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Not again! Browns DE Ogbo Okoronkwo likely out for season, now what?

The injury losses just keep building

Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns have almost an entire football team on the IR list. Most are gone for the year so if the Browns do happen to make the playoffs, there won’t be any Calvary coming to help out.

News today was that defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo likely has a torn pectoral muscle and will be out for the remaining four games of the regular season. However, he has not been ruled out for the duration of the season and just may become active in the post-season.

The injury is a big hit for Cleveland’s defense which all season long has been at the top of the heap in league rankings. Suddenly, S Grant Delpit, the team’s leading tackler, and DT Maurice Hurst have been IR additives. Both players have already had successful surgery. Delpit has a slight chance of returning in the playoffs.

Also playing but banged up has been DE Myles Garrett, And yet the team is still 8-5-0 with the #5 seed in the AFC Wild Card race.

Ogbo has been a very productive player this season. He is second on the team in sacks with 4.5 behind Garrett’s 13, ranked seventh in the league. Ogbo has 31 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, eight QB hits, one forced fumble, one batted pass, 12 pressures, three knockdowns, and four hurries, with only a single missed tackle.

Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

All of these stats outshine the starter Za’Darius Smith who has 23 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, and six missed tackles, to name a few. Because of Ogbo’s increased production, the snap counts recently have been getting closer as Smith has played 461 snaps to Ogbo’s 434 snaps. Yet Smith has started all 13 games.

The current roster at defensive end includes Alex Wright, rookie Isaiah McGuire, and the newly signed Sam Kamara. On the practice squad is undrafted rookie Lonnie Phelps and last year’s seventh-round pick Isaiah Thomas. So far this season Wright has played on 200 snaps while McGuire is usually a healthy scratch with just 15 snaps.

Key free agents out there are Robert Quinn (age 33), Melvin Ingram (34), Carlos Dunlap (34), and Steven Means (33). Also, former Browns Isaac Rochell, Stephen Weatherly, and Carl Nassib are unsigned.

Some are questioning the Browns’ strength and conditioning coaches with all of the team’s injuries. But Cleveland has five on staff in this area: Larry Jackson - Director, Josh Christovich, Monty Gibson, Dale Jones, and Ty Taylor all listed as Assistant Strength and Conditioning. Who hasn’t seen RB Nick Chubb crushing the squat and Garrett crushing the box jump? Those are signs that this staff is doing all it can for this roster.

Injuries happen to every ball club. Just, maybe not as many as the Browns have had lately.