Just one week removed from losing Sione Takitaki, the Cleveland Browns have lost another starting linebacker after placing Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah on injured reserve on Tuesday, December 13.
The 23-year-old will now miss all four remaining regular season games. Owusu-Koramoah joins fellow linebackers Anthony Walker Jr. (quadriceps), Jacob Phillips (pectoral) and Takitaki (knee), whose seasons also ended prematurely due to injury.
After being carted off the field late in the team’s Week 14 game, Owusu-Koramoah was seen limping in the locker room prior to addressing the media. After conducting an MRI on Monday, the team announced Tuesday that a sprained foot will keep him out for the remainder of the regular season.
“(Owusu-Koramoah) played at a high level for us,” head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters during his December 13 press conference. “Very productive making plays sideline to sideline and those type of things. Always has room to grow. I think can continue to get better. I think there are areas that he can continue to improve. Disappointed in this case with this injury, but like a lot of guys, I know he’ll bounce back.”
‘All Hands on Deck’ Behind Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
As a rookie in 2021, Owusu-Koramoah was an instant contributor on defense registering 76 total tackles. For his spectacular first season, he was named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s 2021 All-Rookie team.
Despite missing time earlier this season due to injury Owusu-Koramoah has been a bright spot on defense in 2022, registering 6 tackles before getting injured against the Bengals. The team will now rely on a combination of Deion Jones, Jordan Kunaszyk and Tony Fields II to fill the void.
“It’s all hands on deck,” Stefanski said on Tuesday. “We’ve got to work a bunch of guys in there. … We’re going to make sure that everybody is ready to go.”
Jones filled in nicely as the new starting middle linebacker, playing a season-high 54 snaps in Week 14. He accounted for 7 total tackles, a fourth-quarter interception and also defended 2 passes.
Kunaszyk is a fourth-year pro who has seen limited action as a backup and will now be thrust into a contributing role.
A Week of Highs & Lows for the Browns
Another potential player who the Browns may now depend on is second-year linebacker Tony Fields II. Fields was a standout in the Browns’ Week 13 win in Houston, returning an interception for a touchdown and also recovering a fumble. Fields performance in Cincinnati, however, was not as impressive. His roughing the punter penalty in the second quarter gave new life to a stymied Bengals offense. Coming on fourth down, the penalty resulted in what many consider the game-defining possession.
The frustrating drive was propelled further downfield by two additional penalties against the Browns, an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty on defensive end Isaiah Thomas, and a pass-interference call against cornerback Denzel Ward. The Bengals pounced on the opportunity, putting together a 14-play scoring drive. Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow capped off the drive by connecting with Ja’Marr Chase for a 15-yard touchdown. Giving the Bengals the first score of the game, and a 7-0 lead.