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What we learned from Wednesday's OTAs

Putting his lightning-rod Vegas jaunt in the rear-view mirror, Johnny Manziel got down to business on Wednesday in Cleveland.


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After taking third-team reps with the offense last week, the Browns rookie quarterback hopscotched a yet-to-be-cleared Brian Hoyer to run with the starters during 11-on-11s, per NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala.

Without reading too much into May snaps, it only strengthens our core belief: Manziel will own this job come September.

It's impossible to ignore the tilt of Kyle Shanahan's offense, which -- after Wednesday's session -- left Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer to remark: "It's for Johnny Manziel."

Leaning heavily on boot and rollout concepts he drew up for Robert Griffin III in Washington, Shanny is ostensibly designing an attack for a mobile signal-caller.

After swatting away Johnny Football's minxstress-filled weekend as "overblown," Browns coach Mike Pettine confirmed to USA Today that the rookie, indeed, has a shot to start Week 1.

"Absolutely," Pettine said. "We're going into training camp with an open mind."

Here's what else we learned Wednesday as 31 teams frolicked through OTAs:

1. Something's amiss in Florham Park. After Rex Ryan insisted Wednesday that "competition" exists at the quarterback position, Michael Vick disagreed, saying: "Nah, it's not an open competition."

Ducks in a row, people.

ESPN's Rich Cimini noted that Vick "sounded brainwashed" talking about his duel with general manager John Idzik's hand-picked passer, Geno Smith.

Remember, before he hit the open market, Vick was insistent that he wanted an opportunity to start for his next team. Gang Green reportedly promised that chance, but Vick, of late, has made it clear to the press that Smith has in-house backing. As Dan Hanzus wrote last week, "Vick sounds like he knows something the rest of us don't."

2. There's less drama across town, where nothing has changed under center for the Giants. Just seven weeks removed from ankle surgery, Eli Manning took first-team snaps in Ben McAdoo's new up-tempo scheme, according to Big Blue's official website. Also back in action: David Wilson. The third-year running back hasn't been cleared for contact following last season's neck surgery, but saw reps Wednesday in the backfield and returning kicks.

3. New Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi got his first look at Calvin Johnson, who resumed practicing in Detroit after offseason knee and finger surgeries. "You've got to be careful not to be a fan when you're watching him," said Lombardi, just a tad bit awestruck over the notion of a fully-operational Megatron.

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4. In Buffalo, rookie pass-catcher Sammy Watkins rolled with the No. 1s and put on a show, according to the team's official website. The fourth overall selection hauled in throws of 12 and 15 yards before dropping jaws with an acrobatic sky-high grab of an EJ Manuel heave. The rookie's finest move of the day? Signing a four-year pact that will pay him a guaranteed $19.94 million.

5. More from Upstate New York, where Bills coach Doug Marrone told reporters that a trio of starters went under the knife this offseason. Pass rusher Mario Williams (hip), linebacker Kiko Alonso (hip) and wide receiver Robert Woods (ankle) are all on the mend and sitting out this week's OTAs.

6. Also on the injury front: Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield won't participate in Washington's OTAs after undergoing offseason sports-hernia surgery. ... Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski told reporters Wednesday that his surgically repaired knee is "coming along good," but he's "just getting healthy on the side" of New England's offseason sessions. ... Panthers signal-caller Cam Newton threw on the sideline but did little else during Carolina's Wednesday workout, per The Charlotte Observer.

7. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" that the Cowboys will take a close look at in-house options DeVonte Holloman, Anthony Hitchens and Justin Durant as potential replacements for Sean Lee at middle linebacker.

8. Vernon Davis is giving up a lot of gwap.

9. The Dolphins are content to keep a beefed-up Dion Jordan at defensive end, but Koa Misi is on the move. The quality run-stuffer is taking first-team reps at middle linebacker after four seasons in South Beach on the outside, per The Miami Herald. "We certainly feel like he's a guy that is capable," said coach Joe Philbin of the switch. If Misi sticks, the expensive Dannell Ellerbe likely would man the weak-side role with Philip Wheeler taking over at the Sam spot.

10. Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus brushed off the felony drug charges he's facing, telling reporters, per ESPN.com: "It's not what you guys think. The media put things out there the wrong way." General manager Doug Whaley acknowledged this month the Bills were "disappointed" with the Pro Bowl defensive tackle, but after participating in Wednesday's session, Dareus said his coaches "believe in me."

11. Clipboard Jesus lost an arm-wrestling scrap. We wept.

12. Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel hinted Wednesday that J.J. Watt will line up outside and even stand up on the edge of Houston's front seven. Look for the Texans to unleash a Bill Belichick-inspired multiple scheme that makes use of No. 1 overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney.

13. Chris Johnson took to Twitter to convince the Jets to make a run for agitated All-Pro wideout Andre Johnson. Social media channels: Not the best way to communicate with a Glacier.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks down the news and discusses players who could be summertime trade targets.

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