Cleveland Browns Daily hosts Nathan Zegura and Matt Wilhelm did not sugarcoat their feelings for Taylor Gabriel: They both think he’s been the best wide receiver on the team during the offseason program and that he could shatter the 621 receiving yards he posted as a rookie.
"Johnny's been great,'' DeFilippo said after the second rookie camp practice Saturday. "He's been fantastic. What he wants to talk about, before he stepped foot back in this building is his business. All I know is Johnny the football player, and he's been awesome. He's been working hard, very hard with myself and (quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell), and doing what we want him to do on the field."
Hard enough to become a successful NFL quarterback?
"All I know is this: From the moment he stepped in this building from the last two weeks, he's been nothing but a consummate professional,'' DeFilippo said. "He's spent every hour that he's been allowed to spend in this building. We give them worksheets every Tuesday and every Friday, and they're done to the unbelievable detail that we need an NFL quarterback to do. From that standpoint, like I said I can't predict the future, but all I can do is tell you right now Johnny Manziel is putting himself in a position to be a quarterback in the NFL."
There is certainly opportunity in Cleveland for playing time, but it isn't a great situation for a young quarterback given the unexciting receiving options (namely Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline, who combined to catch two touchdowns last season). By all accounts, it does appear that Manziel is on his way to turning his career around. He finished a rehab program, moved to the suburbs and has earned praise from his teammates and coordinator.
Johnny Manziel is fresh out of a 10-week stay in a rehab facility. McCown is a stable veteran with a career completion percentage near 60. This wasn't difficult.
"We just look back to when he was in Chicago, when he had a pretty good supporting cast around him, and he was able to be more than functional. He had a very successful year," Pettine said on WKRK-FM, via the Beacon Journal. "When you build the team right, it minimizes the importance of the quarterback."
The problem here is that while in Chicago, McCown was throwing to Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett and now he'll be targeting Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline and Rob Housler. That's a serious downgrade at all three positions. McCown didn't play particularly well with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans in 2014, there's no reason to believe that he's going to make a passing game go with Bowe, Hartline and Housler.
Even though the Browns have revamped their passing game with wide receivers Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, coach Mike Pettine has been clear Cleveland will go as far as Crowell – and fellow rookie Terrance West – can take them.
Instead of developing a rivalry for who gets the most carries, Crowell and West have embraced each other, and have even made a pact together. Somehow they kept it under the social media radar, but Crowell flew up to Baltimore this offseason to get some workouts in with West, and, in turn, West flew down to Atlanta.
That pact? Both Crowell and West want to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Crowell said the offense is generally similar to last season’s scheme, but there will be distinctions.
Two hints from Crowell: The pass protection is different and we will see him more as a receiver out of the backfield.
Once the Browns were done with Ben Tate (Week 11), Crowell out-touched Terrance West 90 to 68 over the final seven games, but West had the last laugh, turning 20 touches into 106 yards and a TD against the Ravens in Week 17. (A seemingly healthy Crowell touched the ball five times for 22 yards.) The Cleveland running backs averaged 26.6 carries per game, so if the new offense does indeed feature the backs as receivers, there should be 30 or so touches for Crowell and West to split each week. Last season, HC Mike Pettine was handing out touches based on practice performance, so Crowell's current ADP (in the 5th round) seems steep given his uncertain workload and Cleveland's projected offensive struggles.
A breakthrough season would be improving on the 84 receptions for 758 yards and 5 TDs he had last year as a rookie. There’s a good chance that happens now that TE Charles Clay and WRs Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson are gone. Tannehill is familiar with Landry, and Landry showed he’s got good NFL skills. He’s got good hands and can get YAC (Yards After Catch).
Landry was the #42 WR in standard formats and #30 in PPR, so as a high-volume slot receiver, he's going to have more value in PPR formats. The Dolphins lost four of their top six most-targeted players: Mike Wallace, Charles Clay, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson. They have been replaced by Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron, but Landry's role should expand as well. He only played 62 percent of the snaps on the season, and didn't start playing consistent starter's snaps until Week 9. Over the final nine weeks, Landry was the #15 WR in PPR formats (and #23 in standard). He is currently the 24th WR off the board in early PPR drafts.
Bowe should start opposite Brian Hartline with Andrew Hawkins manning the slot. He hasn't finished in the top 40 since 2011, and while his QB play in Kansas City wasn't great, it's not like Josh McCown is an upgrade over Alex Smith. We're expecting more disappointing numbers from Bowe in 2015.
Stills has been extremely efficient in his short career, posting the #1 FP/target (in both formats) as a rookie. He followed that up with a #9 (PPR) finish in the same category last season. Some of this has to do with the productivity of the Saints’ passing game, but Stills was by far the most productive wideout in New Orleans the last two seasons. He joins a Miami receiving corps that is in transition. Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline are gone, so there are starter’s snaps available opposite Jarvis Landry. It’s definitely a quarterback downgrade, though he should see an uptick from the 5.5 T/G he averaged in 2014.
Update: He signed a two-year, $6 million contract.
After averaging 132 targets in the previous two seasons, Hartline's looks were cut in half in 2014 with the emergence of rookie WR Jarvis Landry. Hartline averaged 75 catches for 1,050 yards from 2012-2013, so he gives the Browns a functional, starter-caliber receiver. If this doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, it's because it wasn't meant to be. Hartline may be able to provide 70+ catches and 1,000 yards, but he only has 12 touchdowns in 92 career games, so he'll be more useful in PPR formats than in standard leagues.
Brian Hartline has been released, the Palm Beach Post has confirmed.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 10:28am
Change is coming for the Dolphins at the receiver position. Miami was ranked 17th in passing with 233.1 yards per game last season, and the immediate futures of several veterans are in question. Starting receiver Brian Hartline and slot Brandon Gibson could be salary-cap casualties due to their $5.95 million and $3.26 million salaries, respectively. The Dolphins must also decide what to do with No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace, who is due $9.9 million. Wallace was benched in the second half of Miami’s Week 17 loss to the New York Jets due to venting his frustration. It remains to be seen if both sides stay together or part ways. Either way, the Dolphins need to have a strong group of receivers around quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is entering his fourth season.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee, probable) took limited practice reps all week and is probable for Week 14.
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 5:59pm
Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) took limited practice reps again Thursday.
Friday, October 17, 2014, 6:20pm
Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (finger, probable) was limited Friday after taking full reps earlier in the week and is probable for Week 7. It’s a downgrade for Hartline, but it looks like will play against the Bears. Jarvis Landry appears to be the better start at this point.
Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:09pm
Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (back) was removed from the injury report Friday. Hartline was a top 30 option last year, but has yet to make much of an impact in 2014.
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:30pm
Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (back) took full practice reps again Thursday. Hartline has gotten off to a slow start after a top 30 season last year. He should be fine to face the Chiefs.
- Page 1