AFC North Notes: Browns QBs, Whitworth

Many have already given up on Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel after a rookie season consisting of on- and off-the-field problems, but new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo still has high hopes for the 22-year-old.

“All I know is Johnny the football player, and he’s been awesome,” DeFilippo said, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “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.”

DeFilippo believes there are obvious strengths to Manziel’s game, also stating that the offense will be tailored to his skillset if he beats out likely starter Josh McCown for the No. 1 job.

“I think Johnny has a lot of traits that good quarterbacks in this league have. It’s just a matter of getting better at them,” said DeFilippo. “I’m the last guy – the last guy — that’s going to take Johnny Manziel’s athleticism away from him. I will not do that.”

While DeFilippo seems bullish on Manziel, Browns coach Mike Pettine declared McCown the favorite to start earlier this week. DeFilippo is familiar with McCown from the pair’s time in Oakland in 2007 (DeFilippo was the Raiders’ quarterbacks coach). Cabot writes that McCown mainly signed with the Browns to work with DeFilippo again. As he did with Manziel, DeFilippo spoke glowingly of the 35-year-old McCown.

“Josh has been the total guy we thought he was going to be. He has taken command of this offense and he has taken command of the room,” said DeFilippo.

Here’s more on the Browns and a couple of their AFC North rivals:

  • Cleveland didn’t draft a quarterback this year because no prospects other than Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are seen as capable of stepping in and starting by 2016, according to Tony Grossi of Grossi believes the Browns will ride out 2015 with McCown and hope to land a QB in next year’s draft, when as many as four passers could go in the first round.
  • Although the Bengals’ Andrew Whitworth has been one of the best offensive tackles in the league over the past few years, the team used its top two picks on fellow OTs Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in last week’s draft. That didn’t sit well with Whitworth, who is a year from free agency and who has pushed for a contract extension. However, he did say that he would help his two new teammates adjust to the NFL game, and still hopes to remain with the club long term, according to an Associate Press article in USA Today.
  • Browns fourth-round pick Vince Mayle will undergo surgery to repair his broken right thumb after rookie camp, writes Cabot. Mayle, who sustained the injury at the Senior Bowl in January, should be ready to go by training camp, according to Pettine. “We wanted him to come out, just see how it was, test it,” said Pettine. “Found out real quick yesterday that there’s still some lingering pain there. So, we’re going to go ahead and get it corrected.”
  • Ravens head coach John Harbaugh says that undrafted defensive back Julian Wilson will remain with the team despite being lost for the year with a broken leg, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.

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