Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said he’ll play at least some of his starters for a brief time in the preseason finale Thursday night against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
“Generally, the guys who are with the ones would get 10-12 reps,” Chudzinski said this morning during a news conference. “But there’s a number of situations still that need to play out in terms of specifics of who’s going to play and those types of things.”
Chudzinski said he would wait until Wednesday to reveal whether starting quarterback Brandon Weeden will face the Bears. He didn’t offer any playing time plans for any of the starters except wide receiver Josh Gordon, who will begin regular season by serving a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Chudzinski revealed Gordon will play “some.”
Weeden and running back Trent Richardson have made it clear they’re in favor of playing in the exhibition finale. Chudzinski is encouraged by that attitude.
“That’s a good sign, and I think speaks a lot about their understanding of the value of preparation and continue to get reps and improve and get those opportunities to go out and play,” Chudzinski said. “So we’re approaching it this week [as if] those guys are all preparing themselves to play. I think that’s important in the process, so I like that attitude.”
Chudzinski said there is no concern the Browns will need to place rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo on injured reserve and designate him to return after Week 8 of the regular season. Mingo has not practiced or played since suffering a bruised lung Aug. 15 against the Detroit Lions.
“Actually, he’s doing better, and he continues to be monitored,” Chudzinski said. “He’s actually going to run a little bit today, so we’re looking forward to seeing that.”
A team spokesman said Mingo ran today as planned.
Mingo worked out on a stationary bike today during the portion of practice open to the media.
Is the Sept. 8 season opener a realistic target date for Mingo’s return?
“We have no timetable,” Chudzinski said. “We just have to see how he progresses and how he heals. It’s really just an individual thing. It’s from individual to individual on how quickly they heal.”
Favorite at right guard
Oniel Cousins is the favorite to start at right guard when the regular season begins, Chudzinski said.
“[Cousins] has the edge right now,” Chudzinski said. “I’ve been pleased with how quickly he’s made the transition. It’s not been perfect by any means, and he’s still working and still needs to continue to work. But it’s been relatively smooth.”
Cousins, who has primarily served as a backup tackle throughout his career, played six of the first-team offense’s eight series Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts with rookie Garrett Gilkey filling in for the other two. The Browns have been experimenting at right guard in the aftermath of Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston suffering high ankle sprains that will keep the sidelined for the early stages of the regular season.
Last week, the Browns traded defensive end Brian Sanford to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for guard John Moffitt. But the Browns voided the trade because they had concerns about the health of Moffitt, who underwent knee surgery two years ago and elbow surgery last summer.
Chudzinski said he feels better about the situation at right guard than he did last week when the organization made a move for Moffitt.
“I feel better about the situation and Oniel -- what he’s done and what he’s shown,” Chudzinski said. “We just have to keep working. I think we do have a couple different options, and that’s the thing you always want to have is some options. Oniel moving from tackle to guard was one of the things that we had discussed. As it came time, that was the thing that became the forefront that we needed to do. We weren’t sure how it would all work out, but it seems like it’s gone as well as we could’ve expected.”
Backup quarterback Jason Campbell sat out practice today with an illness, and wide receiver Davone Bess sat out to rest his knee, a team spokesman said.
Both players practiced Monday. Bess sat out practice last week with tendinitis in his knee.
Starting tight end Jordan Cameron was held out of team drills today with a strained groin. A groin injury also forced Cameron to miss part of organized team activities in May.
“He’s got a slight groin [strain],” Chudzinski said. “I don’t anticipate any issues with it, but he’ll hold him from practice today.”
Chudzinski said cornerback Chris Owens shouldn’t be sidelined much longer with the strained foot arch that has been bothering him for the past few weeks.
“I think he’s a day-to-day,” Chudzinski said. “I wouldn’t expect him to be very long at all.
“I think Chris has done it enough and played enough from an experience standpoint that I don’t have any concerns with him. I know this morning he felt great. So we’ll get him back here in practice pretty quickly.”
Chudzinski said starting right defensive end Desmond Bryant is getting closer to returning to practice. He has missed time the past couple of weeks while dealing with back spasms.
“He’s progressing as well, and I don’t anticipate any issues with Desmond, either,” Chudzinski said.
In addition to Mingo, Owens and Bryant, kicker Brandon Bogotay (groin) and wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt (hamstring) worked out on the side with a trainer today during the period of practice open to reporters.
Running back Montario Hardesty (arthroscopic knee surgery), cornerback Trevin Wade (sprained AC joint in shoulder), free safety Jamoris Slaughter (groin), offensive tackle Ryan Miller (concussion) and guards Jason Pinkston (high ankle sprain) and Shawn Lauvao (high ankle sprain and arthroscopic surgery) remained out.