Browns Mailbag

Presented by

Browns Mailbag: Why did Jabrill Peppers, Browns safeties line up the way they did vs. Steelers?

The Browns are Baltimore-bound this weekend, and we're answering five of your questions before we take off for the first road trip of the 2017 season. [



The Browns defense played good but don't you think the safeties should play a lot closer to the ball? Believe me, I understand Coach's reasoning, but don't you think that is under under-utilizing Peppers' skills? -- Leroy K., New Kensington, Pennsylvania

I don't, and I think the plan, outside of two long catches by perennial All-Pro Antonio Brown -- one of which was caught off a deflection -- worked exactly how the Browns wanted. Ben Roethlisberger loves throwing deep as much as any quarterback in the league, and he was largely relegated to quick, short throws to Brown and Martavis Bryant, a lethal deep threat who wreaked havoc on Cleveland's secondary in a 2015 matchup.

"The reason they did is because we made them do that," defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. "The No. 1 deep-ball throwing team in the National Football League for four straight running years is the Pittsburgh Steelers, and when Ben is throwing it short, everybody is smiling."

Peppers assured Wednesday the game plan will change week to week, but maybe it won't be altered too much for a quarterback such as Joe Flacco, who has never hesitated to launch the deep ball.

"Everything is game plan-wise," Peppers said. "It is, 'what is the best thing they do and how can we take it away?'"

I have recently watched some film on Reggie Davis, the WR we acquired via waivers from Atlanta. This kid looks really good! Super fast, big deep threat, and amazing punt returns. We saw his former teammate, Chris Collins from UGA, play in his opener against the Patriots. Any chance we will get to see Davis on Sunday -- whether on special teams or wideout? -- Dustin H., Hudson

Davis, whom the Browns claimed from waivers one day after rosters league-wide were chopped to 53, was inactive for the season opener against the Steelers, and it's unclear if he'll be used this week against the Ravens. At 5-foot-11 and just 170 pounds, Davis brings a different dynamic to Cleveland's wide receivers room, which underwent significant changes in the week before the start of the season. Davis was one of three new additions to the group after the conclusion of the preseason. Both Sammie Coates and Kasen Williams saw playing time in the season opener and are expected to see more against the Ravens, but we'll have to wait until Sunday to see if that applies to Davis. The Browns are relatively healthy at the moment and will have to put a number of healthy players on their inactives list.

Which of the other receivers are expected to take the largest role increase? Coates? Williams? -- @AJLawrence

Williams, a waiver claim from Seattle, got on the field last week for 12 snaps and Coates, acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh, only appeared on special teams. Browns coach Hue Jackson indicated Friday those numbers could change for a combination of reasons. Both players are gaining more and more comfort with the Browns playbook and Sunday's temperatures are expected to be toasty enough to require more rotation than Week 1.

"As they continue to grow into this offense and grow in this locker room, I think they will start gaining some confidence and will be able to make some plays for us," quarterback DeShone Kizer said. "We have a solid core – three or four guys – who played a lot for us in the last game, but as they continue to learn the offense and we continue to find chemistry between myself and those guys, I expect they will get out there and start playing some plays for me as well."

Seth DeValve had a pretty big role against the Steelers. Can we expect him to continue to get it done? Or should we expect a bigger role for David Njoku? -- Joseph Z., New York, New York

The Browns started the game with all three of their tight ends on the field and used them regularly from start to finish. DeValve led the way with 31 snaps, Njoku had 29 and Randall Telfer finished with 18. It's safe to assume that pattern will continue in the coming weeks as DeValve and Njoku, who combined for six catches for 62 yards, both figure to be key parts of Cleveland's passing attack.

Are you going to put Jordan Leslie on the practice squad or is it a total release? -- Fred W., Dayton

Leslie was waived on the final day of roster cutdowns and remains a free agent. Of the 10 players on the practice squad, only Rashard Higgins is a wide receiver.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content