By Mary Kay Cabot with Josh Gunter and John Kuntz – cleveland.com | Posted November 08, 2018 at 10:04 PM | Updated November 08, 2018 at 10:24 PM
Tight end Seth DeValve catches a pass in route drills during practice, November 8, 2018, in Berea. (John Kuntz, cleveland.com)
BEREA, Ohio — Cornerback Denzel Ward and linebacker Jamie Collins returned to practice on Thursday after both sat out Wednesday with injuries, which was good news for a weakened Browns defense.
The Browns face the Falcons’ No. 2-ranked pass offense Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium, and the fifth-best offense overall, led by quarterback Matt Ryan, the No. 4-rated QB this season.
“I’ve seen him grow and grow and grow and have seen him be in charge of his improvement,” said coach Gregg Williams. “He’s … doing some really, really good things. He’s very accurate. Our work’s going to be cut out for us. You can’t fool those kinds of guys that many times.”
Williams also shared that he urged Baker Mayfield to play with more abandon. He’s still deciding between Greg Robinson and Desmond Harrison at left tackle, and revealed what will factor into the decision.
Rookie running back Nick Chubb discussed the things he must do at this level, and Breshad Perriman addressed his end-arounds and growing comfort level in the offense.
1. Baker Mayfield told to ‘cut it loose’
Baker Mayfield throws a pass in route drills during practice. (John Kuntz, cleveland.com)
Williams revealed that he told Mayfield to get back to playing with the moxie that made him who he is.
“We have his back. Now, let’s go,” said Williams. “We understand that mistakes are going to be made. Do not be afraid of making mistakes. Just cut it loose and play, and make faster and faster decisions. That’s the No. 1 thing that I’ve tried to convey to him.”
Here are four reasons Mayfield should be able to play with more confidence this week: 1. He’ll likely have Greg Robinson starting at left tackle. 2. More Duke Johnson in the game plan. 3. Rashard Higgins will be in his second game back from his knee injury. He only played 39 percent of the snaps last week. 4. He’s developing some timing with deep threat Breshad Perriman.