The Cleveland Browns will be down a man in the wide receiver corps after practice squad pass-catcher Derrick Willies tore his ACL during practice.
The 24-year-old had three catches for 61 yards in five games for the Browns last season, but did not make the opening day roster, clearing waivers and signing with the practice squad. He had not seen a snap this season.
For a good part of training camp it appeared Willies would be able to make the active roster, especially with Antonio Callaway being suspended for the first four games of of the season. However, the team opted instead for Damion Ratley.
During his college career, Willies notched 36 receptions for 592 yards and five touchdowns at Texas Tech.
Kitchens said Willies tore his ACL during the special team period of practice on Thursday.
“Last year, he demonstrated the ability to catch the ball and run after the catch with the ball. He is a big target, of course – a big rangy target,” Kitchens said of Willies during training camp. “Then he helped us out last year on special teams tremendously. He was really doing a good job on special teams and then he was coming on as a receiver. We expect him to keep coming and doing the same sort of things.”
Browns Sign QB Eric Dungey to Practice Squad
After sending Willies to the practice squad/injured list, the team signed QB prospect Eric Dungey to its practice squad.
Dungey (6-foor-3, 227, pounds) is a rookie quarterback out of Syracuse. He originally signed with the New York Giants after going undrafted.
Dungey set or tied 25 school records with at Syracuse. He played in 39 games with 38 starts from 2015-18, posting 786 completions for 9,340 yards and 58 touchdowns. But he can also do damage with his legs, adding 1,993 yards and 35 touchdowns on 543 carries.
The former Orange QB will be behind Baker Mayfield and Garrett Gilbert on the depth chart. Veteran QB Drew Stanton was put on injured reserve earlier this season with a knee injury.
Freddie Kitchens Addresses Comments From Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham
The Browns offense has been slumping, most notably Odell Beckham Jr., who has four catches over the last two weeks combined.
When asked what the Browns could do to fix the problem, fellow pass-catcher Jarvis Landry said the team needed to be more
“We have to just deliberately get him the ball. Get all of our playmakers the ball. Guys that are going to make plays for us, just get them the ball,” Landry said. “I’m not calling plays or designing anything. But at the end of the day, obviously he’s a key part of our offense whether the ball’s in his hands or not. We’ve got to find ways for other guys to continue to make plays. But the way that it’s been going, we haven’t really been making enough plays without him touching the ball.”
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens had a funny response when asked about Landry’s comments.
“I think we need to intentionally get him the ball, too,” Kitchens said. “I think we need to intentionally win a game.”
The Browns will have another chance to do that on Sunday when they face a 4-1 Seahawks team at FirstEnergy Stadium.