Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: What's in store for secondary after Calvin Pryor trade?

We're tackling six questions after six OTAs in this "Happy June!" edition of the Browns Mailbag. [



The Browns claimed Marcus Martin during the offseason. He was the center for Cody Kessler in college. Why do we not hear about him? - David A., Gloucester, Virginia

We had a story on Martin shortly after he was claimed off waivers from the 49ers. He's one of the more experienced centers on Cleveland's roster but is currently in a cluster behind JC Tretter, who was signed as a free agent in March, as the Browns go through OTAs. The Browns were short on centers last season because of a variety of circumstances but shouldn't face the same problem this year. Tretter and Martin represent two of the eight players on Cleveland's 90-man roster who are either currently considered to be a center or have played the position in the past. It promises to be a jam-packed competition for these players, Martin certainly included, as they look to land a spot on the 53-man roster.

Do the Browns expect Joel Bitonio to be full go from his injury? Or will we not see him much until training camp opens? -- Paul W., Hawaii

Bitonio has been working his way back in methodical fashion as he recovers from foot surgery. He spent his entire offseason in Cleveland and has made significant progress. What that means for the rest of OTAs and training camp is unclear. The one and only goal is to get Bitonio completely ready for the start of the season.

"It is the doctors' decision," Bitonio said in April. "I am just trying to do everything that I can to be ready to go when they give me the green light."

Last year the Browns lined up in some strange formations before shifting pre-snap. What benefit came from this and should we expect this tactic to continue? -- David S., Akron

This has been a common thread of Hue Jackson's offense during his years as a coordinator and coach. It'd be a major change for it to just completely go away in 2017. Leave it to a rookie, second-round quarterback DeShone Kizer, to best explain the benefits of these shifts and movements, which sometimes puts a player like Joe Thomas out at wide receiver for a second or two.

"This offense has the ability to step up there, show you a bunch of different looks really quickly and the ball is snapped before you're even set," Kizer said last week. "It's hard in this league, you find out quickly, to get an edge on defense. For us, our edge is going to be able to get up there and make those guys on the other side of the ball communicate as much as they possibly can and get the ball snapped right away and play ball. In order to do so, you really have to understand your job and all 11 guys have to understand their job so they don't have to think as much."

It has been indicated that Jason McCourty could switch to safety - how difficult is this to do and beat those specialists to the position for the starting role? -- Paul F., Northampton, England

The difficulty depends on the player and the situation. McCourty is confident in his ability to make the switch to a position he hasn't played since college. He's been in the NFL for eight years, experienced a number of different defenses and has a firm grasp on what is expected from a safety on a play-by-play basis. He's seen a handful of players in his situation, most notably future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, make the transition seamlessly. If that's where the Browns ultimately decide to play him, McCourty will be ready and should be considered a top competitor for playing time.

"Position-wise, football that is kind of what I do," McCourty said. "Learning it and being able to go out there and play, that is the easy part of it."

The move to safety just hasn't happened yet, and Thursday's addition of Calvin Pryor gives the Browns another experienced safety in a group that is, overall, very light on it. McCourty has worked as a cornerback and could still have a major impact on the defense as its third cornerback. Gregg Williams' defense includes plenty of nickel, and a player such as Jamar Taylor could certainly slide to that position in those scenarios. McCourty assured he'll be prepared either way.

Typically the Browns carry three tight ends on the final 53. With the hype around Taylor McNamara, is it feasible they go into the season with two rookies and second-year Seth DeValve? -- Jay C., Columbus

Feasible? Sure. But it's way too early to count out someone like Randall Telfer, who proved to be highly valuable as a blocker last season. The Browns used plenty of two tight end sets in 2016, and Telfer was included in a number of them because of that facet of his game.

Please show how to pronounce the following Browns' player's last names plus Peppers' first name: David Njoku, Gabe Ikard, Kai Nacua, Larry Ogunjobi, Kenneth Olugbode, Emmanuel Ogbah, Jabrill Peppers. -- Ron T., Rochester, Michigan

Jabrill (juh-BRILL) Peppers

David Njoku (nuh-JOE-koo)

Gabe Ikard (EYE-curd)

Kai Nacua (nah-KOO-ah)

Larry Ogunjobi (OH-gun-JOE-bee)

Kenneth Olugbode (oh-lew-BO-day)

Emmanuel Ogbah (AWG-buh)

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