Browns defense getting some players back, but not all

Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.

Takeaways from Browns practice and interviews …

Comings and goings: A batch of injury news added up this way for the Browns:

Gone for the year to injured reserve are linebacker Christian Kirksey (hamstring) and cornerback E.J. Gaines (concussion).

Back on the field, at least at practice, were linebacker Joe Schobert (after three games out), safety Damarious Randall (one game), and left tackle Desmond Harrison (illness).

Not practicing were cornerback Denzel Ward (hip) and linebacker Jamie Collins (ankle), but both were expected to be back to practice on Thursday.

Schobert’s return should be a big boost because he is charged with communicating the play-call to the defensive unit and putting players in the right position.

Speaking to the subject of so many missing parts on defense, Schobert said, “In anything, communication has to be at the forefront. If you’re all wrong, you’re all right. That’s what they always say. Just get the ball down and make them play another play. Eliminate the big plays, and communicate all across the defense at every level.”

Randall very well could reprise his role as emergency cornerback, as he did in the Tampa Bay game.

Randall said he visited his personal doctor last week to have another opinion on his lingering groin injury. He missed some practice time as a result and that contributed to the coach’s decision to keep him out of the Chiefs game. Randall said he received “great news” on the groin injury and that no surgical procedure was recommended at this time.

Not saying: On Sunday, the Browns had a punt blocked virtually by accident when the Chiefs were trying to set up a return and their only rusher was not blocked. Such is the state of the Browns’ special teams.

They’ve had a field goal blocked in an overtime tie, two field goals and two PATs missed in a three-point loss, a fumbled punt return in an overtime loss, have given up punt and kickoff returns of over 47 yards, and have negative return differentials on both punts and kickoffs.

So I asked Williams if he decided a coaching change was needed at that area, would he have the authority as interim coach to make it.

He replied. “That has not even crossed … I am trying to continue to do the things that we have to do here day by day.”

So, does he or doesn’t he have the authority to make a staff change?

“Those are things that I do not discuss here,” Williams said. “I am just trying to get through a great Wednesday – warrior Wednesday, work out Wednesday, work day Wednesday and get to Thursday.”

Left tackle update: Although Williams was not ready to announce it, it appeared that Greg Robinson would get a second start at left tackle even though regular starter Harrison was back on the practice field.

Williams said, “What we will do is every day is an interview and both of them are taking reps. By the end of the week, we will make what is best and it is good – the fact that you have depth. Guys can compete and get ready to roll.”

Left guard Joel Bitonio gave the impression that Robinson appeared to be this week’s starter and that Harrison could benefit from sitting at this point of his rookie season after being rushed into the lineup a week before the season opener.

“After a few weeks, people have a game plan [on rookie players],” Bitonio said. “It’s the NFL. They have tape on everything. So, to take a chance to regroup and really improve the fundamentals of the game will help him.”