BEREA — The Browns scrambled to fill the tackle spots at practice Wednesday, as the top three on the depth chart didn’t participate — right tackle Jack Conklin (knee), left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle) and top backup Chris Hubbard (triceps). Center JC Tretter (knee) also sat out, leaving left guard Joel Bitonio and right guard Wyatt Teller as the only starters in the lineup.
“With all of those guys, we are just trying to be smart,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “Part of it is, yes, (Conklin and Tretter) are veterans and want to make sure that we have them for the long haul.”
Stefanski called the injuries day to day and didn’t seem overly concerned about the situation for Sunday’s game against the Texans at FirstEnergy Stadium. Practice was a different story.
“We have some plans. We will make it work,” he said. “That is certainly something we are up on the whiteboard figuring out who is going to be where.”
Rookie James Hudson III, a fourth-round pick, filled one of the spots. Guards Michael Dunn and Blake Hance and practice squad tackle Jordan Steckler were the other options.
Wills left the 33-29 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday in the second quarter when he accidentally stepped on safety Juan Thornhill and turned his ankle.
“We will see as the week goes,” Stefanski said.
Wills was replaced by Hubbard, whose triceps injury was revealed Wednesday.
“That is new from the game,” Stefanski said. “It is something we will have to monitor as the week goes on.”
Conklin and Tretter worked on the side during the portion of practice open to reporters, while Wills and Hubbard weren’t on the field.
Rookie cornerback Greg Newsome II (biceps), rookie receiver Anthony Schwartz (knee), safety Grant Delpit (hamstring), linebacker Mack Wilson (quadriceps) and Dunn (back) were limited.
Newsome, Schwartz and Wilson finished the Chiefs game. Delpit and Dunn were inactive.
Stefanski said Delpit has “a chance” to make his NFL debut Sunday.
“We are going to practice the next couple of days with him and see how he responds,” he said. “He has worked very, very hard, as you know. He is somebody who is trying like crazy in these individual drills, in the meeting room and in special teams, so he is working very hard.”
** Rookie defensive tackle Tommy Togiai (illness) didn’t practice.
** Nickelback Troy Hill (hamstring) was a full participant.
** For the Texans, quarterback Deshaun Watson (not injury related), tight end Pharaoh Brown (ankle/shoulder), cornerback Desmond King II (knee), linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (thigh) and receiver Andre Roberts (knee) didn’t practice. Watson won’t play.
The Texans have eight former Browns on their 53-man roster: quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Brown, backup guard Justin McCray, middle linebacker Christian Kirksey, cornerback Terrance Mitchell, safety Eric Murray, defensive tackle Vincent Taylor and backup cornerback/special teamer Tavierre Thomas.
Running back Nick Chubb said it’s weird seeing that many former teammates on another team.
“It is, but I guess that’s how the NFL goes. It’s part of the business,” he said. “It’s my first time actually seeing it happen like that — guys I played with being across from me on the other team. I’m excited to see some of the guys and play against them, too. We have a great challenge ahead of us.”
Taylor was Cleveland’s starter to open 2018 before he suffered a concussion and was replaced by Baker Mayfield. Kirksey was a third-round pick of the Browns in 2014 and stayed through 2019.
“He was a leader when I came in as a rookie,” Chubb said of Kirksey. “I looked up to him. He always gave us great speeches before practice, games, anything. He definitely was a more vocal leader on the field. I had a lot of respect for him. I’m happy to go against him.”
Receiver Jarvis Landry went in motion from right to left, took the handoff, turned upfield, broke four tackles and crossed the goal line for a 5-yard touchdown.
“Yeah, that’s a grown-man run,” Mayfield said. “That’s just determination and wanting it more than the other guys, and you can tell that fires guys up, so that’s what I told him. When he plays like that it elevates everyone around him.”
Landry caught five passes for 71 yards and rushed twice for 13 yards.
“He’s moving around great and he’s such a leader for us — for our team as a whole and not just offense,” Mayfield said. “He’s a physical guy. Not the biggest guy, but he puts his body on the line, so he did a great job of putting himself into positions to have a great year.”
Linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. is glad to have 31-year-old defensive tackle Malik Jackson on his side.
“His leadership is second to none,” Walker said. “He’s the OG, the OG old man. Got the 40-, 50-year-old belly, man, it’s so funny, but still able to play football at a high level. He’s definitely a great addition for us.”
** The Browns for the second straight week protected quarterback Nick Mullens, kicker Chris Naggar, defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo and receiver Ja’Marcus Bradley from being signed off the practice squad.