Missing from practice were starting defensive ends Myles Garrett, who is dealing with injuries to his shoulder, bicep and hand after being involved in a one-car crash on Monday, and Jadeveon Clowney, who is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered in Week 2 against the New York Jets.
#Browns DC Joe Woods: Myles Garrett won't practice today. Day-to-day thing. There's a chance he plays Sunday.— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) September 29, 2022
Even though Garrett and Clowney have not practiced this week, the Browns are not ready to rule either player out for Sunday’s game, according to defensive coordinator Joe Woods.
If either or both players can’t go against the Falcons, the Browns will turn to a rotation of rookies Alex Wright, Isaiah Thomas and Isaac Rochell, and will likely elevate Curtis Weaver from the practice squad.
That is certainly not the way Woods wants to go into a game against an Atlanta team that is averaging 26.7 points and 156.7 rushing yards per game, but if that is the case then Woods said he expects whoever lines up at defensive end to do their job (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“I really believe – I know I have said this before – it is not that guys have to step up and do anything special; it is just go out and do your job. If we had all of our guys available, I wouldn’t say, ‘Hey, don’t worry about it. You can take it easy.’ I haven’t really talked to them more about the situation we are in. It is just whoever is up and whoever is healthy, let’s just go play the best football we can to give our team a chance to win.”
It was not all depressing on the injury news for Cleveland’s defense, however, as cornerback Denzel Ward (back, ribs) and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (groin), were back at practice on Thursday, with Woods saying that there is a “good chance” that Ward will play against the Falcons, while Owusu-Koramoah said that he was scheduled to take part in individual drills and see how it goes.