We knew it was going to happen we just didn’t know when it was going to happen but the Cleveland Browns are officially eliminated from the 2022 NFL playoffs. The Browns loss to the New Orleans Saints feels like a microcosm of their season:
- Losing a game they should have won
- Falling apart in the second half
- Almost winning the game
- Few, if any, adjustments
- Frustrated fans
Now, with two weeks left in the season, Cleveland has to play out meaningless games on the road. In some ways, Browns games have been meaningless since their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals but even more so now.
As it has been, the focus to finish this season is on getting QB Deshaun Watson as much time to get prepared for 2023 as possible. While Watson will get a chance to shake more rust off, there are a variety of veterans who shouldn’t see the field again this season. With both games on the road, wanting to avoid new or worsening injuries and wanting to give young guys more of a chance to develop, these players should be done until 2023:
- Myles Garrett - The stud defensive end has nothing to prove and has been dealing with injuries since his car accident. Shut him down, he’s just getting held (like in the above picture) all game anyways.
- Nick Chubb - The stud running back has nothing to prove, had a foot injury this week and already has 276 carries and 21 receptions this season. Have a seat, Mr. Chubb, you’ve earned it.
- Amari Cooper - While getting Watson up to speed with his receivers and offense is important, it is not as important as making sure Cooper is healthy next year. Don’t risk it, honor Cooper’s veteran status with two weeks of rest before the season ends.
- Jadeveon Clowney - While fans may not like how many games Clowney has missed, it is possible that he could return again next year. Out with a concussion, no reason to bring him back. Let Alex Wright, Isaiah Thomas and Chase Winovich (a pending free agent), show what they can do for two weeks.
- Denzel Ward - No reason to risk Ward, who has had concussion and other injury issues, in meaningless games given what they are paying him.
- John Johnson III - The Browns might have an interesting decision with JJ3 this offseason but having him healthy is vital so they can cut or trade him if they want to. Plus, he’s coming back at fans on social media, no need to give more chances for that.
While we’d love to give a veteran like Joel Bitonio time off as well, keeping Watson healthy is the top priority, especially against the Washington Commanders and Pittsburgh Steelers front sevens.
The last two games are all about Watson, offensive chemistry and seeing what some of the young guys can do. Nothing else really matters so give these six guys two weeks of relaxing as well.