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Browns Mailbag: What's the 2022 outlook for the safeties?

Staff writer Anthony Poisal answers your questions every week


We're going for two this week in the Mailbag.

After discussing the WR and LT positions Tuesday, we're diving into a few other positions to close the week — as well as answering an important question about training camp tickets.

Keep sending questions. We'll keep answering them as we count down the five weeks left until training camp.

There has been a lot of discussion about the wide receiver and interior DL positions but what is the plan at free safety. Delpit, Harrison and Johnson are all best suited to play at strong safety and LeCounte didn't show much last season - Terry Jacobs, Gepp, Arkansas

Based on how the Browns deployed safeties last season, they should feel fairly confident with using the first three guys you mentioned as a free safety. Grant Delpit and John Johnson III were the primary players called at that specific safety spot, but the Browns have purposefully looked to add versatile players at that position to ensure the secondary stays strong when injuries arise — as well as keep offenses guessing on the defensive coverages.

That appears to be the plan once again for 2022.

"We have the ability to get those three guys on the field at the same time like we did last year," defensive coordinator Joe Woods said about Delpit, Johnson and Ronnie Harrison Jr. "We are still developing the young guys – Richard LeCounte back there. We have the ability to create those matchups based on our game plan."

If there's one player in that room who's a good bet to make more plays as a free safety this season, it's Delpit. He's 23 and stood out in mandatory minicamp, particularly in red zone drills, and rebounded well last season after missing his whole rookie year with a torn Achilles. 

He looked more comfortable in the defense as last season progressed and performed as well as any Browns player in minicamp, although he'll need to keep it going come training camp when the pads come on and practices likely become trickier and less predictable for the defense.

Check exclusive photos of Browns players posing for a team photoshoot

Considering how our new fleet of Quarterbacks add an extra element of mobility to our offense, have our coaches suggested mixing in more read options, etc. to accentuate that particular skill? - Nick Dolance, Glendale, AZ

It's certainly a possibility.

We saw the Browns mix in a few type of plays similar to read options — ones where the defense could hesitate for a split second, thus giving the offense a chance to gain a step on them regardless of a run or pass — throughout minicamp. We also saw the Browns run a few formations with both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the backfield together. With a player like Watson in between them, the possibilities for where the Browns could move the ball after the snap seem endless.

The Browns were doing plenty of experimenting throughout the offseason program, but no guarantees can be made yet about how the offense will actually look for the regular season. It's still much too early for that.

"Any time you add a player, you study all of their tape and you kind of get a sense for what they are comfortable with, and then you get around the player, you talk through concepts and then you start to adjust," head coach Kevin Stefanski said at the end of minicamp. "When we start Week 1 to Week 17, the offense evolves. You add plays. There are plays that we have not installed that I'm sure that we're going to run next year. It's really just trying to make sure throughout the season that you are constantly searching for unique ways to get a different guy the ball and unique ways on third down to get a first down. That really is always evolving but certainly with the quarterback in what his comfort level is."

Come training camp, however, we'll have a bit better of an idea. And it wouldn't be surprising to see read-option plays be part of the new wrinkles. 

How can a non season ticket holder get in to see Browns open practices? - Stephen Norris, Westlake, OH

Great question. Non-season ticket members can purchase training camp tickets via Ticketmaster.

For all other fan info about the open practices, visit this link.

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