Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for 850 ESPN Cleveland.
Hey Tony: Where are we going to get a kicker?
-- Brian, Oak Hill, WV
Hey Brian: It’s ironic the Browns’ next opponent is Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have found perhaps the next great young kicker in Matt Gay, whom they drafted with the seventh pick in the fifth round. (The Browns chose Austin Seibert with the 32nd pick in the fifth round.) Gay’s emergence in preseason will cause the Bucs to release, or trade, veteran Cairo Santos. The Brazilian-born Santos was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014 by John Dorsey, then the GM of the Kansas City Chiefs. In three seasons in Kansas City, Santos made 84.8 percent of his field goals and 96.2 percent of his PATs. He averaged 124 points a season. The Bucs will seek to trade Santos because there are more teams than the Browns looking to solve a kicking problem. If the Browns lose out on Santos, I suppose they could try to persuade Phil Dawson to pull a Josh McCown and unretire. My hunch is that Dawson would prefer to come out of the bullpen during the season rather than try to make it through 16 games. So maybe the Browns start with Greg Joseph or Seibert and then call on Dawson when needed.
Hey Tony: Are you at all concerned about the lack of playing time for starters in the preseason game? I understand the need to get reps for backups and stuff, but what about the starters?
-- Brendon, Richmond, VA
Hey Brendon: Coaches are constantly trying to meet the challenge of balancing preseason play time v. avoiding injury. Generally, those that engage in joint practices with other teams feel the starters get more quality work in a controlled environment than in the games. For example, the first day against the Colts, Baker Mayfield and the No. 1 offense ran 16 consecutive plays in a controlled move-the-ball period against the Colts. That’s more work than he would have gotten in the game. So coaches use the games to evaluate backup players. What’s concerning is the fact Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t practice in team periods or played in any games.
Hey Tony: Do you see the NFL doing away with two preseason games and substituting with more joint practices?
-- Justin, Solon, OH
Hey Justin: The NFL preseason needs to be reduced. I think three preseason games + one joint practice session might be the answer. The NFL could make up for the lost revenue by adding a week to the playoffs by increasing the field. If they reduced the preseason to two games, I could see teams scheduling joint sessions with two teams.
Hey Tony: Will the Browns keep three tight ends? If so, who are the three?
-- Steven, Lyndhurst, OH
Hey Steven: I would pencil in David Njoku and Demetrius Harris as the top two. The third tight end is a mystery. I supposed newcomer Rico Gathers has a slight edge, for now, over Pharaoh Brown and the others. I think this position group is lagging.
Hey Tony: Damon Sheehy Guiseppi, done?
-- Marty, Richfield, OH
Hey Marty: Sheehy did not have a great week in Indiana catching the ball as a receiver. He has to earn the trust of coaches as a receiver in a pinch. He is the only returner on the roster with rare explosiveness. I would find a place for him. Gerald (Ice Cube) McNeil did nothing but return punts. That’s what specialists do – provide a special quality no others have.
Hey Tony: Does Drew Forbes have a chance of being the 2019 starting right guard?
-- Austin, Las Vegas, NV
Hey Austin: He does. Forbes has come on strong in the last week, as coaches have not been satisfied with the right guard position. He still has an uphill battle, however. The next two weeks are critical for him.
Hey Tony: Is it too early to call the Austin Corbett pick a bust?
-- Donnie, St. George, UT
Hey Donnie: Yes, it’s too early. I feel for Corbett. I believe he is suffering from Cam Erving Syndrome. This is an affliction caused by being versatile enough to be tried at multiple positions. Coaches get enamored with a lineman’s versatility and do the player more harm than good by playing him everywhere. The player never has a chance to develop at one position. Many draft analysts felt Corbett’s best position was center. The Browns finally concluded the same, but the time Corbett spent at left tackle, left guard and right guard retarded his professional growth.
Hey Tony: What's the most rushing yards by a Brown since they returned? I'm guessing Jamal Lewis in '07. Will Nick Chubb challenge this?
-- Mark, Butler, PA
Hey Mark: Lewis’ 1,304 yards in 2007 are the most in the history of the Browns for a back other than Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly. I can see Chubb challenging that number. The Browns would like to limit Mayfield’s pass attempts to 30 a game. If so, Chubb would get enough carries to challenge 1,300 yards.
Hey Tony: How much of a shot does the Scottish Hammer have of making the final roster?
-- Dan, Bend, OR
Hey Dan: Jamie Gillan has a powerful left leg. The problem in awarding him the punting/holding jobs over Britton Colquitt is two-fold. Gillan has to prove he can be a flawless holder – something he never did at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Even if he passes that test, the next problem is out of his control. If the Browns are steadfast in naming Joseph or Seibert their place-kicker, it would be very risky to also give the punting/holding job to an untested talent like Gillan. Gillan would be a match with a proven, experienced kicker. But the Browns don’t have one of those. If Gillan is waived, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him claimed. Bill Belichick swears by left-footed punters.
-- Craig, Rocky River, OH
Hey Craig: I think Higgins will have a breakout year, but he will not exceed Landry in yards, assuming both players are healthy.
Hey Tony: For the first time forever, it looks like we actually have roster depth at most positions. Why does NFL have a 53-man roster and only allow for 46 players to be active on game day?
-- Richard, Perrysburg, OH
Hey Richard: I used to be baffled by this conundrum until a member of the NFL competition committee explained the rule’s logic. Try to follow me, now. The league tries to keep the playing field of healthy players as level as possible. Let’s say one team is devasted by injuries and has trouble fielding 46 healthy players. Another team is fortunate and has 53 healthy players. The 46-player rule is designed to level the field, so that the fortunate team does not have too much of an advantage over the unfortunate one. Limiting the game-day roster to 46 is designed to help the disadvantaged teams.
Hey Tony: I’ve heard you gauge training camps by how often the ball hits the ground. How does this year’s rank?
-- John, Concord, OH
Hey John: Really good. Mayfield seldom hits the ground with passes. Backups Drew Stanton and Garrett Gilbert have completed a lot, too. This is as much a product of the offensive system as the individuals involved. I think this pass offense is going to be awesome.