Injuries and roster moves could test the Browns’ depth in the secondary and at tight end Sunday against the Bills.
The Browns could be down two of their tight ends — Ricky Seals-Jones and Pharaoh Brown — and two members of the secondary who played a significant number of snaps during the first half of the season in Eric Murray (knee) and Jermaine Whitehead, who was waived Monday.
The good news? Damarious Randall, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, returned to practice Wednesday as the Browns began their on-field preparations for the 6-2 Bills.
"I think we still got some guys back there that we have a lot of confidence in,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. “Getting Damarious back will definitely help, so hopefully we will see how he is this week."
If Randall returns, the Browns will have him and veteran Morgan Burnett at their disposal as likely starters. Juston Burris, who has played regularly during Randall’s absence, and rookie Sheldrick Redwine are also available at the position. Murray, who is considered week-to-week after undergoing knee surgery, came to Cleveland as a safety but has mostly played as a slot cornerback this season. Veteran T.J. Carrie filled that role last week against the Broncos.
The tight end group, meanwhile, will be cut in half in the event Seals-Jones (knee) and Brown (concussion) are unavailable. Demetrius Harris saw a significant increase in his snaps after Seals-Jones went down with his injury in last week’s first half, while rookie Stephen Carlson, who was elevated from the practice squad a couple of days earlier, saw plenty of playing time.
Kitchens said Seals-Jones was considered day-to-day and acknowledged Brown was still in the league’s concussion protocol.
JC Tretter, Mack Wilson and Hanford Dixon visited the US Coast Guard Station at Cleveland Harbor, in partnership with USAA to learn about the group’s year round efforts, including its assignments during Browns home games.
— Kitchens said Wyatt Teller would “probably” remain the starter at right guard after playing there the entire game in Denver. In the previous game, Teller rotated with Eric Kush, who started the first seven games.
“I thought he was solid,” Teller said. “There are definitely some things in the running game he could get better at, he would be the first to admit that, but that is his first significant action since he has been with us. He has spotted here and there, but that is his first significant action and I think he will get better, continue to get better.”
Teller was acquired in a late preseason trade with the Bills. He started seven games at left guard last season in Buffalo but was tasked to learn the right side upon arriving in Cleveland.
The Browns have started a different offensive line combination in each of their last three games. Sunday’s grouping appears poised to be the same as last week.
“I think you are always trying to find different roles for people,” Kitchens said. “I think these guys have done a good job of adjusting to their role and being willing to change that role at any given moment. I think that makes a good offensive line. I think you always want continuity, but sometimes your needs change during the course of a season, during the course of a game, and I think these guys have that innate ability to change those and never look back.”