Cleveland Browns: Will Genard Avery’s puzzling absence end vs. Rams?
After having a solid rookie season, Genard Avery has been inactive to start the Cleveland Browns 2019 season. But will his absence end against the Rams?
The Cleveland Browns wanted to establish a fearsome defensive front in 2019 that would get after the quarterback. They have done just that, but have been able to do so without second-year EDGE Genard Avery.
Avery has been a surprising inactive for the first two weeks of the season, even after emerging as a pass rush specialist in his rookie year. He also has the ability to be a versatile defender, as he can play defensive end but also play in space as a linebacker.
The 24-year-old played in all 16 games last season, including five starts. He made 40 total tackles, five tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and 14 quarterback hits. Avery was also credited with four passes defensed.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
During the summer program, it was noted many times Avery was working primarily with the defensive ends instead of the linebackers. That was potentially a sign Cleveland wanted to use Avery primarily as a pass rusher off the edge instead of using him as a linebacker who would be put into coverage.
But Avery has been unable to make a statement in Steve Wilks’ defense and has been forced to watch the first two games of 2019 on the sidelines. Avery being unable to crack the game-day roster has been one of the biggest surprises of the Browns season. He showed last season he can be a productive defender, even if he is not a full-time player.
However, Avery seems to have a good chance to crack the lineup against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. The Browns are dealing with several injuries on the defensive side of the ball, especially at linebacker. Christian Kirksey was placed on injured reserve and Adarius Taylor was only a limited participant for Friday’s practice.
The Browns have depth at linebacker with rookies Mack Wilson, Sione Takitaki, and Willie Harvey. However, they may choose they could feel comfortable having another player who can handle the position, like Avery.
Even if the Browns no longer plan on using Avery as a linebacker, Cleveland could be in need for another pass rusher. Chris Smith is questionable against the Rams after not practicing this week while he still manages the tragic loss of his girlfriend. With the uncertainty of Smith’s status, Avery’s ability on the edge to get after the quarterback, but still be stout against the run, could be needed Sunday night.
If Avery’s inactive streak continues on Sunday, there will be even more questions about his role with the team. He showed plenty of potential his rookie year, and should be able to find a role in Wilks’ defense despite the new scheme. But the injuries on the defensive side of the ball should give Avery a good opportunity to see the field Sunday.