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Training Camp

Browns Mailbag: Why not tight end for Terrelle Pryor?

The first five Browns training camp practices have been sun-drenched with reasonable temperatures and a nice breeze.

If the five-day forecast is to believed, it will be more of the same as Cleveland prepares for its first scrimmage of 2015 and beyond.

Is it an omen for the season?

That wasn't one of our mailbag questions for our first training camp edition of this weekly installment, but maybe it will be next week.

If Terrelle Pryor can't make the team at wide receiver, do you think he would have a chance as a tight end? -- Joe F., North East, Pa.

This has been a popular question since Pryor was signed by the Browns. During ESPN's coverage of Browns training camp Tuesday, former coach Herm Edwards was adamant that Pryor's future in the NFL was at tight end.

Browns coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer both gave interesting answers on the subject. As Farmer said Saturday, it comes down to "semantics" when labeling what Pryor truly can be.

"You can go to Jordan Matthews in Philly and say he's a wide receiver, but he never lines up at wide receiver; he plays tight end," Farmer said. "It's the notion of where can the guy have the greatest impact on the game. Football is a game of matchups so the matchup that precludes, that's the one, hopefully, we'll take advantage of."

Pettine referenced the Browns' newest addition to Cleveland's tight end room, Rob Housler, when discussing this query. He lumped Pryor in the same boat of "hybrid guys" as Housler and fullback Malcolm Johnson. Pryor showed some hybrid tendencies Tuesday when he took an end-around and threw a deep pass to Travis Benjamin during 11-on-11 drills.

"That makes it hard on a defense just like it makes it hard on an offense when you have a guy with linebacker skills but he can play some safety type roles or kick down and be a defensive end type," Pettine said. "When you can blur the lines between traditional positions, I think that's always beneficial."

At most, Pryor could embrace a role similar to Housler, but that would still likely require adding some weight to his 224-pound frame. It's just hard to see Pryor ever taking on a roll similar to one Jim Dray and Gary Barnidge have within the Browns' offense.

With all the talk about Terrelle Pryor, haven't heard much about how Vince Mayle is doing? -- Gates K., Thomasville, Ga.

Mayle, the fourth-round pick from Washington State, is slowly working his way back into things after being limited in OTAs and mini-camp by a broken thumb. He had a couple of drops at the first practice but has since performed well with the second-team offense. He made a heck of a catch Sunday on a deep pass from Thaddeus Lewis. What stands out most is Mayle's athletic, 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame. He stands in a small group of Browns receivers with size like that.

How's Phil Taylor's injury? When will he be 100%? A healthy Taylor will go along way in helping the run D. -- Tim M., Palmyra, N.Y.

Taylor has slowly worked his way into more and more on-field repetitions during 11-on-11 drills. Sunday's practice served as a big step forward in that area, and Taylor looked close to his old self against the Browns' first-team offensive line.

Pettine said the Browns are leaving it up to Taylor to determine how much he's ready to handle at this stage of training camp.

"We'll be on his pace for a while until he gets to the point where he feels really comfortable," Pettine said

With first-round pick Danny Shelton added to the room and Ishmaa'ily Kitchen performing at a high level, the Browns will be in great shape at nose tackle if Taylor can get back to 100 percent and stay healthy.

So, who's our No. 2 QB in preseason games? -- Kenny D., Raleigh, N.C.

Johnny Manziel has taken every No. 2 repetition since the beginning of OTAs. There's been no indication of any change leading into the Browns' preseason games.

Do you think all-Big 12 TE E.J. Bibbs is a free agent to watch? He was voted the best TE last year in the Big 12 ahead of Blake Bell, who was drafted in the fourth round. -- Gary S., Ames, Iowa

No undrafted free agent signing has garnered as much praise as Bibbs, who recently switched to No. 88 after wearing No. 49 for the past couple of months. If he carries the momentum he's built since OTAs into the Browns' preseason games, he won't be a free agent in early September.

"He has exceptional hands," Pettine said. "I think he has displayed that throughout all the time he has been here. He has a lot of the detail stuff to work on and it is a lot for him from a playbook standpoint. I am pleased with where he is. He is a guy that impressed us from the day he walked in here. There has not been a drop off since we put the pads on. He physically has the skill set to play in the NFL. We'll see how it plays out once we start playing games."

With all the uncertainty, who on the team is likely to be the main return specialist this season? -- Ian L., Dayton

Travis Benjamin, Taylor Gabriel, Tramon Williams and Cleveland native Shane Wynn have been fielding punts through the first week of practice. Shaun Draughn and Justin Gilbert are some additional options on kicks. The Browns were intrigued by what Duke Johnson could do on kicks, but his hamstring injury likely will put those plans on hold. Benjamin has looked the most comfortable on punts and has the most experience among any of the players competing at these positions.

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