The Browns addressed nearly every position on the roster in the first month of free agency. Quarterback wasn’t one of them.
New general manager Ray Farmer’s only moves at the game’s most important position were releasing Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell, who combined to start 13 games last year.
Brian Hoyer, who started the other three, and Alex Tanney, who’s never taken an NFL snap, are the only quarterbacks on the roster. Hoyer is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in October.
New coach Mike Pettine has said repeatedly the Browns must address the quarterback position. At least one will come in the draft in May, and Pettine was asked Wednesday on a conference call if the team could go into the season without adding a veteran.
“That decision hasn’t been made,” he said.
The Browns were interested in Houston’s Matt Schaub before he was traded to Oakland. Rex Grossman, who has a long history with coordinator Kyle Shanahan, has been repeatedly mentioned as a veteran backup, but he hasn’t been signed and the offseason program began Monday.
First on the agenda is whether to add a quarterback before the first veteran minicamp April 29.
“We’re going to sit down with Ray and just kind of go over our needs,” Pettine said. “And if that’s something where we feel that we need to add someone for that camp we will, and if it’s something that we feel we can make it through given the number of repetitions and who we have here, then we’ll go that way.”
Hoyer said again Tuesday he’s ahead of schedule in his rehab. His participation level for the minicamp hasn’t been decided.
“I know he’s progressing very well,” Pettine said. “I do know that he will be available at least on a limited basis, but to the exact extent of what he can do drill work-wise and whether we can extrapolate that out and have him do some 11-on-11 stuff, that question hasn’t been answered yet.”
Pettine said the Browns are confident Hoyer’s on track to be recovered before the season starts. That doesn’t mean Pettine’s comfortable with his quarterbacks.
“We feel good about where he is. But certainly when you look at where he is and Alex Tanney being the only other quarterback, that is a position, as I’ve said before, that we need to address,” he said.
The Browns will play in primetime in the second week of the preseason, facing the Redskins in Washington on Aug. 18 on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” The Browns haven’t been on ESPN since 2009.
The Browns will open at Detroit the weekend of Aug. 7-10 and play their last two exhibition games at home in the renovated FirstEnergy Stadium, vs. St. Louis Aug. 21-24 and vs. Chicago on Aug. 28.
The exact dates will be known soon, and the league is expected to release the regular-season schedule this month.
Pettine is a rookie NFL head coach, so it was a noteworthy occasion Monday when he addressed his team for the first time.
“I talked to a lot of coaches about that first speech,” he said. “It was really a special moment for me to stand in front of them. It was more the philosophy and background and how we’re going to do things. I gave them a little bit of a history lesson on the state of the franchise and where we are. We looked back briefly and then told them we need to take the rear-view mirror and break it off. We’re facing forward and that’s the direction we’re headed.”
He termed the turnout for the first days of the voluntary program “solid.”