Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: What are Gary Barnidge's chances of ultimately landing in the Pro Bowl?

The Browns' coaching search is in its 10th day, and only one vacancy has been filled around the NFL.

It's a process that doesn't move nearly as fast as fans would prefer. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam stressed last week he and the rest of the members of the search committee wouldn't rush into a hire because of it's too important to approach it that way.

While we continue to wait, how about some mailbag questions?

What are Gary Barnidge's chances of making the Pro Bowl? - Peter, Strongsville

Barnidge, after one of the best seasons ever by a Browns tight end, is listed as an alternate for the 2016 Pro Bowl. It's unclear where he is in the pecking order of alternates, but he's among a group of productive tight ends who felt similarly snubbed after piling up big numbers in 2015. Joining Barnidge are the likes of Tennessee's Delanie Walker (94 receptions, 1,088 yards, 6 TDs), Washington's Jordan Reed (87 receptions, 952 yards, 11 TDs), Dallas' Jason Witten (77 receptions, 713 yards, 3 TDs) and New Orleans' Benjamin Watson (74 receptions, 825 yards, 6 TDs). Clearly, it was a big year for tight ends when the none of the top three in receptions -- Walker, Reed and Barnidge -- make the initial cut for the Pro Bowl.

Working in Barnidge's favor is three of the four to make the Pro Bowl -- Kansas City's Travis Kelce, New England's Rob Gronkowski and Carolina's Greg Olsen -- are still in the playoffs. Because Kansas City and New England play each other, it's a guarantee one of them will be available for the Pro Bowl. Cincinnati's Tyler Eifert was eliminated from the playoffs last week and is able to make the trip to Hawaii. If a player makes the Super Bowl, he can't play in the Pro Bowl.

The Super Bowl, of course, isn't the main thing that keeps players out of the Pro Bowl. Injuries are what mostly lead a player like Barnidge to a roster spot, and there's no way to predict that sort of thing with the players in front of him. Gronkowski and Eifert both missed chunks of games this season because of injuries.

Last year Marcus Marotta was the consensus No. 1 pick. Jared Goff is identical to Marotta in every way. Goff may be more accurate. Why isn't he deemed a no-brainer pick for Browns? -- Dan G., Fairview Park

I'm going to have to disagree with you on a couple of points here. Only a handful of folks considered Mariota the best quarterback in last year's draft, and that's why he landed second overall with the Titans, one spot after Florida State's Jameis Winston was selected. I'm also going to disagree with the notion Mariota and Goff are identical. Goff finished with negative rushing yardage in each of his three seasons at Cal while Mariota ended his Oregon career with more than 2,200. Also, Mariota's completion percentage in his final season was four percentage points better than Goff's this past year (64.5).

That's in no way discrediting Goff, who is considered by many to be the best available quarterback in this year's draft class. I'm just not ready to compare him to Mariota, who threw for 2,818 yards and ran for 252 in 12 games as a rookie with the Titans.

What's the chance the Browns will break " tradition " and put a design on their helmets? After all, tradition since 1999 isn't something to write home about (even before that, 'cept a couple eras ), and I believe originally they had their numbers on the sides of the helmets. - Tom F., West Mansfield

When the Browns wrapped up their years of research before changing their uniforms, one thing was made abundantly clear: Fans did not want the team to mess with the helmet. The Browns have never had a logo on their helmet since they became a franchise in 1946 and only wore numbers on the side from 1957-60.

What are the chances we keep John DeFilippo as our offensive coordinator? That seems like it would give us the continuity needed to build off of the progress we made this season. I think he did a great job overall and with a couple more weapons, I only see it improving. Is that even plausible? - L.J. B, Bristol, Tennessee

It's plausible, but nothing's a certainty at this point in the process. Last week, Haslam said some coaches would be asked to stay during the search but he did not specify which ones. It will become more clear whenever the head coach is hired.

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