Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: Will rookie DB Howard Wilson be back this season?

It's a soggy day in Berea, but the sun will be shining Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Browns want to shine, too. We're digging into five topics as we prepare for an important matchup with the Jets.

With fourth-round pick Howard Wilson being hurt, how much do you think we were counting on him being an impact player in the secondary at the beginning of the season? Any updates on his return? -- Brooks P., Cincinnati

The Browns positioned themselves to be deep enough without an immediate impact from Wilson. The signing of Jason McCourty was huge for the otherwise young group, and McCourty has played at a high level from the moment he arrived in Berea. Cleveland, in fact, was deep enough at the cornerback position to be able to release veteran Joe Haden. So, in short, the Browns weren't relying on Wilson, but would have certainly welcomed the competition and depth he could have provided.

As for Wilson, he still has a shot to play in 2017. Recent changes to rules governing team's rosters allows two players to return from IR or PUP within a season. One of those spots is conceivably reserved for wide receiver Corey Coleman, who is out with a hand injury. Wilson, though, could be up for the other one if he's healthy enough and capable of making an impact. The earliest he could get back on the practice field is Week 7. The team would then would have a few weeks to decide whether to activate him or place him on the season-ending injured reserve.

When will the Browns organization acquire a downhill running back as so many other teams have? -- Denny D., Columbus

I believe the Browns have that in Isaiah Crowell. When he gets past the line of scrimmage and into the open field, he's among the best at turning a small gain into something special. It just hasn't happened much through four games this season, but the Browns aren't giving up on their fourth-year running back.

Crowell has 134 yards on 46 carries. His longest run has gone for 17 yards.

"Anything that is going on with Isaiah, I take responsibility for," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "As I told you guys before, until we get this guy in a rhythm of running, it is unfair for anybody to question what he is doing. We have not been in a situation where we can hand this guy the ball the way I think you have to hand a back the ball. All of those questions can be directed at me. Until we are able to do that can I tell you exactly what it is. I believe in Isaiah Crowell. No question. I have to get this guy the ball handed to him."

When will the Browns wear the brown jersey tops at home? Why do they keep wearing white? -- Marc B., Billings, Montana

The Browns are scheduled to wear brown jerseys for their Week 7 matchup with the Titans and a handful of other times this season. After mixing and matching with a number of combinations over the past two years, the Browns opted to take a more traditional approach with their uniforms this season. The white-on-white look, which hearkens back to the team's classic look introduced in 1947, was chosen as the most prevalent combination.

It seems when the tempo is sped up, two-minute drill, etc., DeShone Kizer does really well. It appears he "thinks" less and "plays" more. Given his success driving at the end of the half and games, should we start the game with tempo to jumpstart the offense? -- Antoine R., Cleveland

The Browns are looking at all options in an attempt to jumpstart the offense, and they haven't been opposed to using tempo at times. Kizer has plenty of experience running that type of system, but there's a time and place for everything in the NFL. The Browns need to be able to grind out drives, too. The key to a tempo-based offense is consistency. If you're not getting first downs, you're just getting your defense back on the field faster than it needs to be.

Do you think the Browns have their eyes on Saquon Barkley? -- Thaddeus L., Youngstown

I will not write about the draft during the season. I will not write about the draft during the season. I will not write about the draft during …

OK, I'll say this about Saquon Barkley, the Penn State star and Heisman Trophy frontrunner. He looks like a special player, and I'm sure the Browns, along with every other team in the NFL, are breaking down absolutely everything about him as he goes through what is likely his final year with the Nittany Lions.

For a brief stretch, running backs weren't hearing their names called at all in the first round, but that's changed in the last few drafts. This year, in particular, saw three big-name college running backs picked in the first round, and another, third-round pick Kareem Hunt, is having a historically great start. There's no position in football that makes a seemingly quicker transition than running back, so teams have been more and more open to invest a major asset into one and reap immediate benefits. Barkley figures to be among the top options at the position, but it's VERY early in the process.

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