You normally don’t expect to hear much substantial news at a team golf outing, but apparently the Cleveland Browns are no ordinary team. Besides Jimmy Haslam offering up some praise for Hue Jackson and Joe Thomas showing some faith in Cody Kessler, we also learned about some potential position changes on defense.
The biggest news is that Chris Kirksey will be working as an outside linebacker this offseason, moving away from the inside role he’s played the past several years. In the video clip below, Kirksey, who was at the golf outing, stressed that a “linebacker is a linebacker” and he will be comfortable with the new way that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will utilize him:
We know the Browns have been wanting to give Kirksey a contract extension, so it’ll be interesting to see how the position change will impact that. Kirksey declined to discuss his contract situation at the outing.
The other position of note is free safety. Jackson said that Ed Reynolds will begin the offseason programs as the free safety with the first-team defense, but that ultimately they want the best four players to start in the secondary. When Jackson spoke about new addition Jason McCourty, he talked about his versatility, including how he will presumably get a shot at the free safety spot: "He could play nickel, he could play corner, he could play safety,” said Jackson.
Elaborating more, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer relayed the following regarding McCourty seeing some time at free safety eventually:
“I think he’ll get an opportunity to do it, once we determine that that’s where he’s needed,’’ said Jackson. “Right now, I just think you can never have too many good secondary players, regardless of what the position is.’’