Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Cleveland Browns fear second-year wide receiver Corey Coleman has a broken hand.
Not to make light of the (potential) news, but this is the same thing that happened to the former first-round pick last season—and as a matter of fact, it also happened in the second game of the season. Except his second game that year was far more impressive, catching five passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
That was by far his best game to date. Yesterday, he was limited to one reception for nine yards before suffering the hand injury. Against the Steelers last week, he did catch five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown that made it a three-point game after a subsequent two-point conversion.
The injury occurred late in the game, a couple of minutes into the fourth quarter. He ran a deep route working against the Ravens’ first-round pick, cornerback Marlon Humphrey. The ball was a bit underthrown, with the defensive back there to defend it, and their hands got tied together. The receiver then proceeded to land with his hands slamming into the ground first.
When Coleman injured his hand last season, he ended up missing six games. It would not at all be surprising if he misses a similar duration of time if the injury is similar. And with the expansion of the injured reserve rules, they may even consider putting him on the list this time with the idea of bringing him back in eight weeks.
The Browns were quite frankly already not exceedingly deep at the wide receiver position behind Coleman and Kenny Britt, whom they brought in during free agency to replace Terrelle Pryor, but there were already rumblings that the former first-round talent might be benched. He dropped a big pass in the game against the Steelers.
The player to immediately step up was fellow second-year receiver Rashard Higgins, but they also have Ricardo Louis from that draft as well, and the chances of former Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates seeing a meaningful role.
Speaking of Coates, he did see time on offense yesterday after not playing against the Steelers. He was targeted four times, three on deep passes, and did not come up with a reception, but he did get flagged for a false start.
The Browns made a major investment—numerically anyway—at the wide receiver position during the 2016 NFL Draft, and they are going to have to start proving their worth now. Higgins did catch seven passes for 95 yards. Britt had one catch for two yards.
Another player who has been stepping up this year has been Seth DeValve, the Ivy League wide receiver who converted to tight end. Afte ra solid game against the Steelers, he caught two passes for 61 yards, including a 49-yarder, against the Ravens. Baltimore did give up 300 yards through the air.