The Cleveland Browns are just getting started with their 2014 training camp, but there are a few players who have already stolen the show. Surprisingly, social media phenom Johnny Manziel is NOT one of them.
Cleveland native Brian Hoyer and former Towson star Terrance West are the two players that everyone has been talking about through the beginning of camp. Everything can change from the beginning of camp to when the Browns visit Pittsburgh to open the season, but these two players are catching the coaches’ attention.
Hoyer, entering his sixth year in the league, entered camp as the slight favorite over Manziel to win the starting gig at quarterback. It’s more apparent everyday that Manziel will not be the starting QB when the season begins. While all the Manziel buzz is about “rookie mistakes” and partying, Hoyer has been posed in the pocket and efficient with his throws. (Via The Guardian)
Hoyer has seen the vast majority of first-team snaps and will continue with the first string through Tuesday. Head coach Mike Pettine and his staff will evaluate players more on Wednesday, their first day off. Hoyer has been making impressive throws throughout camp however, and there should be no doubt about letting Hoyer keep the reins. The veteran was a little shaky on Saturday, but he is coming off a big ACL injury that typically bugs a player his first time out. The second day was a vast improvement and was just the opposite for his rookie counterpart. While Hoyer exhibited strong leadership, Manziel was clearly frustrated with himself and let his body language deteriorate with each bad pass.
West, the Towson touchdown machine, was the star of day one. The Browns weren’t even in pads yet, but the rookie running back caught Pettine’s eye. Pettine had to “double-check” his roster card to make sure he had the right guy when West made some phenomenal plays in the one-on-one drills. (Via Akron Beacon Journal) West proved he is not a one-dimensional back and can make plays catching the ball. Versatility is extremely important for running backs, especially because the NFL has turned into a pass-happy league. West showed he’s a powerful runner and a capable pass catcher. Now all he has to do is prove that he can be a reliable blocker.
Ben Tate is still the favorite to start at running back, but West’s impressive start to camp has raised some eyebrows. Tate has said that none of the competition “scares me.” (Via Cleveland.com) The former Houston Texan may be confident, but West is making a case and Tate has had major durability issues in the league. If Tate goes down with an injury, West will be able to step up and take the brunt of the load. West will not beat Tate out in the first three days of camp, but his performance may very well have earned him some valuable carries come the regular season.