Browns Reveal Why Rashard Higgins Was Healthy Scratch

Getty Images Rashard Higgins of the Cleveland Browns.

Rashard Higgins was a healthy scratch for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, which was a surprising move considering the team’s depth at the wide receiver position.

Without Higgins, the Browns relied on Donovan Peoples-Jones, Ja’Marcus Bradley, JoJo Natson and Jarvis Landry to carry the load. Quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for 247 yards and a score, with the majority of the work going to Landry. However, it became obvious that the Browns were missing that explosion in the passing game to exploit the Ravens’ game plan, which featured eight-plus players in the box for most of the night.

Higgins has been one of Mayfield’s favorite targets since he took over under center but was not there on Sunday when the fourth-year QB would have welcomed a familiar face. Kevin Stefanski spoke on Higgins’ absence while addressing the media on Monday and said it came down to special teams.

“The inactives, it is a puzzle that you work on each week based on who you think you need, and special teams factors majorly into that,” Stefanski said.

Bradley has a small role on special teams, playing six snaps on punt and kick return. He played 10 snaps the week prior on the punt team.

Higgins Hasn’t Been Involved in Game Plan This Season

Kevin Stefanski: "Hard fought game"Kevin Stefanski addresses the media on November 29th, 2021. #MondayMedia #PressConference2021-11-29T20:46:14Z

Higgins has just 15 catches for 185 yards and one touchdown this season. He played on 72 percent of the snaps last week in a 13-10 victory over Detroit but was taking on a starting role with Peoples-Jones out of the lineup.

Stefanski previously said it was the plan during the week for Higgins to be inactive.

“Just felt like that was the plan going into this week,” Stefanski told reporters after losing to the Ravens. “That changes weekly. There’ are so many things to consider with what our game plan looks like, special teams, etc.”

That seemed to contradict what offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said recently when asked if Higgins role would expand on the offense following the release of Odell Beckham Jr.

“His opportunities will come,” Van Pelt told reporters earlier this month. “He has to be productive when he gets in there – that’s the biggest thing. They’ll come. We do have great confidence in Rashard. Now obviously with the receiver room being lessened through Odell, he’ll get his chances to come. I know Baker has great confidence in him. He’s shown that he can be productive.’’

Stefanski Not Giving Up Play-Calling for Browns

Stefanski assumes the role of play-caller for the Browns on offense and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

“I’m comfortable with the communication that goes on throughout the week, on game day, the offensive staff is outstanding, especially Bill and Alex throughout the game,” Stefanski said on Monday. “So I’m comfortable with how we’re doing it right now. We just have to be better. I have to be better. That’s the truth. But we just have to find ways to stay on the field, get sevens when we get down to the red zone.”

Another change that won’t be happening is at the quarterback position, which Stefanski reiterated.

“Baker is our starting quarterback. He is healthy and getting healthier. We just need to be better as an offense,” Stefanski said. “I think Baker needs to play better, I have to coach better, we have to block better and we have to run routes better. All of the above is true. We just have to be better both individually and collectively.”

The Browns are looking to regroup during the bye week before facing the Ravens on December 12.


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Dontez Gibbs
Dontez Gibbs
1 month ago

How in the heck can you keep calling plays when we are only scoring 10 points a game ! You need to give it up ! You aren’t too good .

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