Browns Mailbag

Presented by

Browns Mailbag: How close are Browns to finalizing starters on offensive line?

We survived the first full week of the Cleveland Browns summer vacation.

Did you?

It’s a four-question Friday for those who did.

With all the buzz surrounding the Cleveland Browns this year, and depending on how well they start the season, does the schedule ever change where the Browns can be moved to say a primetime Sunday night game from a Sunday afternoon during the regular season? -- John R., Columbus

Yes, this is a definite possibility for the Browns, especially during the second half of the season. For the Browns, this could, in theory, happen as early as Week 6, when they host the Seahawks. The NFL can begin moving its games around -- within certain limitations, of course -- at the start of Week 5. Cleveland’s Monday Night Football game at San Francisco that week, though, is locked into its time slot. The NFL can move as many as two games to primetime during Weeks 5-10 and then has free reign the rest of the way, so long as a decision is made no fewer than 12 days before the game’s scheduled kickoff. That last part doesn’t apply Week 17, which traditionally comes together just six days in advance.

As it stands today, the Browns have four games scheduled for primetime -- Week 2 at Jets (Monday), Week 3 vs. Rams (Sunday), Week 5 at 49ers (Monday) and Week 11 vs. Steelers (Thursday) -- and none can be flexed out of their spots.

Check out the best photos of last week's Browns Minicamp by team photographer Matt Starkey

Haven't heard too much about our linebackers. How did Takitaki look during minicamp? And where do you see him playing? -- Troy S., Salem

Sione Takitaki typically lined up in the traditional Sam linebacker spot with the third-team defense throughout minicamp. He was mostly on the field with fellow rookie Mack Wilson. The usual suspects Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey worked with the first defense while free agent signing Adarius Taylor and veteran Ray-Ray Armstrong were with the second group. For a player like Takitaki, training camp, when the pads go on, will be the time to shine.

“The biggest thing with young guys coming in is just their ability to get aligned and communicate,” Browns linebackers coach Al Holcomb said. “They're oftentimes concerned with obviously what their job is, but in this defense they have to understand the big picture and what everybody's doing around them so they can understand where they need to fit in the puzzle, so to speak.

“I think they're both physical football players. Both smart, intelligent. They play with their hair on fire. Those guys run to the ball and I believe that once we get the pads on, we'll see a little bit more of what they're capable of doing."

There is so much talent on this roster that I'm wondering how many we can retain on a practice squad and could we lose them if we do that? Just thinking of injuries and how nice it would be to have a great replacement step right in. -- James S., Hamilton

Each NFL team gets a practice squad that can have as many as 10 players. Six of the 10 players can’t have been on an active roster for more than six games or on a 46-man active gameday roster for more than nine games. As many as four players on the practice squad can have as much as two accrued seasons. At any point in time, a player can be signed off a practice squad by another team to put on its 53-man roster. That team has to provide the player with a minimum of three game checks even if it opts to release the player before that period comes to an end.

Austin Corbett is rotating with other guards. Should we be worried? -- Gurjit S., Rocklin, California

Corbett’s status was a hot topic at minicamp because of his ongoing rotation at right guard and center. Some assumed Corbett, in the wake of the Kevin Zeitler trade, would simply slide in with the first team and take every snap with the unit. That’s just not how coach Freddie Kitchens and offensive line coach James Campen want to handle it.

Corbett was one of three players to receive first-team snaps at right guard during minicamp, joining Kyle Kalis and Eric Kush in the rotation. Corbett also took snaps at center behind JC Tretter on days when he wasn’t the first-team right guard. That’s likely to continue at the start of training camp, and Campen made it clear in an interview with Cleveland Browns Daily the team will use the time it has on its side to figure out which group is the best for Cleveland’s success on offense.

Not only are the Browns trying to find who’s best at right guard, but they’re also looking for multiple, trustworthy options at backup center and other depth spots.

“They know it’s open until then. Every position is open until then,” Campen said. “I don’t believe in rewarding anyone anything. When that gets awarded it’s by the head football coach that lists the starting lineup. There’s always a starting point. Of course there is. People have to understand, don’t count the hats, don’t count your reps. Just go. Put your head down and roll.”

Campen and teammates of Corbett have had nothing but positive things to say about the second-year offensive lineman. Just because he hasn’t taken every single first-team snap doesn’t mean he’s veering off the path Cleveland sees him following toward an eventual longtime spot in the starting lineup.

“For him to have an opportunity now with the other guys, that’s a big thing. He’s taken every opportunity to it,” Campen said. “He certainly is a very strong-minded kid. Another high character kid. This guy’s a class act and he works his tail off, smart kid, does what he’s asked. He tries everything.”

Related Content

Advertising