Last weekend’s loss to the New York Jets hurt the Cleveland Browns more than we realized.
Myles Garrett and Joel Bitonio did not practice Tuesday and might miss Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh.
Jadeveon Clowney and Chase Winovich were already ruled out for this week’s game.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) September 20, 2022
Winovich will be out at least 4 weeks after joining tight end Jesse James (biceps) on the injured reserve.
It is a neck injury putting Garrett’s availability into question.
Kevin Stefanski said he does not believe the injuries to Bitonio and Garrett are serious.
We have made the following roster moves:
– Placed TE Jesse James and DE Chase Winovich on injured reserve
– Signed T Tyrone Wheatley to the practice squad
– Released T Alex Taylor from the practice squad
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 20, 2022
But it is not unusual to err on the side of caution with necks, especially in a short week.
Clowney suffered an ankle injury that ended his day early against the Jets.
After logging 2 of the 4 quarterback hits on Joe Flacco, Winovich tweaked a hamstring.
And Joel Bitonio is nursing a biceps injury after Sunday’s loss.
What It Means To The Browns
Cleveland will run out a pair of rookies along with veteran Isaac Rochell Thursday night if Garrett can’t play.
Third-round draft pick Alex Wright has 2 tackles and a pair of pass deflections in limited duty to date.
Isaiah Thomas was drafted in the 7th round and has yet to log an NFL statistic through 2 weeks.
Rochell was inactive against the Jets and played almost no role in the opening day victory against Carolina.
With Jadeveon Clowney and Chase Winovich out for Thursday, expect Isaac Rochell to be elevated from the PS. In addition, rookie pass-rushers Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas will have a big opportunity to prove themselves. #Browns
— Noah Weiskopf (@BrownsWithNoah) September 19, 2022
Joe Woods might have to get creative with his linebackers to keep his trio of edge rushers fresh.
Adding a defensive end before a Thursday night game seems unlikely.
There are dozens of free agent edge rushers available if Garrett and Clowney’s injuries result in extended absences.
But the team is more likely to play short-handed, years-wise and experience-wise, against Pittsburgh.
Browns Offense Hurting, Too
Cleveland’s offense is in slightly better shape to cover Bitonio than the defense is to cover 3 edge rushers.
Hjalte Froholdt and Michael Dunn are on the active roster as backups at guard and center.
It is uncertain if either Jack Conklin or Chris Hubbard is available for Thursday night.
James Hudson is doing a credible job filling in at right tackle, with former Steeler Joe Haeg backing up the starters.
#Browns Pre-practice injury report:
Expected DNPs today: LG Joel Bitonio (biceps), DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle-OUT), DE Myles Garrett (neck), TE Jesse James (biceps-OUT) & DE Chase Winovich (hamstring-OUT)
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) September 20, 2022
Cleveland released Alex Taylor from the practice squad, replacing him with the even less-experienced tackle, Tyrone Wheatley, Jr.
And that means the Browns could roll with just 2 backup offensive linemen if Bitonio, Conklin, and Hubbard are out.
Jesse James suffered a more-serious biceps injury to earn a trip to the injured reserve.
That made Harrison Bryant’s (thigh, thumb) limited practice more of an issue, but Bryant is expected to play this week.