|Browns not worried about Manziel’s partying|
|Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:00 PM|
BEREA — The Browns aren’t worried about Johnny Manziel running out of bounds off the field.
Or floating on pool rafts.
After a weekend of partying in Texas, where he was photographed floating on an inflatable swan while drinking champagne in a nightclub pool, Manziel was on the field Tuesday as the Browns opened a mandatory 3-day minicamp.
The team is not making their popular Heisman Trophy-winning rookie quarterback — or starter Brian Hoyer — available to the media this week.
Manziel has left Cleveland each of the past three weekends, first taking a trip to Las Vegas, then to Los Angeles for a seminar with other rookies and then to his home state, where in addition to having some fun, he got drafted by the San Diego Padres and attended Game 2 of the NBA finals in San Antonio, sitting near Miami’s bench while wearing a retro Cavaliers’ cap.
Following practice, Browns first-year coach Mike Pettine said he’s not worried about how his young QB spends his free time.
“I’m not concerned,” Pettine said. “I would become concerned if it was something criminal and I would be concerned if it affected his job. There’s a lot of our guys, if when they leave here if they were followed around, you’d get some very similar pictures. I don’t know about an inflatable swan but you’d still get some pictures.”
Manziel has said he intends to keep living his life to the fullest and Pettine doesn’t feel the need to monitor the 21-year-old’s every move.
“The philosophy here is that we’re not going to micro-manage the guys,” Pettine said. “I was involved in an event this weekend and if there were some cameras at certain times it probably wouldn’t have been the most flattering. It was a group of coaches out and we had a good time but we were responsible. When it becomes irresponsible or it becomes part of breaking the law or it’s something we feel is a potential problem, we’ll step in.”
Manziel is currently listed as Cleveland’s backup behind Hoyer. The two will compete during training camp next month, when each pass will be dissected.
The dueling QBS are already under scrutiny. During Tuesday’s workout, Manziel took snaps with Cleveland’s first-team offense as Hoyer continues to be limited as a precaution while recovering from offseason knee surgery.
When he was on the field, Hoyer showed his ability to read the defense and release the ball more quickly than Manziel, who is still learning the nuances of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s system and adjusting to the speedier pro game.
That’s not to say Manziel didn’t show progress.
“He’s getting more comfortable in the huddle, calling the plays,” Pettine said. “I think he’s got a very nice touch with the deep ball. We’ve added some of the zone-read stuff that Kyle’s run with RG3 in Washington and he’s done a nice job handling that. He makes improvement every day.”
As for Manziel’s extra-curricular activities, his teammates seem to have his back.
Safety Donte Whitner was asked if there’s a need to tell Johnny Football to tone down his act.
“Yeah but I don’t think he’s out of hand with it,” Whitner replied. “If he’s not out every weekend, he’s just a young guy. So going to Vegas, I probably would’ve been there with Johnny, too.”
Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins hasn’t seen any reason to think Manziel isn’t taking his job seriously.
“I don’t know what Johnny does on the weekends. But it’s none of my business,” he said. “He’s out here working his butt off. I’m not keeping tabs on where he goes Friday through Sunday. Johnny works hard and that’s all anybody cares about.”
Pettine understands there’s a bright spotlight on Manziel, who seems to relish the hype. In being so public with his actions, Manziel could be placing himself in precarious situations but Pettine is confident the former Texas A&M star can handle it.
“I think it’s something he’s used to,” Pettine added. “I think that he understands that that (publicity) comes with the territory but I also think he’s a young man that he doesn’t want his lifestyle or how he lives it to be affected by social media. That he’s not going to (say) ‘Hey, I’m not leaving my house.’
“I don’t think he wants to be that way and it just goes back to we’re not going to micromanage him until we feel that it is an issue, and if it’s not affecting him on the field, then I don’t think that it’s anything we need to address at this point.”
NOTES: Pro Bowl WR Josh Gordon continues to practice as the team awaits word on a possible league suspension. … LT Joe Thomas was full-go after being limited in recent OTAs. … Pettine confirmed rookie LG Joel Bitonio injured his ankle but is expected to be ready for training camp.
Bengals trying to go fast when they have the ball
CINCINNATI — Andy Dalton kept the offense in the huddle for more than a few seconds.
Coordinator Hue Jackson wasn’t happy.
“C’mon guys, get ‘em in and out!” Jackson yelled from the sideline, his arms crossed in a show of disapproval. “Let’s go!”
The Bengals’ offense has a few new features this season under Jackson and the most noticeable involves speed. Cincinnati no longer has a low gear when it comes to getting lined up and snapping the ball.
There’s only fast and faster.
The up-tempo approach was on display Tuesday during the first workout of minicamp. Jackson, who took over as offensive coordinator when Jay Gruden was hired as Washington’s head coach, wants to see the Bengals develop a more consistent running game. He’s added a few new touches, such as more shifting before plays.
And there’s that constant attention to the play clock.
It’s essentially the same offense run at a different speed.
“It’s an adjustment,” offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth said. “You start getting it where guys are playing harder and faster and then you have to be able to do it over a long period of time, all of the time. All those things tie in.
“As this game gets faster and sped up, guys are going to have to prepare the right way. To play that style, you have to prepare yourself.”
They started getting accustomed to it during voluntary offseason workouts. The entire offense was together on Tuesday for the first day of the mandatory minicamp, getting a better feel for how the new approach translates into running plays.
The huddles go quicker. The receivers run to their spots before the ball is snapped. The quarterbacks get rid of the ball quickly.
It takes more energy and concentration to go at that pace.
“You definitely feel it,” receiver Marvin Jones said. “When you keep pushing it and make that second-nature, it gets easy. We’re at the point now where we just have to keep pushing.”
The Bengals lost both coordinators from a team that made the playoffs for the third season in a row, only to lose the opening game for the third straight time. Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, tied for the sixth-longest streak of futility in NFL history.
The offense ranked 10th in the league last season — 18th in running, eighth in passing. Dalton had one of the best seasons by a Bengals quarterback, throwing for a club-record 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns. He had another bad game in the playoffs, a theme to his first three seasons.
The offense returns virtually intact, with Dalton negotiating a long-term extension heading into the final season of his contract. Dalton doesn’t have to learn a new offense under Jackson, who was an assistant in Cincinnati each of the past two seasons.
“It is the same offense that we were running but there’s a lot of tweaks in there, a lot of tweaks with how Hue likes to do things,” Dalton said.
Mainly, he wants to see things done faster. Jackson has given Dalton a lot of responsibility for making sure the offense is lined up correctly and gets the plays off smoothly.
“So it’s making sure guys are lined up how you want them to be, how we’re doing our motions, guys are going full-speed,” Dalton added. “They want to do everything quick. We want to do everything quick, too. We want to get back and be ready to go.”
Notes: The Bengals re-signed TE Alex Smith, who was a free agent. Smith joined the Bengals as a free agent from Cleveland last season and caught 13 passes for 47 yards. A wrist injury forced him to miss the playoff loss to San Diego. … Coach Marvin Lewis said that if training camp opened this week, CB Leon Hall would be lined up as a starter. Hall is ahead of schedule in recovering from his second torn Achilles’ tendon in the past three years. He didn’t participate in full-team drills on Tuesday. … Lewis was much more guarded about DT Geno Atkins, who is coming back from a torn ACL suffered on Oct. 31. It’s unclear whether he’ll be ready to start the season.