September 17, 2014

Medina
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Browns Training Camp: Read option makes early appearance in Kyle Shanahan’s offense

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, left, talks with head coach Mike Pettine at training camp. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, left, talks with head coach Mike Pettine at training camp. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

BEREA — Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan didn’t wait long to begin installing the read option.

All the quarterbacks took turns running the option this morning on the third day of training camp, the first in pads. In the competition for the starting job, Shanahan called more options for rookie Johnny Manziel than for Brian Hoyer, because Manziel has experience from his two years at Texas A&M.

“Kyle’s offense in Washington was a combination of it, and it was something that he wanted to get in, and get in early,” coach Mike Pettine said. “We saw some elements of it today. Certainly, when you have a guy that’s more mobile, when you’re calling plays for him in live situations, you’re going to lean toward an inventory of plays that suit his skill set. I just think, at the end of the day, we’ll see more of that with Johnny than we will with Brian.”

The option was largely out of the NFL for decades until the past few years. With quarterbacks like Washington’s Robert Griffin III, Carolina’s Cam Newton, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick and Seattle’s Russell Wilson, it’s had a resurgence, albeit limited.

Shanahan ran it a lot with the Redskins in 2012 as Griffin rushed for 815 yards, but cut back last year with Griffin coming off knee surgery.

The Browns likely won’t use the option a ton in the regular season, but Pettine and Shanahan like to have it available. They also believe having it in the arsenal affects the preparation of the opponent’s defense.

Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas is a fan.

“It’s great,” he said. “It can give you huge gashes, it confuses the defense, it gives them something that they have to work on during the week. Even if you only run it a couple times, they’ll have to spend 15 or 20 minutes during practice every week to try to prepare for it.

“We’ve watched a lot of cutups from when they were running it in Washington, and they had some tremendous gashes and really just had the defense confused. It kinda adds a different element to an offense that a lot of teams don’t have.”

Notes and Observations

  • Hoyer won the day again in the quarterback battle. He wasn’t as good as he was Sunday, but has settled into a nice rhythm and made several good throws. Manziel was better than he was Sunday, but still hung onto the ball too long, was quick to scramble and threw a bad interception.
  • The Browns and guard Jason Pinkston’s agents released a joint statement regarding his absence from camp. “Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Jason Pinkston has not been medically cleared to participate in football activities,” it read. “The team has been in communication with Jason and his representatives and will respect their wishes to not provide any further details at this time.”
  • Rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert had a big day, with an interception in a one-on-one drill and a couple of breakups in team drills.
  • Linebacker Tank Carder passed his physical and returned to practice. He’d been out since the offseason program.
  • Receivers Travis Benjamin and Charles Johnson were given the day off to rest their surgically repaired knees.
  • Offensive lineman Chris Faulk was waived.
  • Receiver Josh Gordon took reps with the starters after spending much of the first two days with the backups.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.