Q: Who says Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. don’t have “chemistry”? Not disagreeing, just wondering if this is based on training camp reps, has somebody said something?
A: Chemistry is a nebulous term. I believe Mayfield and Beckham get along well and have a strong relationship. What they need to improve is their timing, which sometimes is interchangeable with chemistry.
Mayfield was adamant last year he didn’t have the desired timing with receiver Jarvis Landry early in the season because they hadn’t gotten many reps together during training camp and the preseason. While Mayfield and Beckham threw together in the summer and have practiced about 10 times together in camp, that’s not enough to get completely on the same page.
The talent of Mayfield and Beckham may be enough to overcome the lack of time spent together, but the value of repetitions can’t be dismissed. There’s a reason Peyton Manning spent hours over years working with his wideouts.
Q: Can you inquire as to why Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi is not getting a chance to return kicks in practice? My understanding is he set JUCO records for both punt and kick returns. I assumed after his TD punt return he’d get snaps at both punt and kick returns.
A: Sheehy-Guiseppi got time at kick returner during the joint practices with the Colts after the 86-yard punt return for a touchdown against Washington. At 5-foot-11, 181 pounds, he seems better suited for punt return, but the line between punt and kick returns has been blurred with the changes in kickoff rules that have created more space.
Q: Will the Browns put Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi on the roster for the season? Should they and why?
A: I don’t think so. And I don’t think so.
He’s a great story, the return for a touchdown was awesome and the end zone celebration with teammates even better. But he did it in the fourth quarter of the preseason opener against a bunch of guys that won’t be in the NFL in a few weeks and without doing anything spectacular. I also have serious doubts whether he has the 4.3 speed that reportedly got him a shot with the Browns.
Sheehy-Guiseppi must prove he can do something as a receiver, because I don’t think he’ll make the roster as only a returner. He’s flashed at times during camp but can have trouble separating and dropped an easy touchdown Thursday.
Q: Not that I’m wishing it, but can you see a situation where rookie linebackers Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki take over full time for Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey?
A: Yes, I can, but a lot has to happen for that to come to fruition, especially by Week 1.
What’s more likely is the pair of veterans remains in the starting lineup, with Wilson and Takitaki serving as special teams aces and playing in certain personnel packages on defense. Wilson had two interceptions against Washington and a run of picks in practice, yet he hasn’t gotten any snaps with the starters. Coach Freddie Kitchens said the splash plays aren’t enough to make up for the rookie mistakes. Takitaki has been even more inconsistent and was sidelined this week with a hamstring injury.
I expect Schobert and Kirksey to get all the reps into the season, with an injury all that can change it.
Q: What is the plan for fullback now that Orson Charles has been waived? Were you surprised by the move?
A: They signed Joe Kerridge on Sunday to take Charles’ spot and he quickly started getting work with the starting offense. He’s the only fullback on the roster, and none of the tight ends is a natural to line up in the backfield as a lead blocker.
That would seem to make Kerridge likely to make the team, but Kitchens said he can envision a roster without a fullback. The Browns have depth at receiver and a pair of quality tight ends, which reduces the need for a fullback.
I was mildly surprised Charles was cut because he was able to play fullback and tight end and was a big personality in the locker room.
Q: Is there a discernible correlation between missed FGs/PATs and who’s doing the holding for those kicks?
A: Great question. I wish I had a better answer.
I’ve been paying attention to which punter holds for which kicks but haven’t kept a spreadsheet and haven’t noticed a direct correlation. I do know that veteran Britton Colquitt is way ahead of rookie Jamie “Scottish Hammer” Gillan as a holder and much more reliable at this stage in their careers.
When Greg Joseph missed an extra point against Washington, he appeared upset with Gillan’s hold.
Q: Is Drew Forbes now RG2, and ahead of Austin Corbett at that position?
A: If you go strictly by the action in Indiana this week, the answer is yes. Forbes was the second-team right guard and even got a few snaps with the starters each day at the end.
But I wouldn’t rule out Corbett from the competition just yet. He’s been working as the second-team center but remains determined to win the right guard job. If Eric Kush falters at right guard against the Colts on Saturday, you could see Corbett move back to first-team right guard with the chance to keep the job.
Q: The offensive line will consist of only eight, meaning rotated backups are essential to observe. What developments are being detected? Drew Forbes to practice squad? Kendall Lamm Bryan Witzmann and Austin Corbett as reserves?
— Mark Leonard
A: There’s a possibility they keep nine, but your scenario is more likely.
If it’s eight, I’m going with Lamm, Corbett and Forbes as the backups. I’m not sure Forbes would get through waivers to land on the practice squad, and Witzmann has been in the shadows throughout camp.
Of course, a real possibility is general manager John Dorsey makes a trade for a lineman or gets one off waivers. With no one seizing the right guard job, he could seek an alternative off another roster.