We’re enjoying a few hours away from the Browns practice fields on this first off day of training camp but we’re hard at work behind the computer with a full batch of questions to tackle.
The Browns Mailbag won’t run in its typical spot throughout the preseason. Instead, we’ll be digging through it on the team’s off days, and it starts now.
How many WRs will the Browns keep on the 53-man roster? Who makes the cut and who is on the bubble? -- Brent H., Cambridge
I’m not yet ready to start making cuts and handing out stripes, and neither are the Browns. The team is one-third of the way through training camp and still has more than a week before its first preseason game. Alas, there’s been a lot happening at the wide receiver position since training camp opened Thursday, so we have a little more clarity -- and still plenty of uncertainty -- than we did just five days ago.
Here’s what we know:
- Jarvis Landry, acquired in a trade with the Dolphins and signed to a lucrative contract extension, has been every bit as good as advertised. He set a tone in OTAs and it’s carried over to training camp. His chemistry with Tyrod Taylor is already strong and he appears poised to be used in every fashion under the sun.
- Josh Gordon has yet to report to training camp and it’s uncertain when he will. Browns players, coaches and the team’s owners have offered their full support to him and are focused more on Gordon, the person, than the football player.
- Ricardo Louis, who led all Browns wide receivers in receptions and yards last year, is out for the season.
- Corey Coleman and Rashard Higgins are using their respective struggles during their first two seasons as motivation entering a pivotal year for both. The last two practices gave Browns coaches a glimpse at their potential and they enter the off day with a little bit of momentum and reason for confidence.
- Fourth-round rookie Antonio Callaway has been healthy and active, getting plenty of opportunities with the first-team offense when the team goes three-wide.
- Jeff Janis, who was signed in the offseason after four seasons in Green Bay, has been sidelined with a knee injury.
- Damion Ratley, a sixth-round pick, missed a couple of practices with a hip injury but returned Sunday. He typically runs with the second-team offense.
- C.J. Board continues to make a lot of plays for the second- and third-team offense. Derrick Willies and Da’Mari Scott have received a lot of repetitions because of the aforementioned attrition.
That’s a long way of telling you there’s a long way to go. Teams typically keep five or six when they chop the roster to 53. The Browns have a lot of variables to consider and a lot of players vying for those final spots when it comes time to make the tough decisions.
Do you think if Baker Mayfield has a fantastic preseason, where he looks like a No. 1 pick, could you see him starting Week 1? -- Darien W., Chicago
Even after five days of practice in which Mayfield looked very good and much improved from what we saw in the spring, Browns coach Hue Jackson was adamant on this point. Tyrod Taylor, who has been very good himself, is the starter.
“Baker Mayfield is doing great. Tyrod Taylor is doing great,” Jackson said. “This thing is going to play out just like I told you it would. I am not going to change.”
Are Greg Robinson's problems correctable before the season starts or is is too late in his life to re-learn? -- Mark A., Ontario, California
Robinson, the former No. 2 pick, has struggled to live up to the lofty expectations that come with being such a high draft selection, but he has far and away the most starting experience -- 48 games -- than the rest of his competition. The Browns just need him back on the field to gauge whether he can be a serious contender for the job. Robinson was running with the second-team offense behind Shon Coleman before he suffered a concussion.
“He’s a real good athlete,” offensive line coach Bob Wylie said Sunday. “Now his passion to come in and play and take over a spot, you’ve got to see that. That’s what I’m looking for. Tell me why you want to take that spot.”
Will the Browns finally debut their color rush jerseys this year? -- Kit W., Red Bluff, California
Yes, and you might just see them more than once.
When will the Browns have their Orange and Brown scrimmage this summer? -- Bob R., Newbury
Because of events at FirstEnergy Stadium, the Browns weren’t able to have the Orange and Brown scrimmage in its typical fashion this year. They’ll scrimmage Friday in front of fans at the team’s headquarters in Berea.