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Browns Mailbag: Will Demetric Felton's role grow after breakout performance?

Senior Writer Andrew Gribble answers your questions every week

Victory Monday has come and gone, and now we're onto Transition Tuesday.

We're shifting gears from recapping all of the fun from the Browns' home-opening win over the Texans and looking to do it all again Sunday against the Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium.

How about a four-question edition of the Browns Mailbag, thanks to some great questions from our Twitter audience?

If the Browns win the turnover battle against Chicago and continue to get younger players important game experience, it should help the team to remain healthy throughout the 17-game season? — Rob M., Charleston, West Virginia

You hit on a couple of good points here, and we'll start with the turnovers. The Browns simply can't turn the ball over two times per game like they have through the first two weeks and expect positive results. Last year, the Browns won just one game in which they lost the turnover battle. They won every time they won it. This year, the Browns lost the turnover battle in Kansas City and split with the Texans. Baker Mayfield was particularly frustrated with this aspect of the game following Sunday's win. Cleveland overcame the sloppiness against the Texans but can't expect to be as fortunate in the coming weeks.

"It is just not good," Mayfield said. "We are hurting ourselves. We need to learn from these mistakes. Obviously, this week it is better to learn from a win than a loss, but we just have to be better and take care of the ball. We knew that is what their defense is all about, and we gave two balls away."

As for your other observation, the Browns went through a highly competitive training camp and were required to make some tough decisions to get the roster down from 90 to 53. Every one of those players, including a large chunk of the 16-man practice squad, should be ready to play when the opportunity presents itself. It's a LONG, 17-game season, and the Browns have already been tasked with tapping into their depth because of a handful of injuries. The expectation will be for those players to perform when they're summoned to the field and for the coaches to set up situations in which they're prepared and poised for success.

"If someone else is out there, we are going to be counting on them," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "That is kind of how it works. Really, I would tell you that is my job and that is our job as coaches to make sure we put the guys who we have available to us in the best position to succeed."

Felton made a big impact in his offensive debut Sunday, touching the ball on two of his three snaps while compiling 51 yards and a touchdown. His 33-yard catch-and-spin-and-run touchdown was one of the top highlights in the NFL from Week 2. All three of Felton's snaps were from the slot, a position he played a bunch during the first half of training camp while the Browns dealt with injuries at wide receiver. They're dealing with those kinds of injuries again, and Felton certainly made the most of his first opportunity.

"We are excited about Demetric," Stefanski said. "Obviously, we were excited to add him in the sixth round of the draft. He has worked really hard throughout the spring and summer. As you guys have seen, he has been in the running back room and in the wide receiver room. These are the types of things you do with rookies and grow their role based on what they are ready to handle. He obviously made a great play for us on that screen and had great individual effort. He has made plays as a returner. It is our job to grow their roles. Really, the truth is these guys earn their roles. I think Demetric is doing that."

As for Peoples-Jones, it's been a bit of a slow start for him but he'll continue to be an important part of the Browns offense. He led all wide receivers in snaps against the Texans and will be one of the key players Cleveland is counting upon in the wake of Jarvis Landry's knee injury.

"We are going to call on him," Stefanski said. "We are going to need him to make plays for us."

Stefanski definitely has some assistance before and during games when it comes to making these kinds of decisions, but he stressed last week the final decision falls on him.

"We have a group that gets together Friday morning and talks about all of the things that might come up from a game management standpoint," Stefanski said. "We talk about what we want our chart to look like on fourth-and-1. Then we have discussion throughout the game, but ultimately, I make the call."

The Browns have already gone for it four times on fourth down and have been successful on three of them. They're far from alone with this level of aggressiveness, as more teams league-wide are showing little hesitation in these situations.

"I pay attention to the trends around the league obviously. It is the risk-reward," Stefanski said. "Defensively if you stop them, you get the rock right away.

"We just want to make sure that we as coaches are calling the game that is called for."

It's a long season and the Browns have two Pro Bowl running backs at their disposal. Chubb and Hunt combined to rush 24 times for 146 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Texans. More importantly, both were very fresh on the Browns' game-sealing touchdown drive — a lengthy possession that ended with Chubb running over, around and through tired defenders en route to a 26-yard touchdown.

On the season, Chubb and Hunt have combined for 45 carries, 262 yards and four touchdowns. Henry has 52 carries for 240 yards and three touchdowns. Each team handles its running attack in a different fashion, and both are having success with the way they do it.

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