The Cleveland Browns defense has had a rough go of it through the first two weeks of the season.
- 734 yards of total offense
- 53 first downs
- 5 yards on average per play
- 6 touchdown passes
Those numbers come with a major caveat, however, as the defense has been hit particularly hard by injuries.
The defensive line was without starting defensive end Olivier Vernon against the Bengals, and Adrian Clayborn, Vernon’s backup, left the game in the second quarter with an injury.
The linebackers have been without Mack Wilson since August 18 and linebacker Jacob Phillips went down with an injury in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens.
The secondary has been without cornerback Kevin Johnson since August 20, and safety Grant Delpit and cornerback Greedy Williams since August 24.
Add all that up, and it is no wonder that the defense has been having issues.
The good news is that reinforcements may soon be on the way.
While not going into specifics, head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Friday that it is “conceivable” that some of the injured players might return to practice next week as the Browns prepare to host Washington on September 27, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“It is nice to have this weekend here and get these extra days of rehab. They are all progressing. They are all moving in the right direction. Do I know that they are all going to play? I really don’t know at this point, but I think they are all heading in the right direction.”
It may not be the same as saying “they’re back,” but each day brings the Browns closer to a return to health on the defensive side of the ball.
Given what we’ve all seen from the defense so far, that can’t come soon enough.