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Marcus Mariota being tutored by coach the Browns are hiring

Playoff Championship Ohio St Oregon Football

Oregon’s Marcus Mariota during the first half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Ohio State Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AP

As part of the latest collective bargaining agreement, strict limits were placed on the amount of and type of work NFL coaches could do with players in the offseason.

Of course, if they aren’t exactly NFL coaches or NFL players yet, it seems there’s a loophole.

According Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, quarterback prospect Marcus Mariota is working with private quarterback tutor Kevin O’Connell.

O’Connell, who did the same thing for Johnny Manziel a year ago, is going to be hired by the Browns as quarterbacks coach. But that move hasn’t been announced by the team yet, allowing him access to Mariota he might not otherwise have.

Mariota has been working out with O’Connell in San Diego, preparing for next week’s Scouting Combine. Another noted quarterback tutor, George Whitfield, is also there working with Jameis Winston and Bryce Petty.

The Browns have used first-round picks on quarterbacks in two of the last three drafts. But Brandon Weeden’s in Dallas now and Manziel’s in rehab, so the idea that they might want to make a move for Mariota makes some degree of sense, at least in a Browns sort of way.

They currently own the 12th and 19th picks in the NFL Draft, which would give them enough ammunition to move up to the top four or five picks in the order.

The Browns clearly need to upgrade the position in some fashion, whether by free agency or the draft, so the idea that they might be thinking of making a move for Mariota has to be considered.

Although dragging their feet to announce the hiring of his personal tutor might also be the coaching equivalent of text messages from the press box, something that others might take a dim view of, in the interest of competitive balance.