon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Pryor started the second half of the preseason finale in Chicago, a 24-0 Bears victory. He had no receptions and no targets, but two carries from quarterback off the read-option. The quarterback plays indicate the Browns clearly plan to use Pryor at the spot, and that he likely has made the team.
But it was odd given the team’s insistence throughout training camp and preseason that if Pryor made the team, he had to do it as a receiver.
This receiver appears to have made the team without a preseason reception.
What of Dwayne Bowe? Nine-year veteran starters aren’t supposed to start fourth preseason games, much less play in the second half. Bowe did both. Solomon Wilcots, the Browns preseason analyst, said the team wanted to get a good long look at Bowe, who missed a lot of preseason with a hamstring injury, then shrugged it off as if the missed time didn’t matter. Wilcots also said Bowe was definitely in danger of being cut. Bowe’s on-field response: One reception for eight yards, and a deep ball down the sideline that he made little effort to try to reach.
QB depth chart: Thad Lewis started and did little to force his way on the team, throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown and losing a fumble that the Bears recovered. For the night, Lewis was 14-for-20 for 100 yards, with no touchdowns, one interception and a 60.4 rating. He also was sacked six times and nearly intercepted a second time. Though Lewis started 12-for-13, he did not have a great night.
QB roster decisions: The question the Browns must answer is whether they keep two quarterbacks or three when the final roster decisions are made on Saturday. Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel will be on the roster. Will Lewis? This decision may come down to Manziel’s health. If the Browns believe he is ready to go, they may keep just two.
Rookie watch: Fourth round pick Vince Mayle seems to be in serious danger of not making the team. Mayle missed the offseason work after having surgery on his thumb. Then in training camp and preseason he had the double whammy no receiver wants. He played tentative and did not hang on to the ball. Mayle had a mixed night in Chicago, making a tackle on a kickoff and punt, but then being flagged for an illegal block in the back negating a big return by Darius Jennings. His receiving numbers: two catches for 17 yards for the game, five for 52 yards for the preseason. Mayle really has shown nothing that would warrant a roster spot.
One reason to freak out: The Browns continue to insist that Manziel’s elbow will be fine and he’ll throw. Pregame announcers said that Manziel threw with a tennis ball for a few days, then a heavy ball. He will be examined Friday, when a determination will be made when he will resume throwing in practice. If Manziel is back, he’s the backup. But if he’s not, the backup spot is wide open. Would the Browns have to scan the waiver wire after cuts to see who is out there?
Tough break: Undrafted rookie receiver Jennings has had a good camp and preseason, but he’s in a numbers game. He didn’t help himself when he made an unfortunate mistake when he fumbled while running after catching a receiver screen. Jennings has been productive, but those are the kind of plays that can cost a roster spot.