Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski told the media today that outside linebacker Quentin Groves will be placed on injured reserve. Groves was viewed as a great bargain signing in the offseason. In his previous five years in the league, Groves had been healthy enough to play in 79 of 80 career games.
This year, though, Groves has only been able to play in 5 games with Cleveland, and in 3 of those games, he had to leave early. The latest re-aggravation of his ankle injury, which he suffered against the Ravens prior to the bye week, will require surgery in a few weeks.
"It’s the best thing right now to get that fixed and corrected," said Chudzinski, with respect to Groves' ankle injury. "We’ll have to have other guys step up whether it’s on special teams or whether it’s on defense in the outside ’backer rotation and some of the things that he’s doing from that standpoint."
It's a shame to lose a role-player like Groves; in the very limited time he was healthy, he had 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and was getting pressure on the opposing quarterback.
It's not yet known who will take Groves' roster spot. They don't necessarily have to sign another outside linebacker; they already have two -- Eric Martin and Paul Hazel -- who have been on the roster all season as special teamers. On top of that, when Groves went down earlier in the year, the Browns just opted to put a heavier workload on their top three linebackers -- Paul Kruger, Jabaal Sheard, and Barkevious Mingo -- rather than working a fourth guy into the mix.
If Cleveland is interested, OLB Justin Cole, who was one of the defensive stars of training camp, is still a free agent. In the preseason, Cole had registered 6 tackles, 4 quarterback hits, 1 interception, and 3 passes defended. The Browns could also be looking to add a third quarterback to their roster; after all, we saw what's happened to Green Bay this season.