The laundry list of injuries for the Cleveland Browns continues to grow, as a number of starters will be out for Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
At least six starters are expected to sit out the game, including:
WR Mohamed Massaquoi
G Eric Steinbach
RB Brandon Jackson
S T.J. Ward
S Usama Young
LB Chris Gocong
That doesn’t even mention the players who are nursing injuries and might miss the game as well, including Josh Cribbs, Peyton Hillis, and training camp stand-out Evan Moore.
The third preseason game is often our first true look at the team, an opportunity to see the starters go longer into the game against more complicated schemes and sets. Unfortunately for the Browns, this game against the Eagles will be less about showcasing the first-teamers than it is seeing what kind of depth this roster might have.
The most important thing is ensuring that these players will be healthy when the games finally start counting, but there hasn’t been much time for the entire team to play in actual game situations. While that’s not always a big problem, as many players nurse injuries during the preseason and get limited playing time anyway, the Browns are in a unique situation.
It was a perfect storm, a preparation nightmare, as the Browns are attempting to implement a new coaching staff, a new offense, and a new defense in a shortened period of time due to the lockout. Having everyone healthy and on the field would have been the best-case scenario, but those just aren’t the cards they were dealt.
Instead, the coaching staff will work with what they have, and get yet another look at what kind of depth the Browns have. The biggest concern during the off-season was that the Browns had, in fact, very little depth at all at just about every position, something that was somewhat proven in the sloppy second half of last Friday’s game against the Detroit Lions.
The Browns can ill afford to lose their starters during the regular season, so Browns fans will have to be patient in waiting to see their favorite players take the field. Despite not playing much together, making sure the starters are healthy is the most important thing of all.