The Cleveland Browns injury list heading into the game against the Los Angeles Rams reads like a horror story.
Halloween is not until next month, but September is scary enough for the Cleveland Browns, who will be missing several players versus the Los Angeles Rams, with several others at less than 100 percent. The situation is especially grim in the defensive backfield. Hopefully, you did not make a huge wager on the game versus the Los Angeles Ram Sunday night.
First the bad news, then more bad news, then the other really bad news.
Three regulars are out for sure. David Njoku has been placed on the IR with a broken bone in his wrist. Christian Kirksey is out with a torn pectoral muscle. Damarious Randall is out with a concussion.
Four of five starting defensive backs missed practice again on Friday and currently, Jermaine Whitehead is the only healthy starter. It’s one thing if the player is not fully participating but still able to go through some of the drills. Not so for Denzel Ward, Damarious Randall, Greedy Williams, Morgan Burnett, and backup Sheldrick Redwine, the fourth-round draft pick.
On offense, offensive tackle may be the biggest concern with starter Chris Hubbard missing practice, as well as the best backup in Kendall Lamm. Rookie Drew Forbes is on IR. Austin Corbett played tackle in college, but we have heard zero encouraging news from Berea about his level of play even in practice.
So how are the Browns going to stop Jared Goff if they are missing two starters on defense plus potentially three more in the defensive backfield? Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are the three favorite wide receiver targets for Goff.
However the Rams will be without Tyler Higbee, the starting tight end, and center Austin Blythe went only through limited practice as of Friday. Granted, the Browns would rather not see tight end Tyler Higbee, but the Rams generally field the three wide receivers simultaneously and then is going to strain the Browns defensive backfield which may be composed of second and third-string players.
Unless the injured players can get well very quickly, this could get very ugly. In fact, if any of you fans have played safety or cornerback in high school, you may want to show four hours before game time to see if the Browns might want to sign you up.
The Browns have re-acquired defensive back Juston Burris who had been with the Browns in 2018 as well as this year in training camp but did not survive the final cutdown. Burris has experience at both cornerback and safety and should be able to step right in and contribute, which is good because he may have to start.