However, Rashard Higgins, the Browns longest tenured pass-catcher, will be inactive for the contest with an ankle injury. He had insisted that he would be ready to go for the game against the Jets, but was limited in practice for most of the week.
Other Browns inactives include running back Dontrell Hillard, safety Damarious Randall, defensive end Genard Avery, linebacker Adarius Taylor and offensive linemen Austin Corbett and Kendall Lamm.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens casted some doubt on he wide receiver’s status during his press conference on Friday.
He was asked if Higgins saying he will play is his pride or an accurate representation of his game status.
“I am not really sure yet. I have to see it,” Kitchens said, referencing the injury report. “I have to feel comfortable with it.”
Browns Send Veteran QB Drew Stanton to IR
The Browns are dealing with some injuries of their own, most notably to starting safety Damarious Randall and running back Dontrell Hilliard.
With the Browns already being thin at the running back position, the team announced they were elevating Elijah McGuire to the active roster.
McGuire compiled 591 yards and four touchdowns on 180 carries and added 36 receptions for 370 yards and two more scores while in New York.
To make room for McGuire, the Browns placed QB Drew Stanton on injured reserve with a knee injury. The veteran quarterback suited up but didn’t play in the Browns opener.
Stanton injured his knee in practice. Stanton, 35, has made 17 career starts since being selected by the Detroit Lions in 2007. Mayfield will now be backed up by journeyman Garrett Gilbert. The two went to the same high school as Mayfield — Lake Travis in Texas — and have a long history.
Rashard Higgins a Candidate for Breakout Season
Higgins was selected by the Browns in the fifth round of the 2016 draft and has been progressively better each year with the team. He went from catching just six balls for just 77 yards his rookie season to 66 in his next two combined.
Last year, he caught a career high 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns, showing off solid chemistry with quarterback Baker Mayfield, which has carried over to this season.
“I think it goes back to last year getting reps with (Higgins) in camp in the second team, just building chemistry with him and being able to talk to him all the time and just knowing exactly what you’re going to get out of him on every play,” Mayfield said after the team’s preseason opener.
Now with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. to the wide receiver corps that already had a Pro Bowler in Jarvis Landry, Higgins should find himself in the position to capitalize on holes in coverage.
Higgins had two catches for 46 yards in the Browns opener before exiting with the injury. If Higgins does miss the game, it would mean Taywan Taylor and
Damion Ratley would get more run.
Higgins signed a restricted free agent tender with the Browns this offseason worth 2.025 million. He will become an unrestricted free agent next year if the Browns don’t ink him to an extension.
Rashard Higgins Says Baker Mayfield, Browns Ready For Jets Pressure
Despite being limited in practice, Higgins was not scared to talk a big game going into a matchup against the Jets defensive coordinator and former Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams, who is known for his aggressive blitzes.
“He’s ranked the second-most team to blitz if I’m not mistaken, so he’s going to blitz us, run a lot of man, so we’ve just got to be prepared for it when it comes,” Higgins said.
The Browns are built to run against man coverage with Beckham and Landry as the top two wide receivers. And Higgins has shown tremendous chemistry with quarterback Baker Mayfield early on as well.
The key for the Browns will be making sure Mayfield has enough time to at least get a ball off, which wasn’t always the case in last week’s 43-13 beat down against the Titans.