The Cleveland Browns have continued to be ravished by injuries throughout practice this week. Sixteen players were listed on the final injury report, with nine players being listed as Out or Questionable. Three players already ruled out for Sunday’s matchup in Dallas include CB Greedy Williams, DE Adrian Clayborn and LB Tae Davis. This is the fourth game in a row that Greedy Williams has missed as he continues to rehab from a shoulder injury sustained during training camp. Although he has not played in a game yet this season, there is still optimism about Williams returning soon after being a limited participant during practice.
Adrian Clayborn will miss his first game of the season after not participating in practice this week due to a hip injury. Todd Davis, who is primarily a special team’s ace, did not practice this week either as he nurses an elbow injury. The six players listed as questionable include LG Joel Bitonio, C Nick Harris, RB Kareem Hunt, LB Jacob Phillips, DE Olivier Vernon and CB Denzel Ward. The cause for concern Harris and Phillips being listed as questionable for a lower on totem pole, with Nick Harris being the backup for a healthy J.C. Tretter and Jacob Phillips continuing to heal from a knee injury.
There is more room for concern regarding the health of Denzel Ward, Joel Bitonio and especially Kareem Hunt. Ward is dealing with a nagging groin injury that kept him out of the second half during last week’s win against the Washington Football Team. Ward’s health is vital to this matchup as he will likely lineup against Dallas’ Amari Cooper. Bitonio is dealing with some back problems but will likely suit up after resting early in the week and being a limited participant later in the week. Hunt may be the biggest question mark heading into the game after missing two practices this week with a groin injury.
Groin injuries typically take some time to heal from and they can flare up at any moment. Ward is an example of how sensitive those sorts of injuries can be and Hunt only practiced on a limited basis Friday. He is an important cog to the offensive success for the Browns and his absence could limit some the production out of the backfield. Obviously RB Nick Chubb is the bell cow for Kevin Stefanski’s offense and he may seem more opportunities on passing downs if Hunt is not completely healthy. Hunt’s health is something worth monitoring up to the point the game day inactive are decided.
The Dallas Cowboys have a relatively healthy team this week with only three players listed as Questionable. Those three players are CB Trevon Diggs, DE Demarcus Lawrence and OT Tyron Smith. HC Mike McCarthy continues to deal with injuries along the offensive line as Tyron Smith deals with a neck injury and had limited participation late into the practice week. The position group has already lost OT La’el Collins to a hip injury and former Browns OL Cameron Erving to a knee injury, as both players are currently on short term injured reserve.
Dallas has been negatively impacted by injuries with numerous starters on injured reserve. TE Blake Jarwin is out for the season with a torn ACL and was replaced by Dalton Schultz. The defense has also suffered from a string of injuries with linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee both on IR until at least week seven. Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Browns will not be active either with their health up in the air for the next couple of weeks.
Both teams have suffered from injuries on the back seven of their defense, but the Cleveland Browns are in better shape with more players returning from injury. Key players are missed on each side but matchups as such really come down to coaching and depth along the roster. Prior to the season this matchup was not very friendly for the Browns but injuries on the Cowboys roster may be a small caveat in the Browns favor.