Browns may use Manziel in a specialty package

For a guy who lived through the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow debacle in New York, Browns coach Mike Pettine doesn’t seem to be concerned about his quarterback competition in Cleveland becoming a potential two-man show.  In fact, it looks like that’s what Pettine wants.

During his interview with Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, Pettine said that the team is considering using Manziel as a Wildcat-style change-of-pace in his rookie year.

We’ve already talked about it,” Pettine said regarding the possibility of using both Manziel and Brian Hoyer in the same game.
“We’ve already installed elements of it in the spring.  We ran some of the zone-read stuff in practice and Kyle [Shanahan] incorporated some of the mobile quarterback elements of what he did in Washington.  We’re still going to go back to the beginning in pads, but as we get going, some of the stuff that’s more game-plan-specific that we don’t want to show, we might work on in our walk-throughs as opposed to a public practice.”

Pettine wisely didn’t point to the Sanchez-Tebow experiment as justification for doing it.

“That’s how Colin Kaepernick got his start in the NFL, as a package quarterback,” Pettine said of the former 49ers backup.  “On the other side of the ball, I’ve seen that give defenses some trouble.  I think there’s positives and negatives to it.  You’re taking your starter off the field.  You have his rhythm and continuity to take into account, but at the same time defensively you’re now forcing a team to basically come up with two game plans.  I mean, there are pluses and minuses to it and it’s something I’m sure will be discussed at some point.”

In theory, the Jets wanted Tebow because of the pressure that preparing for two quarterbacks puts on a defense.  And if former offensive coordinator Tony Sporano had any faith at all in Tebow, the Jets may have actually used him.

The Jets and Pettine nevertheless got a first-hand look at the challenge of dealing with two quarterbacks in September 2012, when Kaepernick rushed five time for 50 yards and a touchdown coming off the bench and showing the Jets how to properly employ a two-quarterback system.

If the Browns could pull it off, the dilution of the ability of the opposing defense to fully prepare for each guy could help both guys thrive.  The only downside is that, as Manziel has more and more success, more and more fans will be clamoring for him to be something other than a part-time player.

Jerry Jones was “that close” to taking Johnny Manziel

Yes, the Cowboys were close to drafting Johnny Manziel. How close?

Very close.

“I want you to know that almost as I was handing in the card, it was that close to putting that Manziel card in. It was that close,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Sunday on NFL Network, via Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I looked over to my son, Stephen . . . and I said, ‘I took the right pick. [Zack Martin] was the top player by three players on our board at the time that we were sitting there looking at [Manziel]. . . . The question was, ‘Could we make it work with Tony Romo during the period of time that we are going to have Tony?’ And by the way, my expectations are that Tony will be our quarterback several years to come as we move along.”

It’s easy for Jones to say that now. In fact, it’s necessary, given that the Cowboys didn’t pick Manziel. But if Manziel had been the pick, how many years could the Cowboys have parked him on the bench behind Romo? And how relentless would the questions have been regarding Manziel’s elevation to starter?

“Manziel is special,” Jones said. “I know him personally. I know that he is going to be a success in the National Football League, and it was a hard decision. And it is one that I will probably have for the rest of my career think about.”

Jones won’t have to personally confront the decision until 2016, when the Cowboys are due to visit Cleveland. If Romo’s back problems have forced him to retire by then and if Manziel has become a quality starter, Jones will be thinking about it a lot.

Kevin Sumlin issues challenge to Bob Stoops

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops recently took a shot at a former rival, the Texas A&M Aggies, and their soft non-conference schedule during an interview with ESPN. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin didn’t back down from the challenge when asked about Stoops’ comments.

“Coach Stoops has the right to say whatever he wants, but if he wants to play us again we’ll take him up on that,” Sumlin told aggiesports.com.

It was the perfect response from Sumlin. Not only does he avoid going tit-for-tat with Stoops, but it’s a potential opportunity to strengthen the Aggies’ schedule in the future and rekindle a playing relationship against Texas A&M’s former conference, the Big 12.

The reality is Stoops was correct in his assessment. Texas A&M doesn’t play a bunch of “toughies.”

