K’Waun Williams OUT a Problem for Browns Secondary


The Cleveland Browns will be without K’Waun Williams today due to a hamstring issue. He, along with Tashaun Gipson, have been an important part of the Browns secondary and both will be missed today:

Without Williams, rookie Justin Gilbert will get extended playing time today. When the Bengals go with 3 wideouts, Gilbert will come in and Buster Skrine will slide into covering the slot receiver. Joe Haden is likely to continue to shadow, and annoy A.J. Green, all day today.

That will leave the talented Mohamed Sanu and backups Brandon Tate and Dane Sanzenbacher to Skrine and Gilbert.

Sanu in particular creates difficult issues for the Browns. He is a deep vertical threat, runs precise routes, takes handoffs and reverses and can even throw a little bit. His ability to change speeds quickly can be a problem for the ultra aggressive secondary of the Browns. Expect the Bengals to try to beat the rookie Gilbert with a double move, early and often. Sanu has passed his previous season high already for receptions, yards and touchdowns. He also has an exceptional 14.2 yards per catch as a big threat guy.

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James Wright is unlikely to go and talented Marvin Jones is out for the season. Tate hasn’t had a catch in 5 games while Sanzenbacher hasn’t had one since October 12th. Former Brown Greg Little, who really wanted to make the Browns pay, has been inactive for all but one game since the last time these two teams met.

Still not having Williams will hurt the Browns. Mike Pettine and Jim O’Neil have often used Williams to defend against backs and tight ends. His speed and ball skills have helped him make up for any size differential. Now that duty could fall to Gilbert if the Bengals try to spread the field.

Without Gipson the Browns have used Jim Leonhard to much success. If Gipson was healthy, he is hoping to be back by the last game of the season, Leonhard and not Gilbert would be more likely used against the Bengals talented tight ends.

For now the Browns go to war without K’Waun Williams and hope the rookie first rounder Justin Gilbert is up for the task today. The Browns secondary needs a strong game today.

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How big of a deal is K’Waun Williams injury for today’s game?