The Cleveland Browns are not expected to have starting middle linebacker Anthony Walker against the Texans on Sunday and the veteran is expected to miss multiple weeks after he suffered a hamstring injury in practice.
Walker was one of the most consistent defensive players during the Browns Week 1 loss to the Chiefs, playing 62 snaps and notching 10 total tackles. No other linebacker played more than 25 snaps.
Aaron Wilson SportsTalk790 had the report first that Walker’s absence would be an extended one.
“Cleveland Browns linebacker Anthony Walker injured his hamstring and could be sidelined for a few weeks, according to a league source,” Wilson tweeted. “Browns are working out Reuben Foster on Friday, per a league source, and is considered a strong practice squad candidate.”
Walker spoke to the media on Wednesday and was looking forward to facing Houston.
“I believe the offensive coordinator is the same. I have played against Houston,” said Walker, who started his career in Indianapolis. “I have played against pretty much everybody who is over there. A little bit of familiarity. It is just going to be going out there and executing our game plan against what they do.”
With Walker out, Malcolm Smith could be promoted to a starting role, although it will likely be a situation where multiple players step up to fill the void. Rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a candidate for more reps, as is Mack Wilson.
Browns Set to Work Out Reuben Foster
As Wilson mentioned, the Browns are set to work out Foster, who has been working hard trying to get back onto an NFL roster.
Foster is a former Alabama standout and started all 16 games he played in with the San Francisco 49ers. He’s totaled more than 100 tackles during his short stint in the NFL but has been plagued by off-field troubles, which is part of the reason he hasn’t caught on with a team. During the 2018 season, he was suspended two games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy and then was released following an arrest for suspicion of domestic violence.
Foster signed with the Washington Football Team shortly after he was let go by San Francisco, but his time there was short-lived due to a torn ACL.
The Browns have taken chances on players with checkered past before, the latest project being Malik McDowell, who is now a starter on the defensive line.
Browns Not Taking Texans Lightly
The Browns got a mighty test out of the gate in Week 1 with the Chiefs, falling 33-29. Things should get easier against the Texans, although they just dropped 37 points against the Jaguars in Week 1.
“There is definitely no let down. This is the NFL so every week is a different challenge. These guys won their first game so they are flying high,” Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods told reporters on Thursday. “They are believing what they are doing. They are a very physical team. They want to run the ball, establish the run and really win the time of possession so schematically when you look at them, it is not as complex in terms of the number of plays and the different type of plays as maybe a KC, but they do a really good job packaging their run game and their pass game together and making it all work.”
The Browns are 12.5-point favorites at home against Houston.