Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has already ruled out three players for Thursday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers: DE Jadeveon Clowney, DE Chase Winovich, and TE Jesse James.
Clowney is the most notable loss, a starting edge rusher opposite of Myles Garrett. He suffered an ankle injury midway through Sunday’s late loss to the New York Jets. Prior to the injury, he was having a productive day, picking up a strip-sack fumble he recovered against QB Joe Flacco.
Through two games, Clowney has registered five tackles and 1.5 sacks. Winovich’s loss hurts depth as a potential Clowney replacement. He logged 26 snaps yesterday, recording two QB hits and one solo tackle while also logging time on special teams. With edge depth thin, the Browns will have to rely on rookies Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas to play complementary football opposite Myles Garrett. Garrett’s up to four tackles for loss and three sacks on the season, though he went quiet in the second half of yesterday’s game, one that saw the Jets make a furious comeback in the final two minutes to win the game.
Though a more minor loss, there will be no Jesse James revenge game this week. Signed by the Browns shortly before the season began, James had played just 18 offensive snaps over the team’s first two games and had yet to be targeted. David Njoku and Harrison Bryant will continue to work as the team’s top two tight ends. The Browns could call up either TE Miller Forristall or Zaire Mitchell-Paden from the practice squad as a game-day elevation.
The Steeler appear to be in good health exiting this weekend’s game. Only LB Devin Bush (foot) was mentioned by Mike Tomlin after the game, and Tomlin confirmed he expects Bush to practice tomorrow.
Pittsburgh and Cleveland will square off Thursday night. With each time 1-1 on the year, the winner here will have an early advantage on the season. After this game, the Steelers won’t see the Browns again until Week 18.