- Pat McManamon, ESPN Staff Writer
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BEREA, Ohio -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Cleveland Browns training camp:
Friday's practice, the last one open to the public (some VIPs will be allowed at a couple more practices), wasn’t exactly glittering. Brian Hoyer looked good, but the Browns seemed to be fighting through the end of the dog days of camp.
Coach Mike Pettine offered this explanation for starting Hoyer Monday night against the Redskins: “Because that’s the decision we made.” He wasn’t being flip, just not elaborating much. “We’re making our decisions based on the information we have, based on the body of work and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “There were a lot of factors involved and that’s ultimately, when we hashed it out, the direction we went.”
Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil met with the media and offered a few interesting tidbits. Among them: Isaiah Trufant is the starting nickelback, not Buster Skrine. Skrine and Justin Gilbert continue to fight for the starting cornerback spot. … DE Jabaal Sheard and DL Phil Taylor, though not listed as starters, will be “major factors” in the defense. … Gilbert is “on his way to being a great corner.” … LB Craig Robertson has greatly improved his coverage skills.
The Browns, led by Pettine, answered the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets and lined up 20-25 players, coaches and front office types to have ice dumped on their heads. Pettine said the team would make a “significant contribution” in the name of O.J. Brigance to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. As for Jets coach Rex Ryan saying he wanted to punch Pettine, the Browns coach quipped: “Anytime you want to go toe to toe, you know where to find me.”
Desmond Bryant again missed practice with a wrist injury. Pettine had said he believed it to be minor, but clarified Friday by saying that Bryant was getting a second opinion, which might indicate it’s a little more than minor. Bryant will not play Monday night, and it’s highly unlikely WR Nate Burleson will play (hamstring). Gilbert (shoulder) was back and should play, and TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) also should play. WR Josh Gordon (hamstring) has a chance to play, but sounds iffy. Skrine left practice with an undisclosed thumb issue.
ESPN NFL analyst Jon Gruden was on hand to watch practice, then sat down with Johnny Manziel for ESPN’s Sunday Conversation.