It’s a five-for-Friday edition of the Browns Mailbag.
Do you think, as I do, that Baker needs a lot of work under center? -- Twentynine Palms, California
It doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what Hue Jackson and Baker Mayfield think. And, well, both think Mayfield could use as much work as possible under center in the months leading up to his first NFL season. That’s why it was a major focus at rookie minicamp earlier this month and will continue to be when OTAs kick off next week.
“When you are used to being in the shotgun a majority of the time, it is just a habit a little bit that you are used to. We will work at this,” Jackson said. “I think it is going to be a quick fix because he is athletic enough and he is disciplined enough to do it. I do not think it is going to be something that is going to be a problem. We can’t keep having it in his head. He will keep working through it, and we will keep getting better at it.”
So many games in the NFL are decided with the kicking game. The Browns seem to be in good shape with Zane Gonzalez but don’t they have multiple punters in camp? -- Doug S., Teays Valley, West Virginia
You’re correct. As of today, the Browns have two punters on the roster in veteran Britton Colquitt and second-year Justin Vogel, who was claimed via waivers from Green Bay earlier in the month. And, for now, the Browns only have one kicker, Gonzalez, after hosting one for a tryout at rookie minicamp. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see another kicker in Berea at some point, whether it be during OTAs or training camp, but it’s clear the Browns were encouraged by how Gonzalez finished his rookie season. The former seventh-round pick nailed a 51-yarder in the frigid cold of Pittsburgh in the season finale and a 48-yarder in the snow the week before in Chicago.
Vogel was an intriguing pick-up for the Browns. He was Green Bay’s punter last year but was the odd man out when the Packers drafted Alabama’s J.K. Scott in the fifth round. Vogel, though, was no slouch, as he ranked seventh in the NFL in net punting average (41.6) and opponents averaged just 5.7 yards per return against him. The Browns have made a point to instill competition at every spot on the field, and punter is no different.
I watched a lot of film on newly signed UDFA Desmond Harrison. The guy is a freak at LT. Granted last year was against smaller guys yet he still shows the fire mindset and killer instinct to be special. What do the Browns do with Austin Corbett if Harrison wins the job? -- Marty Z., Lavallette, New Jersey
Harrison brings a lot of intrigue to a position battle that is set to include a number of players, young and old, across the Browns offensive line. How that pecking order will look will come into focus at next week’s OTAs, but Harrison certainly appears to be in the mix. Standing at 6-foot-6 with an athletic, 295-pound frame, Harrison has a ton of upside but is light on experience after a college career that took him to Texas, a junior college and ultimately West Georgia. Harrison was a dominant force this past season, but it came against competition that doesn’t come close to measuring up to what he’s facing now.
As for Corbett, the Browns are focused on finding the best five offensive linemen, regardless of position. If Corbett, who could play tackle or guard, proves to be one of them, he’ll play. If he’s not, he’ll serve as a valuable backup and still have the same bright future the Browns believe he has.
I keep hearing about the Browns defense but no mention of Jamie Meder is made. Have you written him off? He has been a steady part of the defense. -- Donnie M., Ashland
I have not written off Jamie Meder, nor has anyone to my knowledge. One of the longest tenured Browns, Meder is a valuable member of a young, promising group of Cleveland defensive tackles. Cleveland missed Meder after he went down with a season-ending injury and is glad to have him back after he signed back on as a restricted free agent. He figures to be in a rotation with Trevon Coley, Larry Ogunjobi, Caleb Brantley and anyone else that emerges during the preseason.
What number will Josh Gordon wear this year? I see Denzel Ward wearing No. 12, which was the number Gordon wore. -- Olan H., Columbus
Gordon will continue to wear No. 12.
Ward wore 12, his old college number, during rookie minicamp and will don No. 1 for OTAs. Eventually, Ward will settle on a new number that won’t be either of those because of the NFL’s position-specific rules for jersey numbers. His eventual number will fall somewhere between 20-49.