The Cleveland Browns lost linebacker Jacob Phillips for the year to a torn biceps muscle that he will need surgery on.
Phillips made his first comments since the injury on social media, writing: “When you are in the will of God it still can storm. A storm is always designed to increase your faith and give you a deeper experience with God. #speedbumpinthejourney #GodsWarrior.”
Phillps is a former third-round pick and was expected to be a key reserve on the defensive side of the ball, seeing reps both at middle and weakside linebacker. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the severity of the injury.
“I saw it happen on the tape,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “He just reached out and was trying to defend a guy running a route. Very unfortunate. I feel for Jacob, but he will bounce back. He will attack that rehab.”
The Browns linebackers have been banged up during training camp, with Mack Wilson, Sione Takitaki and rookie Tony Fields II all dealing with various injuries. Wilson is rebounding from a shoulder injury, Takitaki a hamstring and Fields has yet to see the field with a foot injury.
To help fill the void, the Browns brought in Montrel Meander and Willie Harvey Jr., both players who have previously spent time with the Browns. Meander was part of the first round of cuts last week.
Mack Wilson to Phillips: ‘Got Your Back’
Wilson will be among the players the Browns rely upon more with the injury to Phillips. Wilson already has 22 starts to his name since coming out of Alabama as a fifth-round pick in 2019. He took over a starting role for the majority of the year as a rookie, notching 77 tackles, one interception, a forced fumble, four tackles for loss and seven passes defensed.
But his second season started out rocky, with a hyperextended knee during training camp. When he did get on the field, it wasn’t pretty. Wilson played in 13 games with eight starts, recording just 39 tackles. He managed a grade of just 36.2 from Pro Football Focus, making him one of the worst-graded linebackers who qualified in the league.
Wilson has had a great training camp and has asended to the top of the depth chart at weakside linebacker. He gave a shoutout to Phillips on social media following his post.
“Got your back,” Wilson wrote.
Starters Not Expect to Play for Browns Against Giants
The Browns are expected to sit the majority of their starters for the second preseason game against the Giants on Sunday. Cleveland only played a handful of starters in their first game against Jacksonville.
One player that will be on the field is rookie LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who was buzzing around the field in his debut against the Jaguars. With some starters out, he’s been getting some first team reps.
“He is definitely playing fast on the field. He is making plays,” Stefanski said of JOK. “We had a couple of injuries early in the practice so we had to play everybody over the course of the practice. It is just the natural progression of things for him.”