Kevin Stefanski Still Waiting For Clarity On Deshaun Watson’S Status Before Tipping His Hand On Practice And Play Time Reps

Right guard Wyatt Teller is not worried who plays quarterback for the Browns because of the talented running back room, which he called a 'four-headed monster.' (Cleveland Browns)

Right guard Wyatt Teller is not worried who plays quarterback for the Browns because of the talented running back room, which he called a 'four-headed monster.' (Cleveland Browns)

Kevin Stefanski still waiting for clarity on Deshaun Watson’s status before tipping his hand on practice and play time reps

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for and 850 ESPN Cleveland.

Takeaways from Day 8 of Browns training camp …

As the next chapter of the Deshaun Watson saga nears a conclusion – possibly early next week on the NFL’s appeal ruling by Roger Goodell-hit man Peter Harvey, or sooner if a settlement were to be reached – questions about Watson now routinely dominate every single media opportunity.

In a nutshell, here is the latest update:

* Coach Kevin Stefanski unflappably responds that he has multiple plans on how he’ll practice the quarterbacks and how he’ll play them in the preseason games, and he will adjust accordingly once there is clarity on Watson’s fate with the NFL. Watson is still getting reps with the No. 1 offense, though Jacoby Brissett’s reps with the first team have increased.

* There is a possibility Watson will see some action in the first preseason game Friday in Jacksonville. That depends, of course, on him still being eligible to participate in training camp. A ruling of an indefinite suspension by Harvey could disqualify him and banish him from their facility.

* If the Browns are poised to make a move on available 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the event of an indefinite suspension of Watson, they aren’t showing it. A league source said the Browns have not communicated with reps of Garoppolo or the 49ers.

* Stefanski would not say whether Colin Kaepernick is a consideration even to be brought in for a tryout. “I am not going to have those type of discussions on who we have looked at and have not. I will kind of leave that internal,” he said.

Run the (damn) ball, Part 2

Right guard Wyatt Teller conceded that everyone wants clarity on Watson’s status, but he pointed out that everybody on the team is so consumed with their individual tasks at training camp that they don’t have time to wring their hands about whether Watson will play or not.

When asked if the Browns had enough offense without Watson on the field to achieve their goals, Teller said with a laugh, “Yeah. Let’s run the ball. I’m an offensive lineman, so let’s run the ball.”

Later in his interview, Teller revisited the point in a question about the “state of the offensive line.”

“Get healthy,” he said. “Let’s run the ball and let’s kick some butt. I think our offense is never really going to show its hand. So, it gets people’s eyes in the backfield and then you have five guys running off the field trying to smash you in the face. 

"So let’s stick to what we’re good at. Whoever’s at quarterback – I think that [No.] 4 obviously is going to help – but whoever’s at quarterback, we have a talented offensive line, an amazing running back group, even with the rookie [Jerome Ford] we drafted. We’re a four-headed monster. So let’s use them.”

I interjected that safety John Johnson made the same plea from home during the Green Bay game on Christmas Day last year – tweeting RUN THE DAMN BALL! – and it went unheeded.

“Yeah, hey, let’s run the damn ball,” Teller said again, half-jokingly.

“But it’s easy to say that and then [defenses] put nine in the box and you’re like, ‘We can’t run the ball.’ There was some games they tried to get us away from running the ball. If a team wants to do it, they can do it. And that’s where I think that Jacoby, or whoever’s back there, is going to come out and play right.”

The unmistakable point there is it’s up to the quarterback to get defenses to respect the pass and keep them from clogging the box with eight or nine defenders. The inference is that Baker Mayfield was unable to do it last year.

Cade York note of the day

The rookie kicker sensation had a bad day. How bad? He actually missed a field goal.

York, who had made 12 of 12 field goals in full team formation this camp, made his first five tries and then was wide right on his final kick from 59 yards.

York’s fifth field goal conversion caromed through the uprights after glancing off the left goalpost from 54 yards. That was the first post hit by York this summer.

So York is 17 of 18 overall, including 3 of 4 from 50+ yards.

Brownie bits

For the first time of camp, Stefanski conducted spirited 1-on-1 sessions in pads. One thing was plainly seen: Defensive backs dominated the receivers …

Rookie Michael Woods (hamstring) was the latest receiver to miss practice. He joined David Bell (foot), Anthony Schwartz (knee) and Javon Wims (illness) …

Center Nick Harris walked off the field with a trainer. Nobody saw what happened. Turned out Harris was poked in the eye, the club reported …

Defensive end Chris Odom, who led the USFL with 12.5 sacks in the spring league and last played in the NFL in 2019 with Washington, announced on Instagram he has signed with the Browns. The club should confirm on Saturday …

Long, tall cornerback A.J. Green, a 2020 undrafted bonus find of the Browns, continues to draw love. “Man, he’s amazing,” cornerback Greg Newsome said. “I said it last year and I’ll say it again: I feel like if he wasn’t on this team he could be a starter anywhere else in the league. He’s that good, he’s that talented. He’s been having a great camp. Whenever we need him to be on the field, he’s ready to go. We don’t miss a beat with him on the field.” …

With about a half-hour left in the padded practice, a storm blew in and chased the team inside its cramped fieldhouse.