Kevin Stefanski said Monday he is "hopeful" S Grant Delpit and WR Anthony Schwartz, two players who battled hamstring injuries in the final week of training camp last week, will return to practice this week.
"We'll see on both those guys," Stefanski said. "I think they're both progressing well. They're working hard in the rehab, so I'm hopeful to see one or both of those guys (in practice)."
Delpit, a 2020 second-round pick who missed all of his rookie season with an Achilles injury, was only able to participate in a limited amount of practices before suffering his hamstring injury, but the Browns have been eager to get Delpit back and acclimate him to what they believe will be a significant role in their secondary in 2021.
Schwartz, a 2021 third-round pick, has also battled injuries since rookie minicamp. The Auburn product practiced last week but was out for Sunday's game, and the Browns are hopeful he'll be able to make a full return to practice and showcase his elite speed, a trait that could be handy for Cleveland's offense for years to come.
Returns from Delpit or Schwartz would be much welcomed by the Browns, who also announced Monday that kicker Cody Parkey, as well as LB Montrel Meander (Achilles) and TE Connor Davis (shoulder), would be placed on Injured Reserve after suffering injuries in Sunday's second preseason game.
Parkey, in his second stint with the Browns, was elevated to the active roster for Week 2 of the 2020 season and served as the Browns' kicker for the remainder of the year. He connected on 19-of-22 field goals with 10 coming from 40 or more yards and many of them coming in the adverse conditions of FirstEnergy Stadium. He was 43-of-47 on extra points and made all of his kicks in the Browns' two playoff games.
"I'm disappointed for Cody, obviously," Stefanski said. "He's a veteran. He came up big for us in some moments last season. I don't want that to get lost in this either. It's disappointing for him, and I know his teammates feel badly about that."
Check out the best photos from the Browns win over the Giants yesterday by the Browns photo team
Kicking competition update
Parkey's injury leaves Chase McLaughlin, a three-year veteran, as the lone kicker on the roster, but Stefanski said the kicking competition is still undecided.
"We're all still battling for jobs in this 53(-man roster)," Stefanski said. "It's still a great competition at all these positions."
McLaughlin, who has converted 22-of-28 career field goal attempts and 31-of-32 extra-point attempts with five NFL teams, performed well in training camp and has been perfect in all his attempts in preseason games. He converted Sunday on an extra point and a 49-yard field goal — one that was kicked toward the always-difficult Dawg Pound end of FirstEnergy Stadium — and connected on two extra points and a 37-yard field goal in the first preseason game in Jacksonville.
"He's battling," Stefanski said. "He's done a nice job. I think you guys have seen that out at practice. He did a nice job with that field goal into the Dawg Pound yesterday. He's doing a nice job, and I expect him to keep battling."
Other Injury News
Stefanski said CB Greedy Williams, who exited Sunday's game in the first quarter with a groin injury, will be evaluated "day-to-day."
Meander, who was re-signed to the Browns on Friday and exited the game Sunday with an Achilles injury, will undergo surgery and is also out.
The Browns haven't been able to hold too many practices with all of their top defensive players on the field at once, which has tested their defensive depth and given coaches an extended look at younger players and those vying for backend roles. Several players were held out of training camp practices for precautionary reasons, however, as the Browns have attempted to limit long-term injuries as much as possible.
Stefanski believes the group has still been able to jell to the level needed with walk-throughs and meeting participation.
"I think we've worked really hard here in the building, on the practice field and in the meeting rooms to make sure that our guys are on the same page," he said. "I value walk-throughs. I think the guys have been locked in on the walk-throughs. Ideally, I would love to get the entire group out there — offense, defense and special teams and have the full complement of guys. But injuries are a part of it. And we just deal with it accordingly. But the guys are working hard, I will tell you that."
Stefanski waits on announcing Sunday starters
Stefanski said he has a plan ready for which players will play next Sunday in the final preseason game in Atlanta but will hold on making the announcement until later in the week.
"I want to continue to see where we are this week, before ultimately signing off on that," he said.
The Browns have held most of their starting players out from preseason action in the first two games. That's all been by design from Stefanski, who believes the Browns' healthy top veterans have received the work needed to prepare for the season on the practice fields at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus.
McDowell earns special praise
One of the most important defenders for the Browns in the fourth quarter Sunday was DT Malik McDowell, who registered five tackles, one sack and quarterback hit to help keep the Giants from reaching the end zone and taking the lead in Cleveland's 17-13 win.
McDowell, a 35th overall pick in 2017, was signed by the Browns in the offseason and is one of the biggest players on the roster at 6-foot-6 and 295 pounds. He's progressed well throughout camp and certainly boosted his stock with his stout performance Sunday.
"I thought he did a really nice job," Stefanski said. "I'm glad you brought him up because he hasn't played a game in a long time. His teammates were excited for him. He continues to grind and he continues to work at this thing. I thought he had a nice day."