BEREA, Ohio -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Cleveland Browns training camp:
The Browns have gone a complete game and a complete scrimmage without a touchdown. Scores have been hard to come by in practice, too. So when the Browns scored two touchdowns it was noteworthy. First, Johnny Manziel found Travis Benjamin on a deep throw. Then Brian Hoyer ran a hurry-up/no-huddle drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Ben Tate. At that point it might have been time to stop the practice and award game balls. Hoyer was sharp and precise on the drive, and finished by making a nice read to find Tate to the left where he made the catch, turned upfield and scored. The absence of scoring and struggle to do so seems far more pronounced when Josh Gordon is not on the practice field, which he wasn't on Wednesday.
For whatever it's worth, owner Jimmy Haslam had a lengthy talk with Gordon prior to the start of practice. The owner will occasionally greet players on days he watches, but the timeframe on this discussion qualified it as a lengthy 10 minutes. Photos, too, seemed to show Haslam was speaking with a stern look on his face. Haslam later went and spent a good 20 minutes with coach Mike Pettine, then stalked GM Ray Farmer to talk to him for 10 and then found team president Alec Scheiner for another 10. Nobody knows the topic of discussion, and it all may mean nothing, but none of this was typical. “Just talking about the crazy Cleveland weather,” Pettine said.
Benjamin had a big day, catching a deep throw from Manziel and making several other catches. Benjamin is coming back from ACL surgery, and his role in the offense seems to be growing -- especially when Gordon is out. Pettine praised Benjamin's work, and his role as a kick returner is secure. The concern with him continues to be injury given his size and slender frame.
As for the rest of the receivers, it’s probably best not to mention them. There were at least five drops, with as many as six. And they were spread among the entire group, which when Gordon is not on the field looks more and more lacking. There have been drops all week after there were several in the loss to Detroit. “It’s just you get into kind of the heat of camp, and you've just got to push guys through it,” he said. “They've got to focus. They've got to make sure they’re looking balls in. I know the one day was the wet day or it was the first time we were trying to handle wet or heavier footballs. I’m not concerned about it.”
Manziel went (according to the Great Jason Gibbs of ESPN-Cleveland) 12-20 with a touchdown, unofficially. In three days of practice since the game, he’s 34-for-68. That puts him at 50 percent for the week after he finished last week over 60 percent. ... Pettine said he expects the starters to play for the first half in Washington, though it could be altered by the quick turnaround before the third game. ... Safety Josh Aubrey has rebounded from an ankle injury that ended his 2013 season early with a strong camp. He is pushing Jordan Poyer and Jim Leonhard for one of the backup safety spots. “He's really shown up when we’ve done live work,” Pettine said. ... Cornerback Justin Gilbert was back practicing after missing since last Friday with a shoulder issue. Joe Haden was given the day off, or what shall henceforth be known as the Joe Thomas Honorary Veterans Day Off.
Up Next: The Browns are off Thursday and will conclude training camp with a 9:30 a.m. ET practice on Friday.