The next time fans will see the Cleveland Browns on the football field, it won’t be at the team’s training facility in Berea. It will be at FirstEnergy Stadium for the first preseason game against the Washington Redskins on Thursday night. The Browns conducted their final practice open to the public on Tuesday.
The biggest story of Tuesday’s practice involved quarterback Johnny Manziel. It appears he’s now added to the long list of players battling an injury during training camp. Manziel did practice but did not throw any passes during seven on seven drills. Well let me correct myself, Manziel did throw some passes, but left handed. Manziel is dealing with a sore right elbow, but head coach Mike Pettine isn’t concerned. He expects Manziel to play on Thursday.
“Just had a little elbow soreness so we just wanted to rest it for the day,” Pettine said. “Still let him go through everything else. It just was an accumulation of reps, started to get a little sore. We would do that with any of the guys, but he was the one that was experiencing some stiffness.”
“It just comes from the high volume of throws,” according to quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell. “He has obviously worked very, very hard every day, not only in camp but prior to camp to be ready. With that comes – sometimes you have to help a guy out from when he is working as hard as Johnny is to just take a day. He had a heck of a day mentally, mental reps behind Josh McCown, Connor Shaw and Thad Lewis. It was a good day from that standpoint. We are expecting him to be ready to roll.”
Shaw and Lewis split the second team snaps between the two of them. Both should see time under center in the second half against the Redskins on Thursday night.
Left tackle Joe Thomas was held out of practice on Tuesday, after suffering a knee injury late during Monday’s practice. Thomas was scheduled to have Tuesday’s practice off before he was rolled up on by first round pick Danny Shelton on Monday. Pettine told reporters that Thomas is fine, but will he be held out of Thursday’s game as a precaution.
“We’ll determine that. Position coaches are formulating their plan just to kind of see where we are,” Pettine said. “There’s a chance Joe plays a little bit. There’s a chance he doesn’t go out there and take a snap. We’ve yet to determine that. It would be unrelated to yesterday.”
“I just got the knee rolled up, and I went inside for more of a precautionary thing than anything just to make sure everything was fine,” Thomas said.. Just kind of a minor ding more than anything. When you have 700 pounds falling on your leg, you are pretty concerned, but once I got up I knew it wasn’t too bad. I should be back in a couple days. ”
Wide receiver Brian Hartline was also injured late in Monday’s practice. He did return to practice in the camouflage jersey that the offense wore again on Tuesday. Hartline looked fine during team drills, but will he play on Thursday.
“I don’t know. That’s up to the coaches,” Hartine said. “I just go in there and play and play the best football I can, hopefully get some things going with the offense. The main thing with any preseason game is to knock the rust off, get the offense going a little bit but to come out healthy more than anything.”
“To me, it’s just dependent on the injury,” Pettine said. “It was just a low ankle, just twisted it. It was not something we felt was a serious thing. We’ll be careful with all of our guys, and we’ll always err on the side of caution, especially this early in camp. He’s a guy with no issues coming back from it. We put it on the player, especially the veteran guys. We’ll trust their judgement. Brian is fine.”
The Browns will be a little shorthanded at the receiver spot on Thursday night. Pettine ruled out both Dwayne Bowe and Terrelle Pryor since neither one has practiced in the last week. The longer Pryor misses practice, the chances on making the roster after transitioning from quarterback to wide receiver becomes even more difficult.
“Yeah, but you deal in reality. Right now, he can’t be out there,” Pettine said. “He’s taking all the mental reps that he can, but that only gets you so far. It is unfortunate, similar to (RB) Duke (Johnson). We need to know what we have in both those guys, and when they’re not out there, it hurts us.”
Single game tickets went on sale on Tuesday. The Browns are breaking up the eight regular season home games on sale dates over these next two days.
Tickets for the Oakland Raiders game on September 27, the Baltimore Ravens game on Monday night, November 30, the San Francisco 49ers game on December 13 and the Pittsburgh Steelers game on January 3 all went on sale at 10:00 a.m Tuesday morning.
Tickets for the home opener against the Tennessee Titans on September 20, the Denver Broncos game on October 18, the Arizona Cardinals game on November 1 and the Cincinnati Bengals game on December 6 go on sale at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.