According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cleveland Browns will place safety T.J. Ward on the injured reserve after he suffered a bone bruise on his knee during Sunday's loss to the Washington Redskins. Prior to the injury, Ward was having arguably his best game of the season.
Even though the Browns are officially eliminated from playoff contention, the injury still comes as a big blow to a young team that is hoping to pull off an upset or two over the final two weeks. That will be tougher now, considering the Browns' secondary will be going up against Peyton Manning this week. The Browns also waived veteran cornerback Dimitri Patterson unexpectedly on Monday.
With Patterson and Ward gone for the final two games, Cleveland will have to make two roster additions. Although one might think that two defensive backs will be coming in, that doesn't have to be the case. Cornerback Trevin Wade and safety Eric Hagg have been inactive for the past few weeks, so each of them can slip up the depth chart without the team having to add a new defensive back.
One option Cleveland has is to activate wide receiver Jordan Norwood from injured reserve, but that would put the team at seven receivers on the 53-man roster. The Browns could also promote a player or two from their practice squad without wasting a year of their eligibility. Those players include QB Thaddeus Lewis, WR Rod Windsor, OL Garth Gerhart, OL Bryant Browning, OL D.J. Young, DL Hall Davis, DL Ricky Elmore, and DL Kendrick Adams.
We also don't know the status of DE Frostee Rucker, who hurt his groin against Washington.