<
>

Browns welcomed Gerald McCoy to visit other teams, hopeful he'll still choose them

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

Takeaways from Browns OTA practice and interviews …

Although free agent Gerald McCoy will continue to visit other teams, the Browns are optimistic they can still sign the six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle.

“We want Gerald to go out and look at other places because when he makes the commitment here, we want him to be all-in,” coach Freddie Kitchens said. “Because everybody that’s going to be here is going to be all-in. So we’re fine with him taking a look at everybody else. We don’t care.”

After McCoy was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he chose to visit the Browns first. He also visited Baltimore and Carolina, and could visit other teams. Reports have claimed 11 teams were interested in him.

Kitchens described McCoy’s visit as “good as could be expected,” and said, “I like the kid, I like the person … of course I like the player.”

One thing that may be unique about the Browns – versus other suitors – is that their depth up front may reduce McCoy’s work load to that of a part-time player. That may or may not be attractive to him at the age of 31. A part-time role presumably comes with a reduced contract offer. It’s evident the Browns see McCoy as an interior rush specialist.

“I know the more good football players you have, the better you are, the better rotation there is, the better you can get after a quarterback in a two-minute drive,” Kitchens said. “There’s a staggering stat, like, 78 percent of two-minute drives, if you give up a sack, your chances of scoring goes to under 20 percent. He knows when we want to put pressure on the quarterback. He knows that’s what we’re going to be about. Hopefully he wants to be a part of it.”

The timetable for McCoy choosing his next team is unknown. But chances are good he won’t rush this decision just to be in uniform for mandatory minicamp on Tuesday.

OBJ still MIA: Receiver Odell Beckham Jr., receiver Antonio Callaway and tight end David Njoku were among the notable no-shows on the ninth “voluntary” OTA practice. Receiver Jarvis Landry entered the field late and did not participate … Kitchens said Landry probably would not participate in minicamp practices as a precaution. Landry has missed some OTA practices with an undisclosed injury … Asked what he wants to see out of Beckham at minicamp, Kitchens said, “I just want to see him.” Asked what Beckham has missed by being absent for eight of the nine OTA practices, Kitchens replied, sharply, “A lot. The offense.” … Kitchens said he still expects absent running back Duke Johnson to report to minicamp. “I do because it’s mandatory,” he said. The fine for missing mandatory minicamp, per the labor agreement, is about $80,000 per day this season.

About right guard: Right guard presumably is the only starting spot up for grabs on the offensive line. And though 2018 No. 33 overall pick Austin Corbett has been tabbed the front-runner, he has been rotating during OTAs with Kyle Kalis, a 2018 practice squad signee from Lakewood and St. Edward HS.

When Kalis takes reps at right guard with the No. 1 line, Corbett takes snaps at center with the No. 2 line.

This may be more a matter of the Browns grooming Corbett, a left tackle at Nevada, as a potential backup center to JC Tretter than an indication he is not picking up the right guard spot.

“As a football team this time of year, when else do you have to judge somebody’s versatility?” Kitchens said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen, who you’re going to lose, if you can stay completely healthy. You don’t know who’s going to play bad – speaking the truth. The more you can do, the better off you are. We’re just constantly rotating guys in. We’re not trying to get anybody comfortable right now.”

Now, this is not to say that Kalis isn’t capable of unseating Corbett as the starting right guard, mind you.

“I think all those guys are legitimate contenders,” Kitchens said, referring to veteran interior backups Eric Kush and Bryan Witzmann. “They’ve rotated every day.

“I like Kalis a lot. He’s aggressive, he’s strong, will continue to get better from a mental standpoint, and assignment and alignment.”