BEREA, Ohio (AP) – The Browns believe Johnny Manziel’s sore elbow could be the result of his slinging arm motion, something they won’t try to change.
Manziel did not throw any passes during practice Monday, the second time in two weeks that Cleveland’s celebrated backup quarterback has been withheld from drills because of elbow pain. The Browns don’t think Manziel has a serious injury and two days of rest should help.
However, the club conceded that Manziel’s injury could be attributed to his occasional side-arm delivery.
“You see him three-quarters at times, and sometimes that’s a lot of pressure on the elbow and shoulder,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said. “I won’t say it’s the wrong way to throw a football because I’ve seen a lot of successful quarterbacks throw the ball like that. That’s part of the reason why Johnny can get the ball out of his hand so fast. He has that whip release.
“At times, that will put a lot of stress on your elbow.”
Manziel’s elbow flared up during practice Sunday, when he left the field following a completion pointing at his arm. He only participated in hand-off drills Monday and watched as fellow QBs Josh McCown and Thad Lewis threw passes.
The team is hoping the break – the Browns also have a scheduled day off Tuesday – will revive Manziel’s arm. DeFilippo and coach Mike Pettine believe the high number of repetitions during training camp have worsened Manziel’s elbow issue.
Pettine said at this point that Manziel will not undergo an MRI.
“I think we have a pretty good feel that just the days’ rest will be enough,” Pettine said, “and if it is not, we will deal with it accordingly.”
Pettine is hopeful that Manziel, who has had a strong training camp as he tries to rebound from a rough rookie year, will play Saturday night at Tampa Bay.
DeFilippo, a former NFL quarterbacks coach, said Manziel’s problem is normal.
“Johnny has probably got what 30 or 40 percent of the other quarterbacks in the league have right now – sore elbows, sore shoulders,” he said. “There’s a lot of wear and tear on those guys in terms of their arm. Those guys have been throwing footballs since they’ve been young guys.”
DeFilippo and Pettine both said Manziel’s elbow issues may be related to how he throws, but there are no plans to alter his mechanics.
“At this point in his career, we’re not going to try to change his throwing motion,” Pettine said. “That’s an advantage that he has. There are times he’ll change his arm angle to make a throw. If you stick with your traditional throwing motion, the ball might get knocked down. You’ve got a guy in your way, you’ve got an outstretched arm, you want to go ahead and drop the ball down a little bit and make a throw.
“We just have to be mindful of it and when he does get sore, shut him down. But if that’s what made him successful, it’s something that you don’t want to tinker with. It’s an advantage as long as you can manage it.”
Manziel’s elbow soreness has been the only major glitch in an otherwise smooth second preseason for the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, who is expected to begin the season backing up McCown.
Although Pettine hasn’t officially chosen McCown as the Week 1 starter against the New York Jets, the 36-year-old hasn’t done anything to change the pecking order.
DeFilippo has been pleased with Manziel’s progress.
“He’s a new guy,” he said. “I think his overall understanding of the game and what we’re trying to do has changed drastically. I really think that. He understands protections, he’s making the calls.”
NOTES: WR Terrelle Pryor missed another practice with a nagging hamstring injury. Pettine has stressed the importance of the former QB getting healthy and on the field, and DeFilippo reiterated that Pryor’s time is running short to make the roster. “There’s got to be a sense of urgency from Terrelle,” he said. … Pettine said LB Barkevious Mingo, who recently underwent knee surgery, ran for the first time since the operation last weekend and could be ready by the opener.
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