Cleveland, Ohio – The Browns have a chance to overcome all their ordeals of the past two weeks and weather a 17-season drought against the Steelers today at First Energy Stadium.
It has been another difficult week for the Covid-19 virus, as Denzel Ward, Malcolm Smith and Harrison Bryant all tested positive, and Ward’s surrogate, Kevin Johnson, was put on the virus reserve list late Saturday night, either as a close or positive contact.
Brown’s squad also has three coaches on the back-up for COVID-19 which are forward coach Bill Callahan, reception coach Chad Ochia and assistant forward coach Scott Peters.
Some pre-game notes:
1. Active White Tiller versus Steelers
In a perfect world, Tiller would have sat in this game with his high ankle sprained, but it’s time to go and he’ll play. Teller missed three matches due to a sprained ankle he suffered in front of Ravens on December 14, and it may not be 100% today.
But even 80% of a cashier is better than most guards. Besides, the Steelers will be resting today with Pro Bowlers TJ Watt and Cam Heyward, so Teller won’t have to deal with them.
Left intervention Jedrick Wills Jr. He, who missed the plane match due to a flu-like illness that was not COVID-19, returned to himself this week.
2. Miles Jarrett can set a team record and cement his cause for this NFL defensive player of the year.
With Mason Rudolph starting the game and Pro Bowl Maurkice Pouncey Center break, Garrett could have a fierce day. He had his best match against the Jets last week since his return from COVID-19, and he would have had a bag of tape had the official not shot his whistle early.
He is No.6 in the NFL with 12 bags, but only three shy away from NFL leader Watt, who sits outside of this game. With a bag or two, Garrett could make a solid case for himself for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year that he missed last season.
He also needs only 2.5 bags to reach another goal of breaking Brown’s sack record of 14 that was set by Reggie Camp in 1984.
Assigned captain for this game, Garrett expects to turn the lights off today and possibly hit some singles goals on his way to help Brown’s side with the qualifiers.
3. Denzel Ward may have to miss the playoff match
Brown hopes to win Ward back to the knockout match next weekend if they do, but he will approach it regardless of whether the match is Saturday or Sunday or not. Ward must be isolated for a period of at least 10 days from the first time he reported symptoms or when he was tested, and then he must pass a heart scan and obtain clearance to take action.
He was put on the list late Thursday afternoon, so it is not yet known if his positive test was taken Wednesday or Thursday. This can make a difference depending on whether or not he has symptoms.
To make matters worse, he put his replacement, Kevin Johnson, on the COVID-19 reserve list Saturday night. With the news coming so late, Johnson may be in close contact, which means he will have a good chance of returning to the playoff game next weekend.
But Brown will be challenged on Sunday high school with Ward, Johnson and Andrew Sindigo (positive for COVID-19).
4. OL coach Bill Callaghan is also unconfirmed
Brown would also likely be without Callahan in the qualifiers if they succeeded. Callahan, who was in good condition Friday night, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and must be isolated for 10 days. That would keep him at home during the playoff on Saturday or Sunday. His assistant coach, Scott Peters, has been in close contact and is likely to be available for a playoff.
Browns are hoping for passer reception coach / game coordinator Chad O’Shea to return to the qualifiers. His test result was positive on Wednesday and his minimum validity of 10 days will expire on Friday.
On Sunday, Callahan won’t be on hand to help Brown adjust to what the Steelers throw in front of them.
5. The NFL gave good reactions to Brown
Browns has been praised by the NFL for handling the COVID-19 crisis over the past two weeks. The association told the Browns that most of the positive tests were beyond their control and that they were skipping the call of duty by adhering to the protocols.
The only pitfalls came in the days leading up to the Jets match, when no two players were properly wearing their masks in the recovery pool area, as they had been in contact with full-back BJ Goodson. The rest of the positives came from outside the facility, and communications were mostly contained.
6. Nick Chubb can exceed 1000+
Running coach Stump Mitchell was confident that both Nick Chubb and Karim Hunt would cut more than 1,000 yards this season, but Chubb should at least pull off the feat on Sunday. He has 959 yards and needs 41 for his second career 1000 yards season and second in a row.
The Hunt has 804 yards and will be hard pressed to hit 1000 today.
Chubb had three goals in a row, but was dropped for a season-ending loss his rookie year dropping below 1000. Last season, he finished second in the NFL to Derek Henry of Tennessee with 1494. This season, if he achieves that. Achievement, he will have done so despite missing four matches.
7. Robert Jackson is listed as the beginning of CB
With Ward and Johnson out, Robert Jackson, who first signed to Brown’s coaching team in 2018, was included as a starter at Ward Place, marking the first start of his career. He was originally signed by Colts as an unapproved rookie from UNLV in 2018. He’s appeared in nine matches for the Browns this season, all in private squads.
New Browns face masks for sale: Here you can buy Cleveland Browns-inspired face covers for corona virus protection for adults and teens, including 1 mask ($ 14.99) and 3-pack ($ 24.99). All proceeds from NFL were donated to the CDC Foundation.
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