Opening kickoff still in question for Browns
CLEVELAND – There seems to be some confusion as to the identity of the Browns kick returner for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
Johnson Bademosi is listed with the first team on the depth chart, but he did nothing to earn the confidence of coach Rob Chudzinski in preseason. Recent additions Bobby Rainey and Dennis Johnson have experience returning kicks, and it’s possible receiver and punt returner extraordinaire Travis Benjamin could get the call.
Benjamin hinted that he might be the guy before practice Thursday.
“I don’t know about the opening kick,” Benjamin said. “Right now we’re going through the schemes of the kick off and what the Dolphins have. It depends on what they come out with.”
With depth at running back behind Trent Richardson and Chris Ogbonnaya an issue, it’s likely that either Rainey or Johnson will be active. The SEC career leader in kick return yards from his days at Arkansas, Johnson would appear to be a possible choice for that role.
NOT THIS TIME: On draft day it appeared that Browns rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo and Dolphins rookie linebacker Dion Jordan would make for an interesting comparison in the opener. Since then Mingo has been hurt (bruised lung) and Jordan is returning from a shoulder injury and could be limited.
“He’s been on the field working with everybody else in preparations for this game,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said of Jordan. “We’ll decide at the end of the week how much of a role he’ll have.”
Mingo completed most of the individual drills Wednesday and Thursday. It’s unlikely he’ll be active Sunday.
OPENING FACTS: The Browns have a 27-33-0 record in season openers. The losing record largely reflects their struggles since the expansion season of 1999. The Browns are 1-13 since their return to the NFL, with the only win coming against the Ravens in 2004.
The current losing streak of eight in openers is the longest in team history. The longest winning streak is five (1962-66).
Brian Sipe had the most passing yards in an opener (375 against San Diego in 1981). Jim Brown set the rushing record of 171 yards in 1958 against the Los Angeles Rams. The record for receiving yards in an opener was set by Michael Jackson against New England in 1995.
The Browns scored 51 points in a season-opening win at Pittsburgh in Bud Carson’s first game as coach in 1989. The Browns allowed 44 points in a 1981 loss to the Chargers.
RUBBER MATCH: The Dolphins have opened the road portion of their schedule in Cleveland twice. They were a 27-23 winner Sept. 14, 1992. The Browns evened things with a 17-16 win Sept. 25, 2011.
INJURY REPORT: Two additions to the Browns’ injury list are cornerback Buster Skrine (shoulder) and linebacker Jabaal Sheard (illness). Skrine was limited and Sheard was a full participant.
The others remained unchanged. Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (back) and Mingo were limited. Receiver Davone Bess (knee), tight end Jordan Cameron (groin), linebacker Eric Martin (foot) and cornerback Chris Owens (foot) were full participants.