Offensive tackle Jedrick Wills was carted to the locker room during the first half of the Cleveland Browns opener against the Kansas City Chiefs with an ankle injury on Sunday.
Wills was seen being carted to the locker room with his shoe off and was originally designated as questionable to return. He was later ruled out for the remainder of the game. Wills was injured on Jarvis Landry‘s 5-yard touchdown run. Veteran swing tackle Chris Hubbard jumped in to replace Wills and quickly contributed on a Nick Chubb touchdown run.
Wills was the Browns top pick in the 2020 draft and played well last year protecting Baker Mayfield’s blindside, moving from right to left tackle. He graded out as 61.5 per Pro Football Focus, excelling in pass blocking. Wills delivered a harsh self-criticism of his game during camp.
“Looking at it a year ago, I thought I was trash compared to this year watching film,” Wills said. “It’s a brand new game when you turn on the film this year.”
Wills said he took pride in being on the field and playing through the injuries.
“An offensive lineman, no matter what happens, we can play with three or four dislocated fingers and still have the same job,” Wills said. “So just trying to name ourselves as the toughest people on the field and put everybody on our backs.”
Browns Also Missing Ronnie Harrison, Odell Beckham
Wills was not the only Browns player to leave the game early. Starting Browns safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. was ejected on the Chiefs’ first drive for pushing a Kansas City coach on the sideline. Harrison was standing over a Chiefs player along the sideline and was pushed by the coach.
The Browns were already limited with second-year safety Grant Delpit sitting with an injury.
Browns star pass-catcher Odell Beckham Jr. was also a surprise name on the inactive list, despite some signs making it look like he’d be ready to go for the first week of the season.
Baker Mayfield, Browns Offense Clicking Early
Mayfield and the offense revved things up early, scoring 22 first half points and looking generally unstoppable early on. Mayfield passed for 231 yards and the Browns rushed for 98 yards as a team, which included a pair of touchdown runs from Nick Chubb.
The Browns were aggressive early and often, likely motivated by the 22-17 playoff loss a year ago to the Chiefs.
“Any time you are one of those 31 teams that do not [win the Super Bowl], you take that last loss personally and you carry that with you in the offseason. I think once you get into training camp that you turn the page and you are on to this year, 2021.”
Mayfield was particularly impressive to start his second year in Stefanski’s offense, with rookie wide receiver Anthony Schwartz emerging as one of his favorite targets. The speedy rookie caught three balls for 67 yards in the first half and was an obvious mismatch at time.