Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: What's next for Ronnie Harrison?

It's a special Wednesday edition of the Browns Mailbag because we've got football to cover in a little more than 24 hours.

What better way to wipe away the sour taste of Sunday's game with a return to the field three days earlier than the rest of the NFL?

We're tackling three of your questions.

Should the Browns give some younger players such as Javonte Moffatt or another player such as Ronnie Harrison more playing time against the Bengals? — Rob M., Charleston, West Virginia

The Browns used both of their starting safeties Sunday for every snap on defense, as Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo joined CBs Denzel Ward and Terrance Mitchell as two of the four defensive players to play every play. Harrison was the only other safety to play, and he was on the field for two snaps. It was one game, and the matchups can drastically change from week to week, so it's impossible to speculate at this point how that breakdown will look Thursday against the Bengals.

Moffatt, an undrafted free agent out of Middle Tennessee State, remains on the practice squad after an impressive training camp. It should be noted Moffatt has been one of four "protected" players on the practice squad each of the first two weeks, meaning another team is not able to sign him away to their active roster.

Harrison, meanwhile, has immersed himself in Cleveland's defense and tried to get himself up to speed as fast as possible. Thursday's game will mark the two-week anniversary of the trade that sent him here from Jacksonville.

Harrison has made a quick impression on his teammates and coaches. We'll just have to wait and see how much he'll be able to play in the coming weeks.

"I see him being a big contributor, especially as he continues to learn the defense and everything," CB Denzel Ward said. "You saw as soon as he came in, like one of his first days of practice, he got an interception on the one of the first or second days out at practice. He is just out there making plays. I definitely see him having more of a role as the games go along."

The Browns' 53 man roster as of September 16, 2020.

With all of this TEs talk, how many times will we see Odell, Jarvis, Chubb and Hunt on the field at the same time? — Andrae L., Krabi, Thailand

It happened a handful of times Sunday in Baltimore, but the Browns primarily rotated Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb in the backfield. Chubb was on the field for 35 snaps while Hunt played 36. The duo combined for 132 yards despite the game getting out of hand in the second half.

In the days leading up to the game, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt had this to say about Hunt's role in the offense. It's an important one considering the Browns recently signed the talented running back to a contract extension.

"Kareem is going to spell Nick when Nick needs a spell at the running back position," Van Pelt said. "There will be other opportunities for him in different spots, as well. Extremely excited to have him signed with his extension. He deserves it. He has been nothing but a great teammate for the group so far and expect nothing less. Very excited to have him on long term now."

The Browns do look like a different team this year in terms of discipline and improvement at their positions of strength on offense and defense. The young players did well and there will be opportunities for them as the season progresses and the team should not get discouraged? — Rob M., Charleston, West Virginia

I agree! As bad as Sunday's result was, there were some bright spots to glean, and you identified a handful of them. First-round rookie Jedrick Wills Jr. fared well in his first action before suffering an injury, and fourth-round TE Harrison Bryant certainly looked capable in his NFL debut. The offensive line, as a whole, looked improved from last season, particularly in the run game.

That said, the Browns beat themselves on too many occasions. While there were fewer penalties than last year's opener, the Browns still committed too many of them, including a rough stretch in the second quarter that set up a third-and-41. That will be at the forefront of what Kevin Stefanski wants improved starting Thursday.

"Turning the ball over, winning that turnover margin is huge as it relates to winning and losing," Stefanski said. "Some of the penalties were just killer for us. That is just not the type of things you can do and expect to win."

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