While the situation is not as anyone hoped or expected, the Cleveland Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17 Monday night football to act as a spoiler.
In 1986, Cleveland stopped a 16 game losing streak in Pittsburgh known as “the jinx.” The #Browns have lost 17 straight regular season games in the Steel City. Let’s end that! #CLEvsPIT pic.twitter.com/zVKC2x2BLe
— Ed_in_Columbus (@ed_in_columbus) January 3, 2022
The Steelers still have slim playoff hopes, and they will be riding the emotional high of Ben Roethlisberger‘s final home game at Heinz Field.
Next week, the Browns take on the Bengals, a team they have competed well against in recent years.
There is football to be watched and though fans will be tuned in to watch every Browns player, here are three players to pay closer attention to in the waning quarters of the 2021 season.
The three are offensive players as it appears there needs to be a rework of the offense in the offseason.
In no particular order, here are the three.
1. D’Ernest Johnson
D’Ernest Johnson got SHIFTY 🤧 pic.twitter.com/VShvTh6pjf
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) December 26, 2021
“Slow Grind” D’Ernest Johnson was one of the scant few feel good stories of 2021.
Johnson has been waiting in the wings for an opportunity to show his skills.
Johnson is a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
With Nick Chubb re-signed and Kareem Hunt having one year left on his contract, Johnson’s future is unclear.
The Browns could opt to keep Johnson and let Hunt go after the 2022 season.
If Johnson gets more playing time than usual or expected in the next two games, it could be because the Browns are trying to figure out the best fit for him also.
2. Rashard Higgins
Part of the #Browns moves today was waiving JaMarcus Bradley
Who two weeks ago was taking a roster spot from Rashard Higgins
I don’t understand it
— Matt Fontana (@MattFontana83) December 11, 2021
“Hollywood” Higgins did not give us much Hollywood flair this season.
He did not give us much of anything because it seemed he was always missing in action or “inactive” by Browns terminology for certain games.
Higgins signed a one-year deal to come back to the Browns in 2021 so it is extremely unclear where he fits in 2022 since he barely fit in 2021.
It will be interesting to see if he gets more playing time in the next two games as the Browns are also sorting through how to handle Higgins moving forward.
3. Jarvis Landry
Landry has been the leader of the wide receivers for years.
There were so many obstacles in his way this season, the most significant being an uncharacteristic injury that sidelined him.
Also with Jarvis Landry, the dude hasn’t really been great either. Yeah he’s a tremendous leader but he doesn’t really produce much for the #Browns
— Irrational Browns Elf (@IrrationalFan23) January 3, 2022
2022 will be the fifth and final year of his contract.
With his close friend Odell Beckham Jr. gone and Landry turning 29, will he want to get out of Cleveland also?
The Browns have to make some changes at the wide receiver position.
It is unclear if Landry will be part of that change or will be part of a trade deal.
If Landry plays a lot in the next two games, it could be either his swan song as a Brown or to cement his role in 2022 as the WR1.
Because it is too early to attempt and figure out what Andrew Berry will do in the offseason, it is important that Browns fans find a way to enjoy watching the two games left with this roster.
Though the specifics are unknown, one thing is for sure, the roster will definitely be different in 2022.