BEREA, Ohio – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Cleveland Browns training camp:
It will be interesting to see how the plays break down in Saturday’s scrimmage. One day after saying the team would soon start giving Johnny Manziel some snaps with the first team, Manziel was again with the backups. Coach Mike Pettine said after Friday’s practice that he had yet to lay out exactly how the scrimmage snaps would break down, which is a bit of an oddity given the way coaches prepare. Traditionally, each quarterback would get at least one chance against the starting defense.
Free safety Tashaun Gipson left practice and was taken in the locker room with what looked like a leg injury. Pettine would only say he was “being evaluated.” Gipson, the team’s most underrated player, had been having a very strong camp. It’s not known how long he might be out, if at all.
Friday was a day for the offense as players celebrated every touchdown. Manziel flipped the ball over the goalpost, Anthony Armstrong threw a ball into the stands, Nate Burleson tucked the ball under his shirt and waddled around and Willie Snead spiked the ball with authority. ““I think they were a little frustrated over time with the defensive backs,” Pettine said. “They’ve been very physical with them and they won a lot of the battles. I think that just spilled over. Anytime they got a chance to get in the end zone, they wanted to make sure everybody knew it.”
Though quarterback is the obvious position that will be watched in the scrimmage, there are others. Among them … Receiver: What’s life going to be like without Josh Gordon, if he’s suspended? … Linebacker: Chris Kirksey has stood out in many drills; he appears to have some serious ability. … Cornerback: Justin Gilbert is coming on every day; can Buster Skrine hold him off? … Running back: Terrance West was the talk of camp for two days, but he seems to have leveled off. He and Ben Tate should both get long looks.
Travis Benjamin received his first significant time with the offense, and the team found clever ways to take advantage of his speed. Benjamin left linebacker Zac Diles flat-footed with one juke move after a catch. … Undrafted rookie Willie Snead is the best of the rookie receivers. Snead got some snaps with the starters on Friday. … Rookie Joel Bitonio continues to impress; he smothered Jabaal Sheard in a one-on-one pass-rush drill. … Brian Hoyer had three excellent throws in red-zone drills, two that resulted in touchdowns – one on a slant to Austin the other on an in to Taylor Gabriel, in front of Donte Whitner.
Up next: The Browns will have an intrasquad scrimmage at the University of Akron at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.