Where in the world has Genard Avery been?
That’s been on the mind of Cleveland Browns fans early this season as the team’s one-time starter has been inactive for all but one game this season.
Avery played just two snaps in the Browns loss to the Rams and that has been the extent of his action this season. He’s been a healthy scratch in the other three games, a somewhat bizarre situation considering his production a season ago.
Avery played all 16 games in 2018, starting five. He made 40 total tackles, notching five tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, good for fourth on the team. He also forced fumble and was credited with 14 quarterback hits and four passes defended.
With the Browns transitioning to Steve Wilks defense that utilizes two linebackers almost exclusively rather than Gregg Williams’ 4-3 look, Avery made the move to defensive end. With Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon holding down the starting spots, Avery has been supplanted by Chad Thomas and Chris Smith for the backup roles.
Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens addressed Avery’s absence from the active roster for the first time on Friday.
“I think we have good depth there,” Kitchens said. “You can’t take but so many guys. You have to worry about other positions, also.”
Thomas played 22 snaps against the 49ers last week in a 31-3 loss, while Smith contributed 17. Smith didn’t account for any stats, but Thomas registered 2 tackles, 1 assist (3 combined). 1 sack and 1 QB hit.
Genard Avery Tweet Sparks Questions
Avery fired off a tweet earlier this season that sparked some questions about his future with the Browns. On Oct. 1, the second-year defensive end shot out a message with just an hourglass emoji, leaving more questions than answers.
Wilks addressed the absence of Avery in his defense and what his process is for evaluating who will be active.
“I do not know if it is anything that he has to do per se like you push a button and he is out there. It is a week-to-week performance with all the guys and who we feel needs to be up in the 46,” Wilks told Cleveland.com’s Scott Patsko. “It is just the process of what we need that day based off what the offense is presenting.”
Avery was a fifth-round pick of the Browns in 2018. He played his college ball at Memphis, where he ranks third in school history in sacks (21.5) and second in tackles for loss (45.5).
Greedy Williams, Denzel Ward Return to Practice
Young gun corners Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward appear poised to return to the lineup after missing three games. Both suffered hamstring injuries prior to the Browns’ matchup against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Neither had been able to get on the practice field — until Wednesday.
Kitchens addressed the possible return of the duo on Friday.
“Denzel and Greedy are good players, but we have been playing with some pretty good guys, too. I have total confidence in the guys. Whoever it is that goes out there on the field, we have confidence that they will do their job.”
With both Williams and Ward on the shelf, veterans T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell have assumed the starting roles. The duo have done a great job, helping the Browns be a top 10 unit in defending the pass.