Training camp is in the rearview mirror and the preseason games are all wrapped up for the Cleveland Browns.
Now cut down day is here and the Browns will have to make the tough choices to form a 53-man roster capable of meeting the massive expectations in store for the squad.
“This is the only business in the world that you hire 90 guys to fire half of them,” coach Freddie Kitchens said at his opening training camp press conference.
Kitchens’ first training camp as a head coach was physical, but he was honest with his players every step of the way on his expectations. Even for someone who’s been in the business as long as Kitchens, roster cuts never get easier.
“This is the toughest part of the year from the standpoint of our business,” Kitchens told reporters following the Browns 20-16 win over the Lions in their preseason finale. “There are a lot of decisions that are going to be emotional for them and emotional for us. We have asked them to do things over the past four or five months, and they have never batted an eye. I commend them for that.”
Here’s the full list of Browns moves:
- WR Dorian Baker
- DT Brandin Bryant
- TE Stephen Carlson
- TE Seth DeValve
- T Brian Fineanganofo
- RB Trayone Gray
- LB Willie Harvey
- S J.T. Hassell
- WR Ishmael Hyman
- CB Robert Jackson
- K Greg Joseph
- CB Donnie Lewis Jr.
- S Montrel Meander
- WR Braxton Miller
- RB A.J. Ouellette
- DE Jarrell Owens
- CB Lenzy Pipkins
- DT Brian Price
- DE Wyatt Ray
- S Tigie Sankoh
- T Brad Seaton
- WR Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi
- LB Anthony Stubbs
- T Travis Vornkahl
- LB Dedrick Young II
- WR Derrick Willies
- G Willie Wright
- DE Anthony Zettel
- G Kyle Kalis (concussion)
- FB Joe Kerridge (concussion)
- CB Phillip Gaines (concussion)
- WR Antonio Callaway
- RB Kareem Hunt
- TE Rico Gathers
Browns Part Ways With Ishmael Hyman
Wide receiver Ishmael Hyman was one of the first cuts for the Browns. He suffered a concussion for part of camp but bounced back in the Browns final preseason game, snagging five of 11 targets for 61 yards.
In all this preseason he put up an impressive stat line of 11 receptions for 130 yards.
However, 14 different players caught passes during the preseason and wide receiver will be an interesting spot to watch as the day moves forward with guys like Braxton Miller and Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi battling for jobs.
The Browns singed the former James Madison standout as an undrafted free agent. He also played Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football league.
Jamie Gillan Wins Punting Job Over Veteran Britton Colquitt
The Browns informed rookie punter Jamie Gillan that he won the battle for the starting punting job with the team on Saturday, edging out Pro Bowl alternate and veteran Britton Colquitt, who had been booting the ball for the Browns since 2016.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero first reported the news.
Zac Jackson of The Athletic reported that the Browns will likely try to trade Colquitt.
Browns Trade QB David Blough to Lions
The first big roster move the Browns made was to send fourth-string quarterback David Blough to Detroit.
Blough was signed by the Browns out of Purdue as an undrafted free agent. He completed 25-of-43 passes for 271 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions this preseason.
With Baker Mayfield installed as the starter and veteran Drew Stanton battling with journeyman Garrett Gilbert battling on the depth chart, there was no real reason for the team to keep Blough around.
The Lions have Matt Stafford as their starting quarterback, while Tom Savage and Josh Johnson are battling for a backup job. Blough will likely be on the practice squad in Detroit.
Browns Add Depth to Offensive Line By Trading for Wyatt Teller, Justin McCray
General manager John Dorsey sent a message that he wasn’t content with what he had seen from the Browns offensive line, deciding to trade for Bills second-year guard Wyatt Teller just before the team’s final preseason game.
“Anytime he goes in the game, he brings a toughness to it, I think he plays with good technique most of the time and I think he gives us some depth at the position in the short term,” Kitchens said following the trade.
The right guard spot had been a major problem the Browns have been trying to sort out all preseason, with 2018 second-round pick Austin Corbett failing to live up to expectations
Eric Kush has been penciled in to the start role for most of the preseason, and it was assumed the Browns were ready to roll with the seventh-year journeyman. Kush has 12 starts in his career, the majority of those coming with the Bears last season, where he was in the starting lineup seven times.
However, comments made by Kitchens about Kush taking on the starting role were anything but reassuring.
“He’s got to continue to get better. He’s not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination,” Kitchens said. “There’s always competition and what these guys have to understand, they’re being evaluated every day. So right now, Eric will get the first shot from the standpoint of seeing what he can do. And I think he’s been doing fairly well. Not good enough yet, but he’s going to continue to get better to get there.”
Kitchens told reporters on Friday that Kush was still the starting right guard, but that it’s a competition — something the first-year skipper has repeatedly said leading up to the season.
“Eric is our right guard as we speak, but we haven’t even had Wyatt on the field yet,” Kitchens said. “My first inkling would be to say yes, but we haven’t seen [Teller] on the field yet. We still have four practices to get through. We will see where it all goes. Even though training camp has ended, there is always competition. There is always going to be competition while I am here. I think you get the most out of everybody when you run it that way.”
On Saturday the Browns also announced that they had traded for guard Justin McCray from the Green Bay Packers. He’s started 13 games over the last two season.
The Browns kickoff their season on Sept. 8 against the Tennessee Titans at home.
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