A lot has gone on since the disaster against the New York Giants, but altogether I think we came out a lucky football team. We could've had a quarterback with a separated shoulder, a safety with a career-threatening concussion, and a stud kick returner out for a portion of the season. Instead, we're only going to be forced to rest some guys up until the team's Week 1 contest versus the Dallas Cowboys.
As far as our game this Saturday (4:00 PM EST start time) against the Detroit Lions though, here are the players who have all but been ruled out, and who will be replacing them:
- QB Derek Anderson-----> QB Brady Quinn
- RB Jamal Lewis----------> RB Jason Wright / Jerome Harrison
- WR Braylon Edwards---> Not yet disclosed
- WR Joshua Cribbs-------> WR Syndric Steptoe
- OL Ryan Tucker-----------> Not applicable
- DT Louis Leonard--------> DT Ahtyba Rubin
- LB Willie McGinest-------> LB Alex Hall (rumored)
- S Brodney Pool------------> S Mike Adams
In case you're counting, that could very well be seven starters right there (five for sure). All of the injuries were known about immediately following the Giants game or beforehand, except for the ones to Lewis and McGinest. In case you missed the news yesterday, Lewis pulled hamstring and McGinest pulled a groin during the Giants game. (Late note: according to the OBR, Leonard will be out with a foot injury)
Now, for some more positive news: who will play. Head coach Romeo Crennel and other sources have all but confirmed that the following players will be ready to face the Lions:
- FB Lawrence Vickers
- WR Kevin Kasper
- TE Brad Cieslak
- DT Shaun Rogers
- LB Leon Williams
The biggest addition to that list? Well, physically, it's Rogers -- but I'm referring to significance: Kevin Kasper. After Travis Wilson failed to take advantage of a starting opportunity last week, Kasper finally made his long-awaited return to practice a day or so ago and is looking to get back into the thick of things before it's too late. If Kasper has a huge game Saturday, I wouldn't rule a roster spot out for him just yet.
One final note to catch up on: Crennel is deciding not to sign another quarterback after Anderson's injury. That means the team is down to just two quarterbacks. Many fans originally speculated that Anderson may have suffered a significant shoulder injury when he was driven into the ground against the Giants, but Crennel shot that rumor down today:
''I know nothing about a shoulder,'' Crennel said. ''I said a hand because he fell on his hand as well as his head. The concussion is the thing we're dealing with. He just got a bruise (on his hand); he put a Band-Aid on it.''
As for how the protection broke down on the play, left tackle Joe Thomas offered some insight:
''They kind of caught us in a blitz and we didn't pick it up correctly. We had leakage on the front side and the back side. When you have that, the quarterback's got no place to go.''
The Browns will only play Brady Quinn and Ken Dorsey on Saturday, but they are auditioning for in-house quarterbacks in case of an emergency. Among the candidates are P Dave Zastudil, TE Darnell Dinkins, TE Brad Cieslak, LB Kamerion Wimbley, LB Shantee Orr, LB D'Qwell Jackson, S Sean Jones, S Nick Sorensen, WR Efrem Hill, and WR Syndric Steptoe. I think Zastudil and Dinkins would be the favorites to play quarterback -- and to prevent an injury to a starter, I'd use Dinkins. According to the Plain Dealer, Dinkins was once the fourth quarterback on the Giants' roster.