CLEVELAND, OH – Two practices are in the books for the Cleveland Browns as the 2014 campaign kicks off in high gear. While all eyes, both locally and nationally are on the kid from Kerville, TX, other players are looking to make an impact. Here are the “dawg bones” from this weekend’s events in which over 8,000 Browns diehards attended to cheer on those iconic orange helmets.
Flying West: You’re simply not in the loop if you do not realize that there is a true quarterback competition going on in Cleveland, but did you also know that there is a pretty good battle in the backfield too? On opening day of Mike Pettine‘s installation practices, one player stood out that made some surprising plays – rookie third round pick from Towson, Terrance West. After failing his conditioning test just a day earlier, West bounced back “crushing” the test a second time according to Pettine and gave presumed starting running back, Ben Tate a run for his money in his first pro practice. Two pretty sweet plays stood out by West on Saturday. The first was during one-on-one drills against veteran linebacker Craig Robertson. West basically crossed Robertson up and broke his ankles juking by him with ease, then catching the ball from Johnny Manziel. The second happened soon after as West burned his man, made a one-handed catch and tip toed for the score keeping both feet in. Yes, West is just a running back.
Let the QB competition begin…: Thousands have showed up in two days basically for one reason – Johnny Cleveland. In day one, there was no clear cut winner between him and Brian Hoyer. However, day two went to Hoyer. He looked crisp in his throws and clearly had a better grasp of the play calls.
“Keep your feet Gilbert!”: While the defense owned the offense most of day one, first round draft pick Justin Gilbert had trouble staying on his feet. The quote is what coaches were yelling at Gilbert all day.
Not so fast: While Gilbert was slipping all day, Buster Skrine was continuing where he left in OTA’s and Minicamp. Skrine made a great pass defense on Josh Gordon to tip the ball in the air and led to a Tashaun Gipson interception. From early indications, Skrine is not about to let Gilbert take his spot so soon. Gilbert is behind Skrine on the unofficial depth chart. Also, Pierre Desir and Isaiah Trufant have looked pretty good so far.
Blinded by the Shoes: As Manziel trotted on the practice field just after veteran Tyler Thigpen, there seemed to be a neon glow coming from his feet. In what looked like a marketing ploy, Manziel was wearing his new Nike Vapor Elite shoes. Rumors surfaced that he was wearing bright cleats so it would help with video taping his footwork. That was not the case. By the time Coach Pettine hit the field, the shoes were changed and nowhere to be found again. It is believed that Manziel violated the team issued equipment rule. Let “Shoe Gate” begin…
Keep a close Hawk-eye: In the first two days, it is clear to see why the Browns coveted Andrew Hawkins so much this off-season. Despite his size at only 5’7″, the receiver is very fluid in his routes, has awesome hands, and his speed may be one of the fastest out of all 88 players in camp. Everything you watched in the YouTube 1-on-1 drills is 100% true!
No pads again: For the second day in a row the Browns came out in helmets, partial pads, and shorts. Monday will mark the first practice day in full pads.
Missing?: Nose tackle Phil Taylor and offensive guard John Greco have missed the first two days of camp. Taylor is still nursing a minor injury and Greco failed his conditioning test. Also, veteran guard Jason Pinkston has not been seen at all. The Browns are staying pretty mum about it and Pettine could not discuss his status in his post practice press conference. Franchise tackle Joe Thomas sat out team drills on day two, but that was precautionary and just to give the veteran time off.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net. Email Ryan at [email protected]