By Scott Petrak
BEREA – General manager Ray Farmer sounded confident Terrelle Pryor can make the transition from quarterback to receiver.
“I was talking to the scouts this morning and one of the things I learned from an old coach is quarterbacks all have really good hands because they spend their time playing catch,” Farmer said this afternoon after the second practice of training camp. “It’s not a product of can he catch the ball, the question is if he is a good enough athlete and whether he has the skill set to learn to play receiver. I’ve seen the guy turn a broken play into a 90-yard touchdown run (as Raiders quarterback) so I know he has the speed and athleticism.
“Now he has to put two and two together to make the transition. A lot of guys in the NFL if you go back through their history, they have played quarterback at one time in their career.”
Farmer claimed Pryor off waivers June 22. The move coincided with Pryor’s decision to commit to a position switch.
Pryor is 6-foot-4, 223 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in the low-4.4s. Farmer said he also has “light feet” and that isn’t worried about his age.
But Pryor, who recently turned 26, must show in the preseason he can contribute.
“He’s got to find a way to demonstrate he’s got the skill set necessary to play in a role that we need him to play,” Farmer said. “If he can do that and make plays and be productive, he’ll have a chance to make the football team.”
Farmer said it could be one of the “great debates” among the staff whether to keep Pryor as a “project” if he’s not ready to contribute on Sundays.
“Everything will be taken into consideration, his youth, his speed, his size, his ability and what his upside is,” Farmer said. “We’ll think about all that.”
His potential use as a quarterback won’t be a factor.
“Not at all. He’s here to play a different position,” Farmer said. “At the end of the day, he’ll make it or break it on that.”
Good palsDespite the texting scandal — he sent messages to coaches during the game last season — that earned Farmer a four-game suspension to start the season and a recent report that a rift still exists, he said he has a “great” relationship with coach Mike Pettine.
“The guy doesn’t invite you to his summer home if he’s mad at you or there’s a problem,” Farmer said. “Mike used it best, we’re singing from the same hymnal.
“The reality is that me and Mike have no issues. I can’t tell you when I’ve ever been in some knockdown, drag-out argument with the man, ever. I like Pett, think he likes me.”
Strong wordsVeteran receiver Dwayne Bowe had huge praise for 36-year-old quarterback Josh McCown.
“He’s showing all the potential of being a top-five quarterback in the NFL,” Bowe said.
McCown, who’s 17-32 as a starter, had a great second day. He found Bowe on a fly for about 50 yards and completed several intermediate outs with strong, perfectly placed throws into tight coverage. He also took off on a scramble, flashing his athleticism.
“I see him as one of the best I have (played with),” Bowe said. “He’s making great throws, smart throws and he’s mobile in the pocket, more than people think. I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people.”
Bowe also predicted big things for Pryor.
“I have never seen a quarterback transition from quarterback to receiver in two practices and do as good as he did — ever,” Bowe said. “He’s making it look so easy that he’s starting to scare me. He’s going to be really, really good. People think he’s just going to come in and be a body. But he’s actually going to play here and make plays for this team.”
Pryor made a nice reaching catch on a slant in team drills.
Other notes and observations:Backup quarterback Johnny Manziel bounced back after a rough first day.
He completed four straight passes in seven-on-sevens and had another run of completions in team drills, although defensive back Kendall James should’ve had an interception on one throw.
** The coaches are changing the offensive lineup on nearly every play so they can get a look at different combinations. The only first-team constants were McCown and the offensive line of Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, Alex Mack, John Greco and Mitchell Schwartz.
** Hall of Fame receiver Paul Warfield watched practice.
** Receiver/special teamer Marlon Moore (illness) returned after missing Thursday.
** Running back Glenn Winston (knee), linebacker Darius Eubanks (knee) and rookie cornerback Charles Gaines (hamstring) remained sidelined.