Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
Hey Tony: As OTAs begin, what position battles are you most curious to see play out?
-- Justin, San Diego, CA
Hey Justin: Position battles don’t truly begin until training camp, though some adjustments to the coaches’ private depth charts could be made as a result of OTAs. The most interesting training camp battles should be at linebacker and kicker. Ultimately, how the coaches incorporate Kareem Hunt in the backfield after his suspension in November will be a revelation, too.
Hey Tony: Does the recent addition of RBs set the stage for a move with Duke Johnson?
-- Mark, Berea, OH
Hey Mark: Not necessarily. Neither of the running backs recently added – L.J. Scott of Michigan State and Trayone Gray of Miami – have the pass catching skill set of Johnson. But any addition to this position group has to be considered insurance against the prospect of Johnson being traded.
Hey Tony: Do you think Freddie Kitchens will enforce some sort of social media code of conduct for the team? (With @obj & @bakermayfield being very active)
-- Truman, Mogadore, OH
Hey Truman: Naw. Dawgs gotta tweet.
-- Jeff Fort Recovery, OH
Hey Jeff: Takitaki was taken 80th overall by the Browns. Layne was taken 83rd by the Steelers. Obviously, the Browns ranked Takitaki ahead of Layne, given that they had already taken cornerback Greedy Williams with the 46th pick. I mocked Layne to the Browns because I never foresaw Williams dropping that far. Neither did the Browns.
Hey Tony: How much freedom do you think Baker Mayfield will get to audible at the line of scrimmage this year, or even call his own plays? Was Brian Sipe the last Browns quarterback to call plays?
-- Dave, Akron, OH
Hey Dave: Bernie Kosar often changed plays, or called his own, after his rookie season. I would think we might see Mayfield be given the freedom to do this as he continues to grow into the new offense being implemented by Freddie Kitchens and Todd Monken. It’s part of the next natural stage of progression for him as an NFL quarterback.
Hey Tony: What can OTAs show the coaching staff about the players and team?
-- Chad, Erie, PA
Hey Chad: OTAs are mental exercises, more so than competitions. So players aren’t so much competing within position groups as much as transferring classroom knowledge of the playbook to the practice field. I suppose if a player clearly shows problems in making the transition from classroom to field, then the coaches will notice and re-evaluate whether the player has a chance to make the team. Since there is no physical contact per se – other than incidental – it’s difficult for coaches to get an accurate gauge on the positions of offensive and defensive lines, running back and linebacker.
Hey Tony: Would the Browns have interest in trading for Kyle Rudolph?
-- Ray, Charleston, SC
Hey Ray: The Minnesota tight end is scheduled to make over $7 million in 2019 and the Vikings are pressed up against the salary cap and need to make room. Rudolph is one of the best in the business, but I don’t get a sense he is on the Browns’ radar.
Hey Tony: We have playmakers, but small ones. Do you feel a need for a larger red zone target? David Njoku seems to be the only larger target.
-- Evan, Zanesville, OH
Hey Evan: I thought there was a chance the Browns agreed and would draft a larger receiver and/or a tight end. It didn’t happen, though some were signed after the draft. Don’t forget about three receivers at the back end of the position group who would classify as “larger” ones – Damion Ratley, Derrick Willies and Jaelen Strong.
Hey Tony: Is the Gerald McCoy trade a dead issue?
-- Mike, Palm Harbor, FL
Hey Mike: Trading for McCoy means trading for a contract that pays him $13 million in 2019, $12.5 million in 2020, and $12.9 million in 2021. Doing so would be a great favor to the Bucs because they are desperate to create salary cap room. So trading for McCoy, in my opinion, was never a real issue. If the Bucs released McCoy, the Browns might be interested in him at the right price, but there would be competition and I’m not sure how high the Browns would go for a player who’d be their third defensive tackle.
Hey Tony: Who do you expect to return punts and kicks and is there any chance at all the Scottish Hammer wins both kick gigs and they only carry one kicker?
-- Martin, Kansas City, MO
Hey Martin: I don’t see why Antonio Callaway shouldn’t be considered the favorite to return punts and kickoffs. As for the Scottish Hammer, he is competing only as a punter, though he could handle kickoffs and place-kicks in an emergency situation.
Hey Tony: Was Mychal Kendricks’ white collar crime really that big of a deal and worth an immediate cut? Could have used him last year and probably this year.
-- Eric, Rock Hill, SC
Hey Eric: To my knowledge, Kendricks was less than truthful when the Browns questioned him about his involvement in a “financial situation” before they signed him. When the truth came out, they released him.
Hey Tony: Who is the player that left Cleveland via free agency or traded away that you have rooted for the most and why?
-- Leroy, Perrysburg, OH
Hey Leroy: Didn’t everybody in Cleveland root for Phil Dawson to make it to the Super Bowl after the Browns let him leave in free agency?
Hey Tony: In your time covering the Browns, which head coach was the easiest to deal with and who was the most difficult?
-- Jamie, Cleveland, OH
Hey Jamie: Bud Carson was the easiest coach to deal with and easy to root for. He was brutally honest, eminently quotable and generous with his time. What more could a reporter ask for? The most difficult was Bill Belichick, for reasons obvious to everyone now – even after six Super Bowl championship with the Patriots.