Browns Camp Day 15: Team still searching for answers at right guard

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


Takeaways from Day 15 of Browns training camp at joint workouts with the Indianapolis Colts

1. Not quite: In the longest team period of the day, Baker Mayfield was on the field for 16 plays with his first-team offensive line; Eric Kush was at right guard. And the offense could not find the end zone.

It was a little bit deceiving.

Odell Beckham Jr. did not participate (more on that below), Jarvis Landry was on for just a few plays (Colts cornerback Kenny Moore broke up a pass for him), and David Njoku did not participate.

Mayfield fired a beautiful pass through a maze of defenders in the back of the end zone that was dropped by tight end Stephen Carlson on the 11th play. And then tight end Demetrius Harris, who otherwise had a busy day of catching the ball, lost one in the end zone.

The period ended with rookie cornerback Shakial Taylor breaking up a pass for Rashard Higgins at the Colts 5.

Summed up Mayfield: “Good first day’s work. Still got a ways to go. Gotta be a little more physical. I thought we tempo’d well. Played a lot. Kept the 1s in there for a long drive in the move-the-ball period. Did some good things.”

2. Where’s Odell?: Beckham watched intently from the sideline with helmet on.

Coach Freddie Kitchens indicated Beckham is nursing a minor injury. ESPN's Dan Graziano reported the injury is a hip pointer.

“He’s got a little bit of something going on,” Kitchens said. “We expect him back pretty soon. He is ready to go mentally. We’ll just get him ready to go physically. He’ll be there.”

Kitchens said he hasn’t decided if Beckham will play on Saturday.

“He probably could play, though,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mayfield is spinning Beckham’s absence as a good opportunity for other receivers to take advantage of playing time with him.

“Obviously, he’s going to be ready to go when it’s time to play,” Mayfield said. “Him sitting out and doing some of these things mentally is him getting used to the offense and seeing everything, hearing us communicate it, so when he comes out there he can be full speed and know what to do.

“It’s great for those other guys to get out there and get a chance to see a change of pace. The more guys that are ready to play with that first group the better.”

So it was Rashard Higgins and Jaelen Strong getting most of the receiver reps with the first team, with Derrick Willies also seeing some time. The big mover on the second team was D.J. Montgomery, who caught a lot of balls from Garrett Gilbert.

3. More changing of the guard?: Kush played the majority of snaps with the No. 1 offensive line. Then, near the end of practice in a red zone period, rookie Drew Forbes lined up for one play. And then Kendall Lamm had a snap at right guard. Then it was Forbes at right guard and Lamm at right tackle for a play.

Clearly, the coaches have not finalized a decision at right guard.

“I never said we weren’t rotating,” Kitchens said. “We didn’t put a [official] starting line out, didn’t put a [official] depth chart out. We’re trying to find the right combination, seeing who takes the job.”

So I asked Kitchens if there is discussion perhaps about trying right tackle Chris Hubbard inside, where he played some with the Steelers before arriving last year as a free agent.

Kitchens hesitated and then said with tongue somewhat in cheek, “I think there’s always a chance for everything. We could put [left tackle] Greg Robinson at guard. We could move [backup center Austin] Corbett to tackle.”

4. Kicking update: Both incumbent Greg Joseph and rookie Austin Seibert were perfect on kicks from 33 yards, 39, 43, 48 and 51.

Joseph caromed his long one off the right upright and it glanced through. Seibert was exceptionally down-the-middle on everything.

5. Brownie bits: Kareem Hunt got his most extended time in team periods, taking over for Dontrell Hilliard as the main backup to Nick Chubb, and looked good. “He’s right where we want him to be,” Kitchens said. Hilliard finished the day with ice wrapped on his left thigh …

Tight end David Njoku (knee) was inactive. His absence enabled Harris to get extended work as he catches up after missing about a week with a concussion. “A big athletic body,” Mayfield said of Harris. “He’s a guy that can make some plays that not everybody can.” …

With Kitchens spending the entire time with his offense, the defense worked against the Colts’ offense on another field and the coach had to catch up to reports of a minor skirmish, which didn’t amount to much. Kitchens has emphasized no fighting when the team practices against teammates, but he offered a different tone about not backing down against the Colts. “We’ll see what happened,” he said. “I just know we’re not gonna take nothing from anybody. At some point you’ve got to stand up for yourself. We’re not going to get penalties against our own team in Berea. But we’re not gonna come here and take anything either. There better not be a lot of fights or they’re gonna run [gassers] here. They know that.” ...

Browns fans were well-represented in the friendly crowd that looked to surpass 5,000 in the 400-acre Grand Park sports campus. "I didn’t expect anything different," Kitchens said. "We travel good. They’re excited, they’re passionate. I expected them to be here."