BEREA, Ohio – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Cleveland Browns training camp:
Memo to self: Stop thinking that Travis Benjamin might not make the roster. Special teams coach Chris Tabor could not have been more definitive about that Thursday, saying: "Travis Benjamin is going to be our returner." For kickoffs and punts. Which means at least one roster spot is secure. Tabor said he sees no hesitation or loss of quickness or speed from Benjamin, who is coming back from knee surgery. "He's an explosive weapon," Tabor said. "We're in the business of winning games and he gives you an opportunity for a big play. You can't play this game scared and you can't coach this game scared. If he's our best player doing it then we're going to put him out there doing it."
Tabor is not a fan of the extra-point experiment the first two weeks of preseason that will see teams line up from the 15 instead of the 2, making the extra-point 32 yards instead of the near-automatic 19. Tabor feels any permanent change would be far more harmful to a cold-weather team like the Browns or Bears, than to a warm-weather or to a team that kicks in a dome. He pointed out that one day this week the team practiced field goals from 30-some yards in wind, and it was not a gimme. "For us to voice our opinions strongly about it, I think that's important," Tabor said. "Kickers are talented. They're going to make these kicks here in the preseason. It's going to be in October, November, December. … There's not going to be anything that's going to give you information on those kicks."
Mike Pettine said he was vague with the players about how much playing time each unit would receive, so he wasn't going to get into specifics with the public. The only thing he said was that Brian Hoyer would work with the starters and Johnny Manziel with the backups. "We just didn't want to mix the units for this game," Pettine said.
The Browns report that these players did not practice, but no details were provided on their availability for the game: WR Nate Burleson (hamstring), TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder), LB Darius Eubanks (shoulder), OL Reid Fragel (lower leg), CB Justin Gilbert (groin), OL Randall Harris (knee), LB Eric Martin (concussion), Alex Parsons (knee), Billy Winn (abdomen)
The Browns will not practice Friday, but will travel to the Detroit Lions for the preseason opener.