The Cleveland Browns are facing a good news/bad news situation in the secondary for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.
The good news is that cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams were both full participants in practice and look ready to return to the field after missing the past four games with hamstring injuries.
How much Ward and Williams play is still to be determined, but defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is understandably glad that he has reinforcements for the Patriots, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“You look at both of those guys coming out of college, they come from a program that played a lot of man. This is a game that we may have to do that just to be able to tighten things up. The physicality in the run game, these guys do a great job of blocking support so our corners have to come up and replace on the edges. To have both of those guys back is exciting. We will see exactly how much they play this week.”
The bad news is that the Browns will be without starting free safety Damarious Randall, who did not practice all week as he is now battling a hamstring injury.
Sunday will mark the third game that Randall will miss this season, as he previously was out with a concussion for the Week 2 game against the New York Jets and the Week 3 game against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Browns may fill Randall’s absence with safety Eric Murray who, like Ward and Williams, brings a style of play that could help against the Patriots, Wilks said via the team’s website:
“No. 1, I like his physicality. I pride myself on having a physical secondary, and that is the one thing he has shown over the weeks. We are going to need that this week, particularly being in the slot with Edelman. A guy that is going to get in there and do the dirty work, I think he is going to do that. Again, he is physical in the run game, but we are going to have to play a physical style of game in order to give us a chance to win.”
With Randall out for Sunday’s game it will continue a bizarre streak where the Browns have not had their presumed starting secondary together on the field at the same time since Week 1.