We like touchdowns, so we’ve got six questions on the docket after the Browns’ first week of OTAs.
Any knowledge if the end zones this year will remain letter free with them beautiful orange & brown stripes? Best end zones in the league. Great old school feel! -- Jamieson T., Virginia Beach, Va.
Here’s what I can reveal at this point of the offseason: There will be stripes but the end zones will have a different look than they did last year.
Any possibility that with an offseason in the weight room, Desmond Harrison beats out Greg Robinson? -- Don T., Daphne, Alabama
Robinson is certainly the lead dog in the competition at left tackle, but it remains just that: a competition. Harrison, just like players at a variety of positions all across the field, will have an opportunity in training camp to reclaim a starting job that was his throughout the first half of last season. The raw talent is there. Harrison looks like he was built in a lab to play left tackle and he has some rare gifts. There just needs to be more seasoning. Robinson, though, won’t give up the spot without a fight. His emergence in the second half of last season was one of the biggest feel-good stories on the entire Browns roster.
Check out photos from the third day of OTA practices
Do you see the tackle that the Browns drafted being converted to a center next year? -- Howard C., Atlanta
Guard would likely be the first step for sixth-rounder Drew Forbes, but he’ll first get a crack at staying at left tackle. That’s basically all he’s known since his high school career. Never rule out anything with offensive linemen -- Austin Corbett went from a tackle in college to a player capable of stepping in at guard or center halfway through last year -- but it’s too early to speculate about that kind of move for Forbes.
“I am willing to play anywhere they want me to,” Forbes said. “I’m just happy to be here.”
I notice that the Browns didn't really address a center in the draft nor free agency. What options does the Browns have to address this? -- Willie H., Cleveland
Cleveland currently has four players on the roster listed as centers: JC Tretter, Kyle Kalis, Willie Wright and Trevon Tate. Wright and Tate were signed as undrafted free agents earlier in the month. Veteran Eric Kush, who is listed as a guard, has experience at the position and could feasibly be a backup option when rosters are trimmed to 53. Corbett, who is the frontrunner to take over at right guard, never had to play center in a game last season, but regularly snapped with quarterbacks and played the position during in-season practices.
Why isn't the media talking up Nick Chubb? It appears that everyone else is getting all the attention. Nick Chubb was GREAT last year and is going to be even better this year! -- Alan S., Barrington, New Hampshire
There’ve been a lot more shinier things to discuss over the past few months, and Chubb isn’t exactly the kind of guy who covets the spotlight. That said, he’s overdue for some praise, so here’s some.
The numbers Chubb put up (primarily in the second half of the season) are remarkable. Though he didn’t become the full-time starter until Week 7, he hit 1,000 yards before dropping a few back to 996 in Cleveland’s season finale at Baltimore. His average of 82.3 yards in games he served as a starter trailed only Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley and Joe Mixon. A bonus of sorts from Chubb came through the air, as he showed off some incredible hands on a touchdown catch against the Bengals and finished with a respectable 20 catches for 149 yards after rarely being asked to haul in passes at the college level.
“Phenomenally talented. Very quiet. Just works really hard. Cares about winning more than anything,” Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “He had 1,000 yards and lost it. He didn’t care about that. He cared about the fact that we lost the last game of the year. I think that speaks volume of who he is as a teammate and great to have people like that.”
Chubb talked to reporters Wednesday for the first time in 2019. He’s quickly grown close to fellow running back Kareem Hunt and expects big things from him when he’s able to rejoin the team for the second half of the season. Chubb’s been in a committee situation before and believes there are bigger things ahead for himself and the Browns’ running game as a whole.
“I’m continuing to work hard and continue to trust my teammates,” Chubb said. “Just personally, further my game in the passing game, catching balls and running routes. Just continuing to build from last year and all the knowledge I have and wisdom, just keep carrying on.”
I heard Jhavonte Dean had a nice rookie minicamp in the secondary. Is he under consideration for K/P returner as well? -- Mark A., Ontario
Dean certainly stood out. You have to if you’re going to earn a roster spot after entering simply as a tryout player. It’s too early to tell if Dean will get a look at either of the returner spots, but if he has the ability, he won’t be ignored. The more you can do, the better your shot of making the 53. For what it’s worth, Dean never was asked to return punts or kicks in his two seasons at Miami. It appears he returned a few kicks at Blinn College, though.