Sunday, September 4, 2016

They’re not done yet

Well that 53-man roster didn’t last very long. It took less than 24 hours for the Browns brass to shake it up, reset it and affect the lives of 10 players, including one of their 14 draftees, in the process.

Gonzo are cornerback Trey Caldwell (the draftee – he was a fifth-round selection), linebacker Cam Johnson (reducing the Johnson presence on the roster to two), safety Rahim Moore and running backs Raheem Mostert and Terrell Watson.

Say hello, at least for the time being, to running back George Atkinson, defensive end Tyrone Holmes, linebacker Corey Lemonier and defensive backs Marcus Burley and Briean Boddy-Calhoun, all picked up off the waiver wire.

According to reports, ex-Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, waived by Kansas City, will be added to the practice squad that now consists of tight end Connor Hamlett, offensive linemen Kaleb Johnson and Dan France and wide receiver Darius Jennings, all of whom did not survive the original cut to 53.

Hogan was drafted by the Chiefs well after the Browns took Cody Kessler in the third round last May. Both are Pac-12 quarterbacks who ran pro-style offenses. Hogan is bigger at 6-3, 220 pounds. His and Kessler’s big negative is lack of arm strength.

The most intriguing newcomer might be Atkinson, an impressive performer for the Oakland Raiders during the exhibition season. With the loss of Mostert and Watson, he is the only insurance behind running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr.

It appears as though Holmes is being brought in because of his production on the small college level, racking up 18 sacks at Montana last season. The analytics folks at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. are easily attracted to large production numbers.

At 6-3 and 253 pounds, Holmes is too light to play end and fits the profile of an outside linebacker in Ray Horton’s 3-4 base defense. Unless the coordinator suddenly switches to a 4-3, Holmes is more likely to hone his pass-rushing skills as a standup linebacker.

Lemonier, Boddy-Calhoun and Burley are merely roster fodder for the time being until the front office swings back into action following the Labor Day holiday as they continue to reshape the roster to suit the coaching staff.

All five newcomers are bottom-of-the-roster residents, with perhaps the exception of Atkinson, and won’t seriously affect the plans by coach Hue Jackson and his staff as they prepare for the season opener next Sunday in Philadelphia against the Eagles.

A few of them might even stick if they show any talent for playing on special teams. Atkinson, who returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the Raiders in the exhibition season, could be a candidate for that role with the Browns.

Don’t get used to the current roster just yet. The mercurial nature of it is bound to bring about more change well before the trip to Philly. It is unlikely Sashi Brown and Co. will resist tinkering with it some more. There are still too many holes to be addressed.

Stay tuned.

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