A scary and unfortunate scene played out at the end of the Cleveland Browns‘ final practice session this week, and it’s going to cost them a starter on defense.
Rookie cornerback Greg Newsome II hit his head after a fall on the final play of practice Friday, suffering a concussion that will keep him out of Sunday’s rematch with the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium.
It is the latest in a series of unexpected losses the Browns have reported this week, as bad luck continues piling up ahead of one of the most important games of the season.
Newsome Joins Growing Browns Inactive List
Also absent against the Ravens will be tight end David Njoku who, much to his chagrin, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week. He shared his feelings publicly on Twitter Tuesday.
“Smh I don’t feel a thing,” Njoku wrote.
Despite playing at tight end, Njoku is leading Cleveland in receiving this year, with 407 yards and 3 touchdowns. To make matters worse, banged up Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will be without his second favorite target at the position in Harrison Bryant, who the team has also ruled out for Sunday with an ankle injury.
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Joining Njoku on the virus reserve list are punter Jamie Gillian and linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. Jarvis Landry, the team’s second-leading wide receiver, was a limited participant in practice Thursday and Friday after sitting out Wednesday with a nagging knee issue. It appears, however, that Landry will be able to give it a go against the Ravens as he is not classified as out, doubtful or questionable, despite remaining listed on the team’s official injury report.
Per the same report, wide receiver Anthony Schultz (concussion) will miss the game Sunday, while safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. (ankle), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (knee) and defensive tackle Jordan Elliot (knee) are all listed as questionable.
Sunday is a Gotta-Have-It Game for Browns’ Playoff Chances
Cleveland is 6-6 with five brutal games ahead of them and a long haul to find their way into the postseason.
Browns Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garrett said the team did not strike the right notes in practice this week, criticizing his teammates’ sharpness coming off the much-needed bye.
“Not as much as I wanted to, but we still got another two days,” Garrett told media members Friday. “Guys will sharpen up, and we’ve got leaders that are on this team who will make them get prepared and get ready for Sunday, because it’s not end all be all today.”
“But when the time comes, we need everybody on their Ps and Qs and ready because it’s win or go home right now,” he continued.
Following a critical matchup with the Ravens Sunday, Cleveland will play host to the Las Vegas Raiders on a short week. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, December 18. The Browns will spend the next two weekends on the road, at the Green Bay Packers and at the Pittsburgh Steelers, before rounding out the season at home against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Every opponent left on Cleveland’s schedule is .500, or better, on the year and in playoff races of their own. Unexpectedly down at least one starter on both sides of the ball this week after the losses of Newsome and Njoku, the Browns players who do take the field will have to be as sharp as possible to keep alive any realistic postseason chances.