Browns coach excited to see Johnny Manziel play, Julio Jones held out of practice and other NFL news
Elsewhere, Colt McCoy continues to take reps ahead of Robert Griffin III.
After 13 games of up-and-down play at the quarterback position, the Johnny Manziel era is finally underway in Cleveland. Brian Hoyer, the team’s previous starter, just concluded a three-game stretch in which he threw seven interceptions and zero touchdowns. While Manziel has barely played thus far, he presents a multitude of challenges for opposing defenses. That, combined with his performance during practice, has gotten Browns head coach Mike Pettine very excited according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t excited to see him play,” Pettine said. “We’ve seen it in practice. We got a taste of it in Buffalo.”
Like most rookie quarterbacks making their first NFL start, Manziel is likely to endure growing pains. Still, Hoyer wasn’t getting the job done and doesn’t possess Johnny Football’s athleticism or improvisational skills. While the Browns don’t have a great supporting cast around him (especially in the backfield), Manziel has the ability to overcome those issues. If Cleveland has any chance of making the postseason, it’s with Manziel under center, not Hoyer.
Julio Jones misses practice
If you watched the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, you probably noticed Julio Jones overwhelming a talented Green Bay Packers secondary. The wideout passed the century mark by halftime and finished the game with 259 receiving yards, the most the Packers had ever allowed to a single player at home. Only a late hip injury managed to slow down the prolific Jones.
While it’s too early to know whether he can play this week, Jones was unable to participate in Falcons practice on Wednesday according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
After practice, head coach Mike Smith said that Jones wouldn’t necessarily need to practice in order to play. That’s good news for Atlanta, since its hold over the NFC South is tenuous to say the least. With Jones, the Falcons have an above average offensive attack. Without him, they regress to middle of the league.
Colt McCoy takes opening snap in practice
Washington’s season is effectively over, but the intrigue surrounding its yearlong quarterback controversy remains. Head coach Jay Gruden benched Robert Griffin III before the team’s Week 13 game against the Indianapolis Colts, and Colt McCoy responded with 392 yards and three touchdowns. He couldn’t keep up the momentum, however, tossing two picks and falling below 200 yards in a shutout to the St. Louis Rams. More significantly, McCoy’s availability for Week 15 was thrown into doubt due to a neck injury.
McCoy was able to practice Wednesday, taking snaps ahead of RGII according to the Washington Post.
Only 20 minutes of practice is usually available to the media. Consequently, there is no way of knowing whether Griffin took snaps ahead of McCoy later on. Still, Gruden has made it clear he favors McCoy. If injury doesn’t keep him out, it appears McCoy will be the starter again this week.
Joseph Fauria lands on injured reserve
Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria is one of the league’s most entertaining personalities. His post-touchdown dancing is a thing of legend, and he’s known to make waves via social media. Fauria has been a lost man in Detroit’s offense this year, but he made sure to mark his first touchdown last weekend.
He won’t twerk in the endzone again, however, at least not this season. The Lions placed Fauria on injured reserve with an ankle injury on Wednesday according to the Detroit Free Press.