After sitting out the 2020 season with Covid concerns, he became part of the Browns’ 2021 defensive overhaul.
Billings’ guaranteed contract helped him take the fourth spot in the interior rotation over Sheldon Day.
The #Browns have waived DT Andrew Billings.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) November 13, 2021
But Billings’ snap counts became negligible, and Kevin Stefanski made him a healthy scratch in Week 9.
And a few days after veteran Sheldon Day was signed to the active roster, the Browns waived Billings.
Malik McDowell missed practices this week, and rookie Tommy Togiai will be the fourth tackle if McDowell can’t go.
Malik Jackson and Elliott remain the starters, with Day and McDowell rounding out the unit.
Browns Call Up 3 To Help Offense
Cleveland ruled out running backs Nick Chubb, Demetric Felton, and John Kelly due to Covid protocols.
Hill signed a practice squad contract earlier this week, after trying out for a spot back in September.
D'Ernest Johnson has a 27% forced missed tackle rate
4th best among all RBs 🔥 pic.twitter.com/oqKONF94fc
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 10, 2021
Kevin Stefanski probably has some plays in mind specifically for Hill, as well for Stanton and Andy Janovich.
But Plan A is certainly for Johnson to repeat his Week 7 performance in relief.
Johnson ran for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Bronco’s then 4th-ranked rushing defense.
Along with the backfield help, Cleveland called up JoJo Natson to handle Felton’s return duties.
Defense Gets Stronger, Too
Cleveland elevated cornerback Herb Miller back to the active roster for Week 10.
But fans are more excited about the return of linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah for the Patriots game.
JOK and safety MJ Stewart were activated from the injured reserve Saturday.
Owusu-Koramoah beat the odds by returning from a high ankle sprain after missing just 3 games.
The #Browns activated LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah off the IR after missing the last three games with an ankle injury 👀👀👀
Owusu-Koramoah: 81.1 grade in 2021 (T-🥉 among all LBs) pic.twitter.com/HM23tTx7mQ
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) November 13, 2021
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods doesn’t expect JOK to miss a beat in New England.
Thanks to meticulous note-taking and scrutiny of every game plan, the rookie is as prepared as ever.
Stewart has been dealing with hamstring issues since training camp and provides some depth at safety.
Herb Miller’s call-up could indicate Greedy Williams‘ shoulder injury is still a concern.
What It Means To The Browns
Depth is the name of the game in a league where injuries happen every week.
And the Browns are as aware as any team how Covid can wreak havoc with a game-day roster.
D’Ernest Johnson no doubt looks forward to his second opportunity to play a lead role.
New England is adept at shutting down a team’s strength and manipulating a game plan.
#Browns Myles Garrett on if we can expect some carries from him this week: "Wherever you need me I'll be there."
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) November 12, 2021
But with a top-ranked run-blocking offensive line, Stefanski will do well to stay with what his offense does best.
Baker Mayfield will face a lot of man coverage, and he can loosen the defense up with another 60-yarder or two.
JOK’s return bolsters a defense coming off their best performance of the season and Natson is always a return risk.
All-in-all, Cleveland had the moves to handle everything this week wrought, and are ready for a big road win.