Heading into the final week of the preseason schedule, the Cleveland Browns had three key players return to the practice field Saturday after dealing with injuries.
With the regular season quickly approaching, the Cleveland Browns had three key players return to the practice field during Saturday’s practice.
The Browns have not had starting right guard Kevin Zeitler available after suffering a calf injury in early August. But after nearly a month on the sidelines, Zeitler returned to the practice field Saturday. After missing the first three games of the preseason, Zeitler could see his first game action on Thursday in the preseason finale against the Lions.
Also returning to practice on Saturday was wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who missed time last week, and did not play in Thursday’s game, after suffering a groin injury.
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And the biggest return from injury was rookie cornerback Denzel Ward, who left Thursday’s preseason game early after suffering a back injury.
Zeitler’s return is great news for the entire Browns offense. After moving Joel Bitonio to left tackle and pushing Austin Corbett into the starting lineup, the expected regular season starting offensive line had yet to play any snaps together.
With only two weeks until the regular season opener, it was vital that Zeitler returned to the practice field. Having an offensive line that has not built any chemistry during training camp could lead to a lot of problems for the offensive backfield. But having Zeitler return now ensures that he is healthy heading into the season and also gives the starting offensive line some valuable reps together to build a solid chemistry.
Zeitler’s replacement as the starting right guard, Spencer Drango, has also struggled mightily since being bumped up into the starting lineup. Drango moving back into the backup swing-lineman role is a much better role for him to be in.
Callaway also returning to the practice field is also a great sign for the Browns passing offense. It was apparent on Thursday night that the Browns passing offense needed some more weapons on the field other than Jarvis Landry and David Njoku. With Callaway on the mend and Josh Gordon making his return to the team, the passing offense looks to be getting a big boost heading into the final preseason game.
Callaway seems to be performing at a good enough level that puts him in line for a big role in the offense. He has shown glimpses in the preseason that he already can be a game-changing wide receiver for the Browns.
Although it was reported after the game that Ward’s injury was not serious, it was concerning to have a top pick suffer any type of back injury. Ward has the potential to be a shutdown corner from day one, and his presence on the field against the Steelers will be huge as he will be going up against arguably the best receiver in the game, Antonio Brown.
With only two more weeks until the regular season, having players that are expected to play big roles on the mend is huge for getting the team ready for one of the biggest seasons since the Browns returned to Cleveland in 1999.