Both center Alex Mack (appendectomy) and cornerback Joe Haden (sprained left knee) are listed as questionable for the Cleveland Browns’ game against the Oakland Raiders, but it’s looking more and more likely that Mack will play in the game and Haden will sit out.
Mack has been practicing with the team this week, while Haden has been relegated to working inside the Browns’ practice facility, away from the media.
Assuming that Mack plays on Sunday, that leaves cornerback Dimitri Patterson to start in Haden’s place. Patterson started ten games for the Philadelphia Eagles last season, and has been playing well as the nickelback this season with the Browns. If he does have to start on Sunday, Patterson certainly doesn’t lack the much-needed confidence to play the position:
“If anybody follows me and what I did last year in Philly, I’m just picking up where I left off,” said Patterson, a sixth-year pro. “I started 10 games last year and had four interceptions, and I expect to play at a high level.”
Regardless of how ready Patterson is, there’s no doubt that losing Haden would be a big blow to the Browns’ defense. He has arguably been the best player on that side of the ball this season, and has had success in shutting down other teams’ No. 1 receivers. The Raiders have a potent offense, though, and everyone on the Browns defense will need to step up in a big way to give the team a chance to win. Losing Joe Haden makes that an especially difficult proposition.