We’re hitting up five of your questions on a feel-good Tuesday before the Browns get their preparations for the Raiders really rolling.
Will Todd remove the QB running plays that were called when Tyrod was in? -- Bob R., Novelty
That’s up to Todd Haley to decide. Baker Mayfield may not have the track record of picking up first downs with his feet the way Tyrod Taylor does, but he can move when he needs to. Over four college seasons, Mayfield accumulated 1,083 rushing yards, most of which came in small chunks. Mayfield didn’t need to do it much against the Jets, but he has some shiftiness to him, especially when he’s under duress in the pocket. Haley might call a few plays differently here and there, but the general philosophy will remain the same. It’s what Mayfield absorbed throughout the offseason and executed at such a high level under pressure in his NFL debut.
“I do not know that it will be totally different,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “Baker has been here from OTAs through training camp and through the preseason. Obviously in that game, there were no plays that we changed there. He understands the system and how to play in the system. I am sure that Todd will tailor everything to his strengths. At the same time, he has handled everything that we have asked him to do thus far.”
What's up with Nick Chubb -- is he healthy or in the "Dawghouse?" Why not utilize a fresh, third back in the rotation with Hyde and Duke? I thought he was this “North and South” RB stud that could break tackles and go the distance at anytime? -- Kristen F., Dayton
Chubb’s time will come, and he’s looked good in spurts thus far, but I think it’s more of a reflection of how good Carlos Hyde has been through three games. The fifth-year veteran has scored in every game and has four touchdowns overall -- a total that puts him in a tie for first among all running backs. He’s seemingly gotten better as the game goes along, too, picking up 13 of the 15 first downs he’s tallied in the second half.
“He is everything we thought he would be,” Jackson said. “He has handled himself well too, and he is going to continue to grow and get better.”
So, after all the activity of preseason and after the Josh Gordon trade, what draft picks do the Browns have for 2019? It's a whirling dervish that's getting hard to keep up with. -- Charles C., Sheridan, Wyoming
You’re not kidding. The Browns swapped picks back and forth on four different deals dating back to early August. Here’s where it stands as of today.
-- The Browns own all of their picks in Rounds 1-6.
-- The Browns own New England’s third-round pick (Danny Shelton trade) and fifth-rounder (Josh Gordon).
-- After trading Shon Coleman to the 49ers at the end of the preseason, the Browns held three seventh-round picks -- their own, San Francisco’s and Jacksonville’s on a conditional basis (Cody Kessler trade). In the following weeks, the Browns parted with two of them, though it’s not been announced which ones went where. Assuming the conditions are met on the Jaguars’ pick -- Kessler is currently listed as the team’s backup to Blake Bortles -- the Browns hold nine 2019 picks.
-- Of note, the Browns have a 2020 sixth-rounder from Arizona (Jamar Taylor trade) and 2020 seventh-rounder (Corey Coleman trade).
First off, I can’t help you with hotel recommendations but can assure you Cleveland has many fine options. I’ve got a third-floor bedroom and a 2-year-old that will provide a guaranteed early-morning wake-up call if you’re in a pinch.
Secondly, this one’s easy. It’s the special teams. The Browns have struggled in nearly every facet so far, with punter Britton Colquitt serving as the lone pillar of consistency. Penalties have been a big problem, and they’re not just being committed by the group’s younger players. Jackson said he was making it a top priority heading into this weekend’s game at Oakland.
“I am very concerned,” Jackson said. “It is something that we sat down and had a good conversation about today. My disappointment is that it is happening with sometimes young players, sometimes veteran player. We have to sure it up. We cannot let it become the Achilles heel. We know that teams are going to scratch where it itches. Right now, that is one of the areas that is itching and we have to fix it. We have to put a Band-Aid on it as fast as we can.”
It gets a big “yay” from me, and you can bet on more apparel being available in the near future. The surge of demand for color rush gear has limited the options for now, but the effort is being made to produce more. Keep your eyes posted on ClevelandBrowns.com.
As for the rumblings about the Browns wearing them two more times … stay tuned.