Kitchens encouraged by Chris Hubbard’s return to practice, game-time decision looms - News & Notes

Chris Hubbard was back on the practice field Thursday, putting him one step closer to potentially playing Sunday against the Ravens.

Hubbard, who has been bothered by a foot injury, hadn’t practiced since the Browns’ Week 2 win over the Jets and was sidelined for Sunday’s loss to the Rams. Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said Hubbard likely would be a game-time decision when Cleveland takes on the Ravens in Baltimore.

“He did show some progress, so that’s a good sign,” Kitchens said. “We’ll build him up a little bit and see how he is after tomorrow.”

Justin McCray, a veteran guard, started in Hubbard’s place against the Rams. The Browns’ backup swing tackle, Kendall Lamm, hasn’t practiced since suffering a knee injury Week 1 against the Titans.

“We kind of are,” Kitchens said when he was asked if the Browns were “playing with fire” at the tackle position. “That’s the reason the position is so critical. We’ve got a plan for it if anything happened. You’ve always got to have a plan.”

WR Rashard Higgins (knee), Greedy Williams (hamstring), CB Denzel Ward (hamstring) and S Morgan Burnett (quadriceps) -- all of whom were sidelined against the Rams -- are considered day to day.

Check out photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Ravens Sunday by team photographer Matt Starkey

-- Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken indicated there could be more action for running backs Dontrell Hilliard and D'Ernest Johnson in the near future.

Starter Nick Chubb played all but two snaps in Sunday’s loss -- a stark difference from his workload in the previous two weeks. Hilliard returned Sunday after missing the previous game with a concussion and was used almost exclusively on special teams. Johnson went from 27 snaps against the Jets in Week 2 to one against the Rams.

“That is not normal,” Monken said. “Moving forward, we would love to have with any position when you have guys to be able to get them in the game and contribute.”

-- Coming off his first AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, Jamie Gillan had his first rough punt of 2019 when he booted a 21-yarder in Sunday’s fourth quarter. Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer called it a learning experience.

“I think he rushed it. He did not feel any pressure. We blocked it up perfect, but he felt like he had to get it out of there quick,” Priefer said. “Maybe I over-coached him on that, which I probably did. Dropped it inside and punched at it rather than kicking it, but he made a mistake and he learned from it.”

Gillan had three punts downed inside the 20-yard line Sunday and has 11 on the season.

“He punted the ball well yesterday on a windy day in practice,” Priefer said. “I think the one thing about Jamie, the great thing about him is that he has a short memory.”

-- Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said he’s shown his players clips of the 49ers offense under former quarterback Colin Kaepernick as he prepares his group to face Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson.

Greg Roman, who is currently the Ravens’ offensive coordinator, held the same position with the 49ers from 2011-14.

“Whenever you have the element of the quarterback being able to run the ball, you have an extra blocker. That is what it does,” Wilks said. “We are preparing well for it. We have seen that offense before so I am very excited to go against the offense. I am very pleased with where we are right now with our game plan.”

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