As the Browns return from the bye week and begin their preparation to face the 49ers in Week 6, let's take a look at some of the news and notes from Monday.
QB Deshaun Watson did not practice outside on Monday
Watson was not out on the practice field during the open period on Monday, so Dorian Thompson-Robinson and P.J. Walker handled the reps at quarterback. Watson worked inside the facility.
HC Kevin Stefanski said Watson's work inside was a part of his rehab process for his shoulder injury. Watson is still considered day-to-day as the Browns prepare for Week 6 against the 49ers.
"He's doing everything in his power, working around the clock with rehab," Stefanski said. "So, he's just doing what he's being told to do in terms of his rehab process."
Stefanski also clarified that while Watson was medically cleared to play against the Ravens in Week 4, there is a difference between that and being functionally able to do the job. That's their approach with any of their injured players is being able to functionally perform on the field in their specific role. He reiterated that Watson continues to work hard on his rehab and is working to be back 100 percent.
Stefanski also provided some updates on Monday on TE David Njoku, C Ethan Pocic and G Joel Bitonio. He described them all as day-to-day. Njoku, Pocic and Bitonio were not seen outside during the open period of practice.
DE Myles Garrett, who left Week 4 following the loss to the Ravens in a walking boot and was dealing with a foot injury, is doing better, according to Stefanski. Njoku, who is recovering from burns suffered in a household accident, is improving. Stefanski said that Bitonio "is working through something." And Pocic, who is working through a chest and a knee injury, is also progressing.
Stefanski also said that LB Jordan Kunaszyk, who was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 31 as he has been dealing with a knee injury, is getting close. He was not certain about Kunaszyk being back this week and will wait to see how the rest of the week plays out.
Emphasis on ball security
GM Andrew Berry noted that their top priority throughout the bye week was on ball security. And Stefanski agreed with Berry's assessment.
While Stefanski watched games over the bye week, he noted just how important ball security is when talking about either giving the ball away or recording takeaways. He knows that as a team, they have to be better in that area.
Stefanski said that it's an emphasis on all three sides of the ball, and that they specifically focused on the importance of ball security during Monday's practice.
"I think it's the best stat there is when it comes to winning and losing because it involves everybody," Stefanski said. "It's not just an offensive stat, it's an offense, defense, special teams stat."
The Browns are currently minus seven in their turnover ratio. While it is a point of emphasis, it also turns back to mentality and technique. That technique comes in elements like the center to quarterback or running back exchange, a running back running through the run defense and protecting the ball from being knocked free or their defensive backs trying to knock the ball out.
"Anybody who touches that rock to do everything in their power to gain yards while maintaining ball security and then getting the ball in defense and special teams' opportunities for us to get the ball," Stefanski said.