With the bye week over, the Cleveland Browns' defense was all set to have DT Ahtyba Rubin, DT Phil Taylor, and CB Joe Haden on the field at the same time for the first time this season. Suddenly, that possibility is in doubt due to an oblique injury that Haden suffered during Wednesday's practice. Haden was listed as limited on Wednesday, but he did not participate in practice on Thursday. When Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer asked safety T.J. Ward about Haden's status, the response didn't exactly sound upbeat:
"When anyone's down, especially a starter, it hurts," said Browns safety T.J. Ward. "Not having Joe will hurt us but the next guy just has to step up. That's how it's been all year. We haven't had our complete defense on the field at any point this (season) I don't think. It just seems like everyone's starting to get back and Joe, I won't say he went down, but he hasn't been practicing. Hopefully we can have him this weekend."
Cabot cites that sources tell her Haden will try to do anything he can to play this weekend. Sometimes when you're hurt, though, you can't do anything about it besides sit out. We should know more about Haden's status when the Friday injury report is released, and you can bet that head coach Pat Shurmur will be asked about Haden right away.
I had hoped that CB Dimitri Patterson would be ready to go following the bye week, but that isn't the case: he is still not practicing with an ankle injury. If Haden can't play on Sunday, CB Buster Skrine would start in his place and Trevin Wade would play in the nickel. The Browns could also use a little bit of CB Johnson Bademosi on defense for the first time this season; Bademosi has strictly played special teams up until this point.