The Cleveland Browns will not have cornerback Greg Newsome II this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings, with the rookie needing time to recover from a calf injury he suffered against the Bears last week.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski announced Newsome’s status on Wednesday, noting that the young cornerback would not be going on injured reserve. If he was to go on IR, it would mean he’d miss a minimum of three games.
With Newsome out, Greedy Williams will get the call to step back into a starting role, something the Browns are comfortable with.
“[Greedy] would definitely be ready, if needed,” Stefanski said following Sunday’s game against the Bears. “Greedy was outstanding on special teams on Sunday.”
The Browns selected Williams in the second round of the 2019 draft and he quickly became a valuable piece for the team, starting all 12 games he appeared in as a rookie. However, Williams — who is only 23 — missed all of last season with severe damage to the axillary nerve in his shoulder, an injury he suffered in training camp.
Greg Newsome Quickly Earned Respect With Browns
The Browns selected Newsome with their first-round pick this year and the former Northwestern standout has looked good so far this year, drawing positive reviews from his teammates.
“Greg has been balling. He has been putting it together every week,” Hill told reporters on Monday. “He has been doing his thing. As a rookie, he does not really seem like a rookie. He takes everything, learns fast and puts his technique down. He is a fierce competitor. He has been doing his thing out there. I am excited about his journey.”
Newsome has been targeted seven times in the passing game, allowing four receptions. He grades out on Pro Football Focus with a grade of 70.1 through three games, which is above average, especially for a rookie. He’s certainly not being targeted by the opposition, meaning he’s already gained some major respect from opponents, especially considering Denzel Ward is on the other side.
“They threw some passes at him. He had the one penalty and then he came back and made a play on a deep ball, which was nice to see. He is a confident guy. He plays clean technique. I think each game, he is getting better and he is believing in his ability. I am sure somebody is going to come out and try to throw six or seven balls at him, but I think mentally, physically and athletically, he can handle it.”
Rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Up For Rookie Honor
Newsome is not the only Browns rookie on defense who is balling. Rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has also turned into a major asset for Cleveland, taking on a larger role with veteran linebacker Anthony Walker on injured reserve. He had four tackles, one quarterback hit, one tackle for a loss and two passes defensed against the Bears.
“He played fast,” Stefanski said. “I really thought his ball disruption was really good. We did not take the ball away yesterday, but we had a bunch of passes defended – ‘JOK’ in particular on some balls to the running backs that they were trying to pull, and he got his arm on the ball. I thought he did a nice job there.”
JOK is up for NFL Rookie of the Week, competing against RB Najee Harris, Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase, Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle, Giants DE Azeez Ojulari and Chargers CB Asante Samuel Jr. for the honor.