This has been a pretty difficult training camp for the Cleveland Browns so far.
They have had to endure an injury to rookie wide receiver David Bell, which he suffered in June, as well as a foot injury to Anthony Schwartz in recent days.
Earlier this week, the team found out that Deshaun Watson will be suspended for the first six games of the regular season, and while Cleveland got a bit of a break, the reality of not having its QB1 through mid-October is slowly starting to settle in.
Now, Amari Cooper, its other major acquisition this offseason, has sustained an injury himself.
#Browns Kevin Stefanski says that after getting a little banged up at practice yesterday, WR Amari Cooper will be out today. Said he will return "soon."
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) August 2, 2022
Luckily, head coach Kevin Stefanski said Cooper’s injury isn’t too serious, but the star wideout will still have to sit out for a while, just as Bell and Schwartz are doing.
For the time being, the Browns’ depth at WR has been severely depleted, and it could have a ripple effect, as Cooper will miss some valuable time on the field with his new teammates that could’ve been used to develop chemistry with them.
Cooper Will Give The Browns A Major Weapon
With most of the attention this offseason focused on Watson and his sexual misconduct allegations, the acquisition of Cooper has flown somewhat under the radar.
However, it shouldn’t, as he is a bona fide star.
In seven seasons with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, Cooper has been selected to four Pro Bowls while amassing over 7,000 yards and 45 touchdowns.
He will give the Browns their most consistent threat at wideout since Jarvis Landry, who departed the team several weeks ago after spending four seasons in Northeast Ohio.
Having an experienced and reliable WR1 such as Cooper will take on even more importance while Watson is out, as QB2 Jacoby Brissett will need someone like him who he can find easily without having to throw risky long passes.
Cooper’s presence can also help take some of the pressure off Cleveland’s young and improving wideouts, such as Bell, Schwartz and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
By drawing a good amount of defensive attention, Cooper could give all three an easier time getting open, catching balls and making plays.
Cooper’s Injury Could Be An Opportunity For Others
The silver lining to a star such as Cooper getting injured is the opportunity it always presents for young, unheralded players to step up and prove they can play well.
The two greatest examples of this in NFL history are Tom Brady and Joe Montana, the two greatest QBs ever, both of whom only became starters because of injuries to Drew Bledsoe and Steve DeBerg, respectively.
For the Browns, it means rookie Michael Woods II, third-year man Ja’Marcus Bradley and veterans Jakeem Grant and Javon Wims will get more snaps for a while.
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) August 2, 2022
Even more than that, it will make it easier for Peoples-Jones to firmly establish himself as the squad’s WR2.
If they all do what they need to do, these injuries could very well end up being blessings in disguise.