The Browns have had good injury news for the most part this week. In addition to Barkevious Mingo being cleared to go this week, T.J. Ward returned to practice today (Thursday) and looks like a safe bet to play on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. On the other hand, the calf injury that has that popped up last week for Athyba Rubin looks like it will keep him out again this week, which will allow Billy Winn to start again. While he has not been ruled out yet, it seem like wishful thinking that Shawn Lauvao could go this week and he is not practicing again this week as he recovers. The timetable for his return may have been quickened after the disastrous performance by Oniel Cousins this past week, but it appears as though next week is the earliest Lauvao could be back.
In his media availability today, Ray Horton used the words ‘ease in’ when discussing Mingo’s return this week. It remains to be seen what that means but if he can just be a situational pass rusher when the run defense can put the Ravens into obvious passing situations, he could have a nice impact. A fresh Mingo is a huge changeup from players like Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard and adjusting to that type of speed and quickness on the fly can be difficult.
Ward hurt his shoulder in the game against the Dolphins and his return was deemed questionable in the press box, prompting a ‘here we go again’ reaction from every Browns fan and media member in the stadium and watching on television. Ultimately, Ward only ended up missing a series but playing at anything less than 100% has an impact, especially when it was compounded with the fact that Buster Skrine was battling through a shoulder strain.
The Browns will miss a couple players that could help them but they will be relatively close to full strength this week. The big question will be at right guard but Mingo’s debut combined with the play of the front seven against the Dolphins should give fans plenty of reason to be excited for when the Browns kick off against the Ravens, even if it is just curiosity to see what Mingo can do.