By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
Quarterback chatter: The Browns may check out a quarterback or two on Tuesday, the traditional workout day in the NFL. But don’t expect a big name or maybe even a familiar name.
They are plunging forward with a QB depth chart of Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell. There is not an urgent feeling to sign up a third quarterback just for the sake of having three.
“We’re looking at our options right now,” coach Rob Chudzinski said Monday. “We’ll determine that. Obviously we have two guys that are comfortable and have been in the system. We’ll work through that. We have a number of different options we can go.
“I’ve done it both ways, had two or three, so I’m comfortable either way. It’s just a matter of us looking through our options.”
There are at least 18 quarterbacks with NFL experience currently unsigned. Among the notable names are former first-round selections Vince Young, Matt Leinart and David Carr. One-game phenom Matt Flynn also entered the ranks of the unemployed when he was released by the Oakland Raiders on Monday.
It’s possible the team could go completely under radar and sign a quarterback who is practice squad-eligible and then take a few weeks to see what he’s got.
In the meantime, the No. 3 emergency quarterback will be tight end MarQueis Gray, Chudzinski said. Gray was a highly recruited QB prospect out of Indianapolis who eventually was a read-option QB at University of Minnesota.
Suddenly, Gray, a September waiver pick-up from the 49ers, has assumed a variety roles. Currently he is the No. 3 tight end, the No. 3 quarterback and the No. 1 fullback until Chris Ogbonnaya passes the NFL concussion protocol and is cleared to return.
No Benjamin on kickoffs: Punt return specialist Travis Benjamin will not assume the dual role on kickoffs, Chudzinski said.
While Benjamin ranks second in the NFL with a 15.1-yard punt return average, Chudzinski said the skill-set and the style required on kickoff returns does not suit the 5-10, 175-pounder.
“Kickoffs, there’s a lot more contact, and it’s a little bit different in terms of how you hit those returns,” Chudzinski said. “It’s more about a straight line return and then making a one cut. Travis has the ability on punt return to make quick moves, get going … a little diferent style.”
The Browns have used Greg Little and Bobby Rainey in the kick returner role. Neither has a return longer than 33 yards. The Browns rank 18th overall with a 23.1-yard kick return average. But the more telling statistic is they are 26th in average drive start after kickoffs (19.7 yards).
Little actually drew some boos in FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday night when he returned his first two kickoffs to the Browns’ 8- and 10-yard line. Later, when Rainey was substituted and he took a knee for a touchback, the crowd cheered.
Chudzinski said that Little would remain in the role, but the team will get newly acquired running back Fozzy Whittaker up to speed to return kickoffs, also.
Whittaker, claimed last week from San Diego, averaged 26 yards on six kickoffs with the Chargers.
Bryant OK: Defensive end Desmond Bryant returned to practice and pronounced himself feeling good after a bout with irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath during the Buffalo game. Bryant was taken by ambulance to Cleveland Clinic, and was released the next morning.
He said he experienced the same things during a game with Oakland last year.
“It’s a pretty scary feeling,” he said. “Your heart won’t calm down. Fortunately we got a great staff on hand and they got me doing the right things and now I’m back to normal.
“We’re doing some things that will prevent it from happening again. I need to try to cut out anything that might start this up as well as I’m going to be taking some medication.”
Quick hitters: A surgery date to repair QB Brian Hoyer’s right ACL has not been set yet, per Chudzinski … The coach admitted he should have gone for two points after T.J. Ward’s pick 6 with 1:44 to play in the Buffalo game. A two-point conversion would have prevented the Bills from winning with two TDs and PATs. The Browns were never threatened after Ward’s TD made it 37-24. “Should have went for two. That’s my fault,” Chudzinski said … Ogbonnaya (concussion) and LB Jabaal Sheard (knee) worked on the side with trainers and did not practice with the team. DE Billy Winn (quad) said he is ready to go and eager to return this week.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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