Browns getting in shape for 2014
James W. Wade III | 6/4/2014, 11:16 a.m.
The Cleveland Browns are still getting things in order out in Berea, with trading and picking up players after the 2014 Draft. Even starting Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) they are still making time for off the field events.
This past Saturday the Cleveland Browns Foundation, Browns players and alumni hosted a football skills session for 100 athletes and volunteers from the Achievement Centers for Children, Cleveland Browns Adapted Football League at Camp Cheerful.
During this 2014 kickoff event, Browns players and alumni interact with young athletes and their families, as well as sharpen their football abilities by competing at physically engaging stations. The Cleveland Browns Adapted Football League, established in 2011, provides children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in an organized, competitive and developmental sport.
It is the first competitive adapted football program in Ohio that enables school-aged children and young adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to play football competitively. In 2013, more than 80 players and 60 volunteers participated in the program. The program offers a foundation for success by focusing on skill development, socialization and physical activity. These building blocks help prepare participants for achievement and growth now and in the future.
There has been a lot of hype about 'Mr. Football' Johnny Manziel and his trip to Vegas. The Browns organization is not into all the stories. “We have a saying in the NFL: as long as it doesn’t affect your job. He was a guy that was very proactive. He let us know that he was going, and my advice to him was have fun. He’s a young guy. He’s done everything that we’ve asked. The playbook has not been an issue for him. It’s something that I know a big deal was made of it [publically], but internally, we have an expectation for all of our players outside of the building to act a certain way, and it’s really a non-issue. Just like anybody else, he’s a man, and we’re going to treat our guys like that until they prove that they need to be treated otherwise,” said Browns coach Mike Pettine.
Wide Receiver Josh Gordon is still a concern about how many games will he have to sit out this year from the suspension. Knowing he is a key to the Browns offensive nothing has been said. “He’s been impressive. As I stated last week, until we hear otherwise, it’ll be business as usual for us,” said Coach Pettine.
Having a team is something the coach is more concerned with and plans to review all of his receivers. When asked if he was worried about Gordon sitting out he responded. “You don’t. You just practice. You roll those guys. We’ve got a lot of receivers that need to learn the system, and we’ve just been rotating them through.”
Many are still confident Quarterback Brian Hoyer can move the team and he has often talked about another receiver the Browns picked up named Andrew Hawkins. Hoyer made him the target on several occasions during the red zone drills, Hoyer found Hawkins open on slant patterns in the middle of the field. The two were also paired up in a one-on-one deep throwing drill against various cornerbacks. Their timing wasn’t synced on Wednesday, but you can tell, once it is, the Hoyer-Hawkins combo could gash defenses for big chunks of yardage.
“I’m a believer in putting together a great staff and letting them coach. I’m not going to jump in. I’ll take notes during practice. Occasionally during practice, I’ll have a question about something. I’ll go to the coach first, instead of the player. I’ve always been a part of a situation where whoever the coordinator was or the head coach worked from that mentality. Some questions have come up about my demeanor during practice. I’m going to let the coaches coach. I don’t feel the need to put on a show. I think the players certainly appreciate that, and I know the assistants do, as well,” said Coach Pettine.