Since Sumlin took over the program, the Aggies’ non-conference schedule has included the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, SMU Mustangs, South Carolina State Bulldogs, Sam Houston State BearKats, Rice Owls, UTEP Miners, Lamar Cardinal and ULM Warhawks.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, has scheduled the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (twice) and the Tennessee Volunteers over the same period.

The blame can’t be laid at Sumlin’s feet. Schedules are made years in advance. Even so, the programs Texas A&M scheduled were never among the country’s best. But that’s set to change in the coming years when Texas A&M plays the Arizona State Sun Devils (2015) and the UCLA Bruins (2016).

And there is still room to add the Sooners to those schedules.

Derek Holland set to begin rehab assignment this week

Rangers left-hander Derek Holland is scheduled to throw a full-effort bullpen session on Monday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. If it goes well Holland will be cleared to embark on a 30-day minor league rehab assignment later in the week, writes Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News.

His rehab debut will be at Double-A Frisco, and he will be on track to join the Texas starting rotation sometime in late August if everything goes smoothly.

Holland underwent microfracture knee surgery in January. The hope was that he’d return to help the Rangers make a postseason push, but Texas opened play Sunday in last place in the American League West standings with a record of 41-63.

The 25-year-old southpaw posted a 3.42 ERA (120 ERA+), 1.286 WHIP, and 189 strikeouts in 213 innings last season for the Rangers. He signed a five-year, $28 million contract extension in March 2012.

Walmart’s Ice Cream Sandwiches don’t melt!

Last we checked, ice cream is supposed to melt if it isn’t kept chilled. But Walmart’s store-brand ice cream sandwiches don’t even melt in the sun, according to a report from WCPO Cincinnati. The discovery was made by a local mom, Christie Watson, who noticed that a Great Value ice cream sandwich her son left out on their patio table hadn’t fully melted — even though it had been sitting out for 12 hours on an 80-degree day. Watson left a second ice cream sandwich out overnight with the same results, WCPO reports. “What am I feeding to my children?” she asked, appalled. “Ice cream melts based on the ingredients, including cream,” Walmart spokeswoman Danit Marquardt said in an email. “Ice cream with more cream will generally melt at a slower rate, which is the case with our Great Value ice cream sandwiches.” But as Business Insider reports, the product also contains a number of additives:

WCPO conducted an experiment of their own, leaving out a third Walmart sandwich alongside a Klondike bar and a pint of Haagen Dazs ice cream. The Haagen Dazs ice cream — which contains only cream, milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla, and no gums — melted fastest. The Klondike bar melted, too.

“The Walmart sandwich, though it melted a bit, remained the most solid in appearance, and still looked like a sandwich,” the station reported.

One word: EW.

Broadcaster Nadel humbled by HOF honor

Eric Nadel almost didn’t become a baseball broadcaster, but when he was offered a major league job while working in minor league hockey, he had to take it.

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Longtime Texas Rangers radio voice Eric Nadel continued to pinch himself Saturday, one day after he was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award winner.

Nadel’s enshrinement, along with that of The New Yorker writer Roger Angell, helped kick off a weekend full of Hall of Fame events. Former players Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas, along with former managers Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox, will be enshrined Sunday.

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Female student accuses Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon of breaking her face with one punch

A female student at Oklahoma is accusing incoming freshman running back Joe Mixon of breaking her face in four places with one punch during an incident at a restaurant early Friday morning, according to a report.

No arrests have been made in the situation and police are only investigating the claims of the 20-year-old woman, The Oklahoman reports.

The newspaper spoke with the alleged victim, who said Mixon was “harassing” her and some of her friends at a cafe before the incident.

“He punched me one time. He broke my face in four places … my nose, my sinuses … they’re broken,” the alleged victim told The Oklahoman.

The woman is speaking out despite fear of backlash from the school’s football fans, saying she wants him to go to jail.

“That’s what he deserves,” she said. “I don’t care if he’s the star running back or not.”

Mixon was a highly-touted recruit out of Northern California. He committed to the Sooners in January after also considering UCLA, USC, Cal and Wisconsin.