The Cleveland Browns head into an important matchup against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14.
Getting a win over the Ravens would be huge after Baltimore blew out Cleveland in the season opener.
But, the Browns will be without some of their key players for this Monday night contest.
That means, that Cleveland is going to need some other players to step up in this one.
Which Browns Are Sidelined?
The biggest injury news is that defensive back Denzel Ward will not be available for this contest.
The star cornerback will now miss his third straight game with a calf injury
#Browns TE Austin Hooper (neck) is questionable for MNF. CB Denzel Ward has been listed as out
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) December 12, 2020
He’ll be joined by wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge on the sideline for Monday’s game.
Hodge is still bothered by a hamstring issue, so he won’t suit up for this one.
Both players were unable to practice this week, but hopefully will be back in action next week.
The Browns might also be without tight end Austin Hooper due to a neck injury.
He was unable to practice on Friday or Saturday, so there’s a good chance that he sits this game out.
“It’s not ideal but we’ve been here before,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “If we don’t have Hoop, we’ve got guys that are ready to go, and if we do, we’re full speed ahead.”
Cleveland could also be without right guard Wyatt Teller who was placed on the COVID-19 list earlier this week.
However, it sounds like Teller is trending towards being able to suit up for Monday’s contest.
Who Needs To Step Up?
The biggest concern for the Browns going into Monday’s matchup is the weak secondary.
Cleveland has been without second-year defensive back Greedy Williams all season long.
Now, the Browns are missing Ward for the third straight game.
His absence pushes veteran defensive back Kevin Johnson into a starting role.
However, Johnson mentioned earlier in the year that he feels he is a starter in the NFL.
#Browns CB Kevin Johnson, former 1st rounder, sees himself as a starter in the #NFL but will just do his best and let it all play out pic.twitter.com/SNCL5gtJDV
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 17, 2020
Cleveland will also likely ask M.J. Stewart to step up and play more without Ward available.
That absence of Hodge means Donovan Peoples-Jones could get involved more often.
Possibly, newly acquired Marvin Hall gets some action on the field as well.
The loss of Hooper isn’t hugely significant considering the Browns have David Njoku and Harrison Bryant.
Both have shown the ability to be reliable options for this offense.
These injuries are obviously damaging, but luckily the Browns do have plenty of quality depth.
Hopefully, the loss of Ward won’t be something that is exploited by the Ravens offense on Monday.
Fans will need to check for updates on Hooper and Teller later during the weekend.
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