NFL Wire News

Bowe believes he can be Browns beacon as ball-catcher


The Sports Xchange

BEREA, Ohio — Since taking over as Cleveland Browns general manager in the winter of 2014, Ray Farmer has steadfastly maintained a team does not need to make a wide receiver the centerpiece of the offense.

Farmer can point to Calvin Johnson in Detroit and the Lions’ lack of team success to support his point. He put his words into action in the two drafts he conducted by not taking a wide receiver at any point in 2014 and waiting until the fourth round to take Vince Mayle of Washington State in 2015.

Combining 2014 and 2015, Mayle was the 50th wide receiver drafted over two years.

Dwayne Bowe, who led the NFL with 15 touchdown catches in 2010 as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, is as close to a No. 1 receiver as the Browns have.

Bowe, however, did not catch a touchdown pass with the Chiefs last year. Neither did any of the Kansas City wide receivers.

After missing the Browns’ first two preseason games because of a hamstring injury, Bowe started against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday.

Bowe was targeted three times and did not catch a pass. He and quarterback Josh McCown were not in sync.

“That’s a part of two guys together in a new system,” head coach Mike Pettine said. “They need to play together. (Bowe) didn’t have very much practice time. That showed up in the game. This is a tough sport to just walk out there and play.

“Those guys have to be on the same page and understand where each other is going to be. Hopefully, now that Dwayne is back, we’ll get some more quality reps with him out there with Josh.”

Bowe returned to practice on Aug. 22 after missing 17 days because of the hamstring injury.

Bowe still believes he can be the player he was for Kansas City five years ago. He and Brian Hartline, who has been steady throughout training camp and preseason, were key additions to the offense in the offseason.

Hartline played six seasons with the Miami Dolphins and has 12 touchdown catches for his career, but is not the touchdown threat Bowe could be.

The Browns returned to practice on Monday after having Sunday to recuperate. They will practice Tuesday and then head to Chicago on Wednesday to close out the preseason against the Bears.

“Hopefully, I can keep those chains moving and put us in better position to score touchdowns,” Bowe said. “You’d like to have an extra big body in the back of the end zone that you could just lob the ball to.

“But we’re doing real good moving the ball. That’s all you can ask for, just keep those chains moving and try to score points.”

Missing so much practice time was a setback, but McCown and Bowe are working to develop chemistry. It helps that McCown is in his 13th season and Bowe in his ninth.

It also helps that McCown has been working strictly with the first offense since the start of spring practice. There was no dividing time between McCown and Johnny Manziel with the first unit because from the beginning McCown was the starter and Manziel the No. 2 quarterback.

“Chemistry can never get old,” Bowe said. “The main thing is coming out here and just keep going over the repetitions, getting better at what we know how to run.

“Josh knows the routes I can run and how I can get open with the deep ball. It’s just coming out here and repping it.”

The Browns were last in the league last season with 12 touchdown catches.

Notes: Pettine said starting McCown will not play against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 3 in the preseason finale. McCown rebounded from throwing two interceptions against the Buffalo Bills in the second preseason game nicely. He was 17-of-23 for 117 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. … A hamstring injury has stalled Terrelle Pryor’s attempt to switch from quarterback to wide receiver. He did not play in any of the first three preseason games, but Pettine hopes to see Pryor against the Bears. “I don’t want to say it’s make or break,” Pettine said. “I’m not going to deal with an absolute, saying he has to play, but we want to see him out there.” … Rookie running back Duke Johnson missed the first two preseason games because of a hamstring injury and now he is out with a concussion after being injured on the third play of the second quarter in Tampa. “We’ve seen what he can do in practice and that’s important,” Pettine said.

Nine-year veteran John Greco has apparently held off a challenge from rookie Cameron Erving at right guard. “We’re going to meet and have the personnel meeting,” Pettine said. “I just think that starting five will be difficult to crack, so I would say Greco is the leader. It’s not a slight against Cam at all. We’re very encouraged with where he is and see him being a big part of what we do.

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