1. Ricky, don’t lose that number: Ricky Seals-Jones was the revelation of the Browns’ 40-point outburst in Baltimore with three catches for 59 yards and one touchdown.
But at the 2017 NFL Combine, he was lost even among a comparatively weak crop of receivers that included only a few future NFL stars, such as Corey Davis, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cooper Kupp.
Seals-Jones was an impressive-looking prospect – 6-5 and 245 pounds – but his 4.69 40 time and inconsistency as a receiver at Texas A&M left him undrafted.
“I kind of knew in the back of mind I’d get transitioned to tight end,” Seals-Jones said.
That transition occurred for two seasons in Arizona. Browns coach Freddie Kitchens was the Cardinals running back coach his first season. In 25 games over two seasons, Seals-Jones had 46 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns.
When the Cardinals went full Air Raid offense under new coach Kliff Kingsbury, Seals-Jones became a roster casualty. The Browns claimed him after the Cardinals final cut.
After his emergence in his first extended playing time in Baltimore, Seals-Jones figures to have an expanding role while David Njoku recovers from a right wrist fracture.
“Obviously, it is just going to continue to grow, and the more reps that he gets, I think that is just as much better he is going to get, as well,” said quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Njoku called Seals-Jones “a beast.”
“Maybe he surprised the outside world, but we understood the person and what he could do for us,” Njoku said.
Njoku’s phenomenal athleticism is well-known. At the same Combine as Seals-Jones, Njoku’s measurables and speed (4.64) were similar, but his 40-inch vertical was 12 inches better than Seals-Jones’.
But Mayfield made an interesting point.
“They are different in the sense of Ricky has been a receiver in the past,” he said. “I think route-running wise it is something that he is a little more natural in, and David is more natural in just ability.
“To each their own, but they both create somewhat of the same mismatch problem.”
What he showed in Baltimore could be just the tip of the iceberg for Seals-Jones.
“I wouldn’t say tip, but coming to a new organization, new team … I’ve yet to be on a team that makes a run at the playoffs,” he said.
2. Chief update: Njoku’s right arm remains in a cast, but he was encouraged that opting not to have surgery will improve his chances of returning and contributing to a playoff run this season. Njoku would be eligible to return from injured reserve for the Miami game on Nov. 24.
“I’m doing great in rehab,” he said.
Njoku suffered a concussion on the nasty fall he took after a hit by Jets safety Nate Hairston upended him. He said if it weren’t for the concussion, he would have stayed in the game. He didn’t know his right wrist suffered a fracture until an MRI the next day.
“It was fun until I hit the ground,” Njoku said of the play. “Thank God I’m alive. It could have been a lot worse.”
Njoku could have avoided a more serious neck injury by a few inches.
The concussion was the second one he has suffered, Njoku said.
“My older brother is in the neurosurgery world, so a head injury is the last thing he’d want for me. He was a little nervous.
“I have a pretty strong head. I think it’ll take a little more than that to take me out longer. I give all the credit to God. I believe it’s all part of His plan.”
3. More Scottish Hammer legend: Rookie punter Jamie Gillan was named AFC special teams player of the month after a sensational four-game debut in which he:
-- Landed 11 punts inside the 20-yard line – second-best in the AFC.
-- Limited opponents to just four punt returns for 19 yards.
Gillan said he has improved his consistency by converting to a two-step approach after using three steps in his final year at Arksansas-Pine Bluff and throughout training camp.
“Catch, flip the ball and it is gone,” Gillan said. “It should eliminate people wanting to block it because they realize they are not going to get to the ball and all of that stuff. It should be nothing but positives for us.”
Gillan remains a work – and personality – in progress, a character Browns fans are learning more about each week.
It turns out he was an avid golfer at Dunbar Golf Club in Edinburgh, Scotland while attending boarding school and playing rugby and soccer. He said his handicap was down to a 7 when his family moved to Maryland and he played for his high school golf team. But his game has suffered ever since.
Suffered how badly?
He said he played the fabled South Course at Firestone Country Club this summer and shot 83.
Brownie bits: Cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams still did not practice because of hamstring injuries, making their game statuses for Monday highly doubtful after missing the last two games. Also not practicing were receiver Jarvis Landry (concussion and shoulder), offensive tackle Kendall Lamm (knee) and linebacker Willie Harvey (shoulder). Receiver Rashard Higgins (knee) and safety Morgan Burnett (quad) progressed to limited …
Technically, receiver Antonio Callaway still is on a roster exemption, and he did not appear on the injury report. He practiced, however, after missing four weeks with a high ankle sprain in training camp and four games of an NFL suspension. Callaway probably will be added to the roster late in the week. “It was great to have him back out there today,” Mayfield said. “He is a speed guy, somebody that I felt a rapport with him last year. He looks great right now. He is running around fast.”