Need to Know: Browns vow to make elevation an afterthought at Mile High

Rashard Higgins knows all about the elevation in Denver. 

The third-year Browns receiver, who played for Colorado State in college, said he could always tell the elevation affected road teams. 

“You’d just see them using the oxygen masks on the sideline,” Higgins said. 

Higgins said he recognized fatigue more when he attended Colorado State basketball games. Players breathed heavier, looked more tired. 

That’s why the Browns will fly to Denver a day early this week. Williams plans to practice at Broncos Stadium at Mile High to help his players acclimate to the elevation.

Higgins said the best way for the Browns to prepare for the elevation is to train harder and push through the moments when they’re feeling tired. 

Cornerback Terrance Mitchell, on the other hand, thinks the elevation is overhyped. Mitchell spent the last two seasons in Kansas City, playing in Denver both years. 

His take on the elevation? 

“I believe it could be mental,” Mitchell said. “Just like cold weather.” 

-- On Saturday, the Browns will face a player they could’ve — and many national pundits thought they should’ve — drafted. 

Bradley Chubb’s name appeared next to the Browns’ fourth overall pick in many mock drafts last spring, but general manager John Dorsey decided on Denzel Ward. 

Thus far, it doesn't look like there was wrong choice between Chubb and Ward. 

Ward looks like a legitimate No. 1 corner, proving his press coverage prowess and playmaking ability. He’s intercepted three passes this season, forced a fumble and recovered two more. He’s also proven to be a more physical tackler than many thought during the pre-draft process. 

Chubb, on the other hand, has recorded 12 sacks in his rookie season, including a strip sack and recovery against the Bengals two weeks ago. He appears to be the elite pass rusher the Broncos wanted opposite Von Miller. 

The Browns don’t know whether Ward will be able to play Saturday, but the Browns’ position remains unchanged since draft day: they needed a great corner more than a great pass rusher. And so far, Ward has reassured their decision with every snap. 

“I did not think that Chubb could play press coverage as well as Ward,” coach Gregg Williams said. “That is what we needed at the time, and we still do.”

— Baker Mayfield trusts Breshad Perriman just like he trusts Jarvis Landry. 

Mayfield knew Landry would come down with the 51-yard touchdown reception over two defenders in the second quarter; he knew Perriman would beat his defender on the 66-yard reception to open the game. 

Trust is imperative between a quarterback and his receivers. Trust is the reason quarterbacks can throw passes before receivers come out of their breaks. It gives quarterbacks the courage to take risks down the field and throw into the tightest coverages.

Many see an upgrade of depth at receiver as one of the Browns’ biggest needs going forward. Mayfield, on the other hand, believes he has all the talent he needs. 

“What we have in this locker room is all we need,” Mayfield said. “When free agency and all of that talk was going on, we did not need anybody else. We have what we want and what we need and we trust that.”

— OL Austin Corbett (foot), TE Orson Charles (ankle), C JC Tretter (ankle), Ward (concussion protocol) and DL Larry Ogunjobi (bicep) missed practice Tuesday. 

Williams said he hopes to know more on Ward by Wednesday and that Ogunjobi’s absence was merely rest related. Tretter said he’ll play Saturday.

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