The Cleveland Browns defense needs all the help it can get heading into a matchup against the Buffalo Bills but they might be without one of their key players in Greg Newsome, who is questionable after a collision in practice.
The starting second-year cornerback collided with a teammate during practice and is being evaluated for a concussion.
“You are going full speed. Hoping that he is OK, but we will see,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Friday.
The Browns have officially dubbed Newsome questionable for Sunday’s game, although with the league’s new concussion protocols in place, it would seem unlikely that he’ll be able to suit up against the Bills if he did indeed suffer a concussion.
While the secondary has been banged up at times, Newsome has started every game this season, playing nearly 100% of the defensive snaps. He has 24 tackles but has yet to register an interception.
Browns Confident in Secondary Heading Into Matchup
If Newsome is unable to go, rookie cornerback Martin Emerson would likely pick up the start. Newsome has played well this season when his number has been called, playing in place of Denzel Ward when he missed three games with a concussion of his own.
“Just in total, the DBs are competing like crazy,” Stefanski said. “I think it is a really good group. They are very competitive at practice and work extremely hard. I think that whole group understands the challenge that this week in particular presents.”
The challenge is containing Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who was off the Bills’ injury report this week. He battled through an elbow injury last week after being listed as questionable, completing 29-of-43 passes for 330 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed six times for 84 yards but the Bills were upended in overtime by the Vikings in what many have dubbed the game of the year.
And instead of playing in adverse, snowy conditions, Allen and the Bills offense with have the luxury of playing in a dome at Ford Field after the game was moved.
“You have to defend their attack. Obviously, I don’t care what the conditions are, it is a difficult attack to defend,” Stefanski said. “Really, the focus for us goes back to making sure we are sound in everything we are doing. From a rush plan to a coverage plan, we just have to be sound.”
Browns TE David Njoku Says He’ll Play
On a positive note, the Browns should be getting one of their top weapons on offense back in tight end David Njoku. He had missed the last two games because of an ankle injury but confirmed on Friday he’s ready to go.
“We definitely worked very hard as a team, meaning the trainers and my own people, we worked really hard to get it well right now and I have to give credit to them because it’s been an uphill battle,” Njoku said. “I’m excited to finally be back, and it’s going to be a fun game.”
Njoku notched 34 receptions for 418 yards and a touchdown prior to the injury.