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Browns Mailbag: Who's next up at returner?

Staff writer Anthony Poisal answers your questions every week


The two most important practices of training camp are up next.

They're the final two days of camp, and they'll be performed against the Eagles, who will be in town Thursday and Friday for two joint practices before the second preseason game Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. The practices will give both sides an opportunity to evaluate players in a controlled practice setting, which is why it's an important stretch for any players looking to boost their roster stock before the initial 53-man roster is due Aug. 31.

With the players taking Wednesday off, it's a good time to dig into the Mailbag. We've got four questions on tap, and we plan on knocking out more questions in future Mailbags before the preseason is over with — so keep asking away.

With Grant out for the season other than Felton who in addition possibly could be special on special teams? Also any experience from the current roster or could a pickup or trade be in the realm of possibility? Thanks - Don I., Grove City, Ohio

With the injury of Jakeem Grant, who will be in replacement of him? - Aidan R., North Olmsted, Ohio

Quite a few questions about the state of the returner positions this week, and understandably so — it's one of the biggest question marks on the roster now that Grant, a Pro Bowl returner in 2021 who signed with the Browns this offseason, is on injured reserve and out for the year.

Demetric Felton Jr. is listed as the top kick and punt returner on the unofficial depth chart. It's not surprising to see Felton in that role after he was the main punt returner for the Browns last season with 32 returns for 227 yards (7.1 yards per return). As a kick returner, Felton totaled nine returns for 172 yards (19.1 yards per return).

Anthony Schwartz led the Browns with 15 kick returns last year and averaged 21.5 yards per return.

In the practices after Grant's injury, we've seen Felton, Peoples-Jones, S Ronnie Harrison Jr. and WR Ja'Marcus Bradley all take turns at returner. Bradley, a third-year veteran WR, handled punt and kick returns in the Jaguars preseason game, returning two punts for four yards and two kicks for 31 yards.

Harrison is a fifth-year veteran with no return experience at the NFL level. He did return one punt for eight yards his freshman year at Alabama.

The Browns on Tuesday also signed WR Easop Winston, who played three games with the Saints last season and averaged 11.9 yards in 10 punt returns.

"We have some guys who can do those jobs – punt return and kickoff return," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "We will kind of look at some other guys, as well, and see who can provide us some meaningful reps there. I think those are the things we are working through as a staff."

Check out photos of players and coaches working throughout camp

Has anyone stood out on the DT position as of yet? That seemed like an area of concern going into the draft. - Chad B., Warren, Ohio

It's not easy for defensive tackles to "stand out" in training camp practices, mostly because players don't have to wear pads for around half of the practices. That being said, there have been some good moments from a few of the defensive tackles.

Rookie fourth-rounder Perrion Winfrey has looked smooth at times and recorded a "sack," even though he couldn't tackle or touch the QB, on Deshaun Watson on Day 10. He and Glen Logan, an undrafted rookie from LSU, each batted a pass in the preseason game against the Jaguars.

Jordan Elliott recorded a quarterback hit in the game as well, and Tommy Togiai totaled four tackles. Taven Bryan and Elliott have continued to take first-team reps at DT, but Togiai and Winfrey have been slotted behind them on the second team. They'll likely hold roles in the rotation come Week 1, and it wouldn't be shocking to see either their usage expand during the season.

Do you think the Browns can make the "Brownie Elf" the more advertised logo on TV season games? - John D., Dublin, OH

I assume you're talking about the logo featured inside the score bug graphics. That would be a really cool wrinkle for this season, but I'm not sure if that's in the works for any of the TV networks.

One thing featuring Brownie that is in the works (but is not yet final) is the field design. If you haven't placed your vote yet on one of four field options — all of which contain a Brownie logo at either midfield or in the end zone — please do so here. Having any type of midfield logo for the first time in recent memory is exciting enough, but I think having the Brownie at midfield would be the perfect way to bring more publicity to a logo and mascot that has been around in some fashion since the inaugural year of the team in 1946.

What has happened to Sir Andrew? - Paul R., Ashland, Ohio

Gribble is still here! He is now the Director of Digital Media, and he's still helping out on some of the written work on gamedays. He's now also overseeing all aspects of our digital and social media platforms.

Moving forward this season, I'll be the one tackling most of the written tasks. It's big shoes to fill, but I'm ready for it, and I hope you'll keep tuning in.

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