Back from Mobile and ready to tackle your questions after an incredibly productive week at the Senior Bowl ... [
In the North-South Senior bowl, the South had five turnovers. This seems similar to the way the Browns season went, especially if you include game-changing penalties to kill drives. Is this something that a Hue Jackson coached team has a tendency to pay less attention to than other teams? - Elmer L., Bangor, Maine
I think you're over-analyzing what was a sloppy game on both sides of the field Saturday in Mobile. Yes, the South had five turnovers, two coming on interceptions by Tiffin's Antonio Pipkin in the fourth quarter, two more on fumbles and one when quarterback Joshua Dobbs was hit as he threw. It wasn't ideal, but it also wasn't enough to prevent the South from winning. It should be noted that these are college kids from across the country who were under the Browns' watch for less than a week. It was enough time for the players to feel truly affected by what the coaches preached, but it's too small of a sample size to make all-encompassing judgments about tendencies, etc.
With the Williams and Collins deal now in place, do you think we are going to be focused on re-signing players like Bitonio, Duke and Kirksey long-term? These are the core players that fit what we are trying to do and it would be cheaper to offer contracts now before their value goes higher with their rookie contracts expiring soon. Thanks for being awesome, by the way. Love the BROWNS MAILBAG. GO BROWNS WOOF WOOF WOOF. IN HUE WE TRUST. - James M., Lorain
Those three players and more certainly qualify as young, important pieces to the roster the Browns hope to build around. Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown hasn't named specific players when discussing his goal to retain the team's talented players moving into the future, but he's been adamant about the team being better in that area. Kirksey and Bitonio, for what it's worth, are entering the fourth and final years of their rookie deals while Johnson is entering his third of four.
Will the Browns give Kevin Hogan another chance to showcase his talent at QB? I think if given a chance he might be that QB we are looking for. - David B., Raleigh, N.C.
Hogan remains part of the team heading into the offseason after a rookie year that saw him pressed into duty against the Bengals midway through the season. Cleveland saw something in Hogan after initial roster cuts and added him to the squad after he parted ways with Kansas City. The quarterback position is wide open, so Hogan is among those in the mix until further notice.
If resigning Terrelle Pryor does not happen, do you see the Browns using a high pick on another WR? - Brent J., Ohio
Losing Pryor to another team would certainly increase the need at the position but it's too early to speculate on how and where that would be addressed. According to CBSSports.com, three wide receivers -- Mike Williams (Clemson), Corey Davis (Western Michigan) and John Ross (Washington) -- are projected as first-round picks while a few others -- Curtis Samuel (Ohio State), DeDe Westbrook (Oklahoma), Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington) and Malachi Dupre (LSU) -- are slated as second-rounders. In the free agent market, Chicago's Alshon Jeffery, Washington's Pierre Garcon and Baltimore's Kamar Aiken are among the biggest names.
All that said … the Browns are working hard to retain their upcoming free agents, Pryor very much included. There's a month-plus before free agency officially begins March 9.
"I hope all of our players want to be back," Browns coach Hue Jackson said last week at the Senior Bowl. "That's the kind of environment we're trying to create but as he's done, he's gotta do what he needs to do and we hope it all works out. We're working our tails off, I know that, to make things happen. As long as our organization is putting our best foot forward, hopefully great things will happen."
In your opinion is there a young standout special teamer on the roster? Someone who can make big tackles? A big special team tackle can spark the defense and tip the scales in a close game. - Brian H., Mansfield
Three quick ones come to mind after their performance last season: LB Joe Schobert, WR Ricardo Louis and LB Dominique Alexander. All three rookies took on major responsibilities on special teams and showed progress throughout the season. Schobert led all players with 14 special teams tackles while Alexander and Louis chipped in with nine and eight, respectively.