BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Johnny Manziel had an uneventful summer, but his improved behavior hasn’t changed his position on Cleveland’s depth chart.
Browns coach Mike Pettine said Monday that veteran Josh McCown will open training camp as the team’s No. 1 quarterback, but Manziel, the former Heisman Trophy winner who had a disastrous rookie season, still has a chance to win the job based on his performance.
Meeting with reporters in advance of the team opening camp later this week, Pettine said McCown likely will start the season opener against the New York Jets on Sept. 13. However, Pettine said Manziel can potentially unseat McCown.
“I don’t think anything’s changed,” Pettine said. “The repetitions will be handled that way, with Josh as the 1. I wouldn’t say I’m guaranteeing today that Josh McCown is going to be the starter against the Jets. A lot can happen in a preseason.”
Manziel, who spent 10 weeks during the offseason in a Pennsylvania rehab facility specializing in drug and alcohol addiction, reported to the team’s facility on Monday. Unlike last summer, Manziel did not make any headlines with his off-field conduct and Pettine was impressed that the QB recently worked out in Florida with former NFL coach and TV analyst Jon Gruden.
“This was vacation time for a lot of guys, so the fact that he sought out Jon and went down there and worked with him and was thinking about football, to me I see that as nothing but a positive,” Pettine said.
Pettine said the team “felt very comfortable” with Manziel’s plans for the offseason and reiterated that the Browns won’t micromanage their players. The Browns made sure their players followed a prescribed conditioning program and the team’s position coaches occasionally checked in on their players.
Pettine said he didn’t worry about Manziel having a slip-up.
“We weren’t going to beat him up, hover over him, making sure he was doing the right thing,” Pettine said. “He’s a professional athlete. I did not spend one day of my vacation, it never popped into my head, ‘Hmmm, I wonder where Johnny is right now and what he’s doing?’”
Pettine addressed a number of other issues heading into his second camp, including former Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s transition to wide receiver. The Browns signed Pryor, the former Ohio State star, earlier this summer and are intrigued by what he might be able to provide for a team looking for offensive playmakers.
“We’re going to throw him right into the mix,” Pettine said of the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Pryor. “I know that’s not an easy transition, but if anybody has the skill set to do it, he does. From an athletically gifted standpoint, he has the skill set to do it. This is a big guy that can run, from what I understand has good hands, but we’ll see.”