The Cleveland Browns walked out of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Thursday night with more than a preseason victory over the New York Jets.
The club is dealing with injuries to a pair of players after wide receiver Daylen Baldwin left the game with a hamstring injury and cornerback Thomas Graham with an ankle injury.
The injuries are significant enough that the Browns waived both Baldwin and Graham on Friday with injury designations, while also making several other transactions.
In addition, cornerback Greg Newsome II, who was one of 37 players who did not dress for the game, is expected to need a few more weeks of rest after injuring his hamstring in practice on Tuesday.
While the news about Newsome is the most pressing given that he is a key member of the secondary, it is still frustrating for players like Baldwin and Graham to be injured so early in the reason and miss what for them is valuable practice time to show the Browns, or another team, what they can do on the field.
That is a sentiment that head coach Kevin Stefanski expressed earlier today (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“You watch these guys, we get to watch all the work that they put in the weight room, in the meeting room, on the practice field, you name it, and Daylen is a guy that’s been very diligent in this building. He’s a guy that throughout the month of June when I popped my head in here, he happened to be in that weight. So it’s a very unfortunate part of our game, but he’ll bounce back, I have no doubt about that. And that’s just part of the nature of this game.
“You don’t like to see anybody go down for any reason, but those are things that we have to just continue to work through here, both on the coaching side and on the personnel side.”
Stefanski said the Browns will look to bring in some additional players “over the next couple of days, which turned out to be Friday afternoon as in addition to releasing Baldwin and Graham, the team also waived punter Joseph Charlton, running back Nate McCrary and offensive tackle Hunter Thedford.
To begin to fill those roster spots, the Browns signed:
- Cam Bright, a 6-foot and 221-pound linebacker who is an undrafted rookie free agent from the University of Washington. Bright played in 13 games for the Huskies after spending four seasons at Pittsburgh. All told, he had 242 tackles while appearing in 64 games in college.
- Miller Forristall, a 6-foot-4 and 250-pound tight end who has spent most of his three years in the NFL on the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans and the Browns. He has played in six career games, all with the Browns, and recorded a lone tackle on special teams.
- Jalen Wayne, a 6-foot-1 and 212-pound wide receiver who is an undrafted free agent from South Alabama. For his collegiate career, Wayne had 152 catches for 1,980 yards and 14 touchdowns.
It will be interesting to see if the team makes any additional moves at wide receiver now that Baldwin is no longer on the roster and Anthony Schwartz had a frustrating night against the Jets as he lost a fumble on his first touch of the game.
It should provide more opportunities for rookie Cedric Tillman, who had two receptions for 35 yards, and Austin Watkins Jr., who also had two catches for 35 yards while also adding a touchdown, should see more playing time, which is a good thing - especially as Watkins has already caught the eye of the coaching staff, according to Stefanski (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“(Austin’s) done a nice job. So again, he’ll get plenty of opportunities. With what happens with receivers, as we all know, you lose guys for a day or two or whatever it may be, and the guys that are available will continue to be able to show what they’re capable of.”
The Browns return to the practice field on Sunday at 2 p.m. and will host the Washington Commanders for their second preseason game on August 11 at 7:30 p.m.