It appears that it will be another week of “next man up” for the defensive secondary of the Cleveland Browns.
While starting safety Damarious Randall returned to practice this week after missing two games with a concussion, starting cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, along with starting safety Morgan Burnett, have all sat out all three days of practice as the Browns prepare to play the Baltimore Ravens.
Injury report for #Browns and #Ravens pic.twitter.com/vxR1489Yr6— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) September 27, 2019
Ward and Williams are both dealing with hamstring injuries suffered in practice prior to the game against the Los Angeles Rams, while Burnett has a quad injury that has slowed him since the Week 2 game against the New York Jets.
All three are questionable for Sunday’s game against the Ravens, as are starting right tackle Chris Hubbard and wide receiver Rashard Higgins.
Of the group, Hubbard would seem the most likely to play on Sunday, if for no other reason than he actually was able to practice this week, albeit on a limited basis.
So what is a head coach supposed to do? Simply try to make the best of the situation, as head coach Freddie Kitchens said on Friday, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“... at the end of the day, my ultimate job is to get the best players on the field. That is something that you struggle with as a coach sometimes. You have to weigh the good and the bad and see where it is.”
The Browns actually held up relatively well without their starting secondary against the Rams, limiting quarterback Jared Goff to 254 passing yards and intercepting him twice. Of course, Brandin Cooks (eight receptions for 112 yards) and Cooper Kupp (11 receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns) kind of hard their way with the secondary, so it was a bit of a mixed bag on the night.
Cleveland faces a different challenge on Sunday in Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has thrown for seven touchdowns and no interceptions in the first three games of the season.
Even though the Ravens lost last week, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland came away impressed by Jackson, according to NFL.com:
”He’s like a triple threat. He can run it, throw it, pass it, run the option with it. He brings a lot to the table. You can really see the growth from Year 1 to Year 2 the way he’s throwing it. His accuracy. There were some passes that I was like, ‘Oh my.’ There really isn’t anything I can say other than tip my hat to him. He’s going to be one of the great quarterbacks in the upcoming years.”
The Browns take on the Ravens on Sunday at 1 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.