BEREA, Ohio -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Cleveland Browns training camp:
The defense stopped Ben Tate on the last goal-line play to retain the coveted orange jerseys for one more day. The jerseys go to the side of the ball that comes out ahead in the final drill, an emphasis on ending the game well. The run stuff came after a pass breakup was negated by a defensive offside in the full-speed drill. Brian Hoyer scored on two of four plays in his first attempt (both runs), and Johnny Manziel scored on three of four -- with the fourth a near TD broken up by a tough hit from safety Tashaun Gipson. Hoyer got the last three plays. “This is a situation where something is on the line,” coach Mike Pettine said. “As simple as a practice jersey is, it’s good work for us.”
Pettine welcomed old friend Jim Leonhard to the roster. The Browns signed the veteran Wednesday night, and Pettine made it clear it’s to provide depth as a backup to Donte Whitner and Gipson. Pettine said Leonhard, who played for Pettine in New York and Buffalo, would be a core special teamer and a nickel pass defender. He also could be used at safety if the Browns put Whitner near the line. Petine said there’s a lot to like about Leonhard, including his ability to catch a punt; Pettine said he and Rex Ryan used to joke that Leonhard could catch a punt in a hurricane. “He’s smart, he’s tough, he knows the defense,” Pettine said.
Pettine detailed the plan for the team’s intrasquad scrimmage at the University of Arkon on Saturday. The team will eschew kickoffs and kickoff returns and will not tackle quarterbacks. Drives will start at the 20 or 30 and will go until the offense scores or the defense gets a stop. Starters initially will face starters, but Pettine said units would be mixed. Red-zone drills will follow a break.
Guard John Greco and defensive lineman Billy Winn returned to practice, but defensive lineman Phil Taylor was still on the sidelines. ... Pettine admitted the team is trying to massage Miles Austin through camp so he stays healthy for the season. ... Josh Gordon was missing to travel to New York for his much-discussed Friday hearing about his positive drug test. ... On the first two plays of a team drill with tackling, Whitner chased a running back out of bounds and dove at him as he did, then made the next tackle on a swing pass. ... Linebacker Chris Kirksey ran step for step down the sidelines with running back Isaiah Crowell to break up a pass. Crowell cried for the flag, but Kirksey made a nice play. He’s been very active.
The Final Word: “It’s football, tough sport for tough people.” -- Pettine on a big hit by Gipson on tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi in a goal-line drill.
Up next: The Browns practice at the team’s facility in Berea Friday from 9:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m.