Sunday, August 31, 2014

No hand-holding for Browns QBs

Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel are on their own now.

When the Browns surprisingly cut Rex Grossman Sunday, they removed the one presence in the locker room who could help Hoyer and Manziel should they need it this season. The sounding board is gone.

Both quarterbacks struggled in Kyle Shanahan’s offense during the exhibition season. Neither looked comfortable, especially Manziel.

Grossman, accompanied out of Berea by wide receiver Charles Johnson, entered the final exhibition against the Chicago Bears Thursday night and played three series. Even though he was working mostly with players who did not survive the final cut, the offense ran smoother and more efficiently than at any time Hoyer or Manziel were in there.

It looked as though he had quarterbacked them for a lot longer than a few weeks. The Browns piled up 131 yards in those three possessions, posting a pair of Billy Cundiff field goals. Grossman was 4-for-8 for 80 yards, connecting on pass plays of 37, 19 and 11 yards.

It was thought he was signed by the Browns because he knew the Shanahan offense and could teach it to Hoyer and Manziel. How much they gleaned in the few short weeks he was with the club could not have been much.

Manziel, in particular, needs someone to help him assimilate from the wildly different Texas A&M offense to the much more sophisticated National Football League style of offense.

Coach Mike Pettine is betting quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains and Shanahan are better teachers for Hoyer and Manziel than Grossman. If that is the case, then, why in the world did they bring in the veteran in the first place? That makes no sense.

Sure they needed to make some roster adjustments after picking up wide receiver LaRon Boyd off waivers from Dallas and running back Glenn Winston from San Francisco. But quarterback? And with a dozen defensive backs?

Winston had 19 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown for the running-back-rich 49ers during the exhibition season. Obviously there is some talent there. The question is where is he going to fit in with the Browns, who have Ben Tate, Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell?

In other moves, General Manager Ray Farmer rejiggered the offensive line, claiming guards Ryan Seymour from the 49ers and Caylin Hauptmann from Seattle and waiving tackles Martin Wallace and Karim Barton. That merely changes faces and should not affect the starters.

Subsequent moves will be analyzed as they occur.


  1. Rich, I read somewhere online where the writer thinks Rex was released so the team could handle all the waiver signings and cuts better, and then will bring him back after game one, when they would no longer be on the hook for his full salary if they eventually decide to let him go down the road. Do you think that could be in the team's plans, and if so, do you see any validity in that approach?

    - DW

  2. It very well might be. If it's a procedural move to massage the roster, then it makes sense. Let's see how it plays out before jumping to any conclusions.

    Right now, he is not around to help Hoyer and Manziel for at least the Pittsburgh game. He isn't going anywhere. No one else has an interest in him.

    It'll be either Cleveland or retirement unless he chooses to be patient and wait for a team that has an emergency and a need for a backup quarterback.