Myles Garrett was spotted working out on the sidelines with little sign of his nagging shoulder injury Thursday, and that was a relief to many Cleveland Browns fans wondering if the defensive captain will play on Sunday.
Garrett is in the middle of what is arguably his best season, one that could lead to more postseason honors.
But Browns insider Tony Grossi tells ESPN Cleveland that the team would miss another injured player more (via ESPN Cleveland on YouTube).
Grossi is confident that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz can scheme his way around Garrett’s absence.
Andrew Berry provided what Grossi calls a “healthy amount” of options on the defensive line, but he does not believe Schwartz has as much flexibility in the defensive secondary.
That is why Grossi says the absence of Denzel Ward would be felt more than Garrett missing a game.
Cleveland’s two-time All-Pro missed practices through Thursday, making him questionable at best for the Rams game.
While Greg Newsome is a slight downgrade from Ward, the bigger concern is the third corner.
Ward, Emerson, and Newsome are a far better combo than Emerson, Newsome, and anyone else.
Cleveland still managed to hold Denver to 134 passing yards without Ward last week, but Los Angeles’ Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua don’t offer much respite for Week 13.
On the front line, there has not been a discernible drop-off in play when Schwartz rests Garrett from time to time.
Ogbo Okoronkwo and Zadarius Smith are starter-quality and second-year player Alex Wright is contributing more.
Strong play from the Browns’ interior linemen provides support to the edge rushers, as well.