Nice Story or Nightmare? – Eric Hagg Could Debut as Starter Sunday

Injuries are a way of life in the NFL.  Everyone knows it.  Some years are still considerably worse than others.  For the Browns it feels like some decades are worse than others.  I’m nervous even thinking about the word “staph” let alone typing it to this day.  In the NFL, injuries are a way of life and an opportunity for a player to step up and prove his capability, value, toughness and guts.  Then again, for many other teams, the guy stepping up isn’t likely to be a seventh rounder chosen a mere six slots away from “Mr. Irrelevant.”  That is the position of the Cleveland Browns this upcoming Sunday with rookie Eric Hagg probably set to start opposite Mike Adams in the defensive secondary.

T.J. Ward and Usama Young both missed practice today and Eric Hagg started with the first team.  Hagg is an experienced player from Nebraska and obviously did enough in camp to justify sticking around for the Browns who also added to the unit by signing Usama Young in free agency.  That in and of itself is no small feat for a seventh round pick.  But the story could still turn out to be a nightmare unless Hagg takes this opportunity and shows something on Sunday other than an ability to chase Steven Jackson toward the end zone.

Hagg should be well-prepared in terms of experience playing in college.  He was a leader of the Nebraska defense in his time in college.  So, we’ll just have to see.  The prospect of playing strong safety with Steven Jackson running at you is probably pretty scary for your first NFL start, but put it in perspective.  Jackson will be running for a team that is 1-7 on the season.

As an aside, isn’t it an amazing luxury to have Mike Adams on the team?  He has been an invaluable player in terms of backing up at both free safety and cornerback.  He continues to get brushed over when it comes to talking about starters, and yet whenever he is called on he seems to make a play.  Not bad for an undrafted 30 year-old from Delaware.  If Eric Hagg wants some inspiration for his career, he could do worse than to look at the man who could be starting opposite him on Sunday for the Browns.

Here’s hoping it turns out to be a nice story and not a nightmare.


  • My god… seriously, the EPA needs to evaluate the water in Berea. Actually, evaluate the water in NEO in general. Our teams have to be the unhealthiest in every league. It sure seems that way.

  • mgbode

    actually, I have thought our defense has stayed relatively healthy this season. DBs in general get hurt alot and we’ve done pretty well there until recently.

  • RyInCBus

    Seriously, it can’t hurt at this point, for some of these young guys to get as much experience as possible. That way, in 2 years when we make our Super Bowl run (jokes), we’ll have the depth to adapt if we lose a starter along the way. Ala Green Bay.

  • Big Z

    Here here. Mike Adams is one of my favorite players on the team, WAY under-rated!

  • Pale Dragon

    I find it hard to believe that Hagg could be worse than Young. Has Usama Young ever made a good play this year?

  • Harv 21

    Browns v. Rams: maybe the worst match-up of the entire NFL season. Please, someone give me one reason to justify spending 3 hours on Sunday watching a game between two totally incompetent teams when there’s so much other stuff to get done that day.

    Don’t even want to know which broadcast team has been assigned (involuntary shudder). Must … not … watch … even from the TVs inside a big box store. If I watch this game, this season, after last week, proof that I have zero standards, will never hold any Browns team accountable.

  • mgbode

    @Harv – that is silly talk. The Colts are worse than the Rams and we played them too 🙂

    interesting, let’s come up with some reasons to watch this game:

    1. Cribbs @ RB w/ some Wildcat mixed back into the offense
    2. SJAX
    3. Chris Long
    4. Rubin and Phil Taylor should devour the Rams putrid interior OL (old friend Jason Brown was just inexplicably benched to boot and their OGs are as bad as ours)
    5. Haden vs. Lloyd
    6. Shurmur vs. former team
    7. McCoy vs. Bradford (if Bradford plays)
    8. and really the only reason: because it’s the Browns and you cannot help yourself

  • MP34

    Harv, I feel ya. There was little enjoyment even in the three wins the they pulled off this season. I’ve watched 12 1/2 seasons of this mess since the Browns were reincarnated.

    This week I’m going to find something else to do and have an enjoyable Sunday afternoon for once.

  • oribiasi

    @ Harv 21: I suspect you’re being insincere with this little rant.

    If you weren’t, and you actually meant it, then I’d think you finally wised up.

    As for me, I will be playing Call of Duty all weekend like practically EVERYONE ELSE in America. 🙂

  • Harv 21

    Thanks, mgbode, but 7 reasons leave me hollow, feeling nothing, a chef whose taste buds stopped functioning. Number 8, effing number 8. But there must be some standard, a line drawn somewhere. There’s always my unbreakable Fan Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Care More About the Game Than the Players. That’s easy to follow- you’ve packed it in? me too. But this here, this is involuntary putridness, confusion, embarrassment, RB’s standing and staring to the right while blitzers storm in from the left. No development apparent, no hope, fearing this is the week Colt gets wishboned 7 yards behind the line and then we’re analyzing Seneca for the final games. And that’s the grayest of Cleveland winters.

  • mgbode

    i don’t know. as fans, we always care more than the players. it is also tough to have a set standard now when we watched the ’99 & ’00 teams along with the offense of the ’09 team (until the last 3 games).

    i guess, if you want a real good reason to watch this Sunday, then it would be this: it is our most winnable game left on the schedule. JAX & AZ have looked good in spots. the rest is our divisional games. I hope we win 2-3 of these games, but really, the Rams represent the best chance at a win.

    I feel you though. It’s tough.

  • oribiasi

    @ mgbode: It’s sweet and commendable in your nature to think we have a snowball’s chance to win another game this year with our insanely predictable offense and over-ranked defense.

    If we lose to St. Louis this week, you know, Shurmur’s former 27th ranked offense, it’ll be curtains for the season (it may already be) and we’ll be holding our breath until the draft…all over again.

  • Josh

    If we lose this game, the wins against Miami and Seahawks, both of which should have been losses, will be diseasters. Had we lost those two, we’d be the clear leaders in the Luck sweepstakes with a chance at MAYBE one more victory the rest of the way.

  • eldaveablo

    Call me crazy, but I’ll be watching the game because I’m a Browns fan.

  • oribiasi

    @ Josh: You said it, man. Those “wins” were jokes and to be honest, the joke will be on us come draft time.

  • Josh Stein

    We wouldn’t be clear leaders. We still would have the Indianapolis win, and they still look worse than the Browns.

  • mgbode


  • Clint

    Thank you for giving Mike Adams some credit. He’s extremely underappreciated.

  • Mike from Canton

    As a life long Browns fan I even hate writing this. But we can’t even get losing correct. Once again we win just enough to miss out on the top three draft choices.

    I know, it’s a sad state to hope if you lose, let’s just lose every game so MAYBE we can improve.

    With brings up another point. I’m I the only one that thinks the Colts are throwing the season. Haven’t won a single game, Manning possibly out for good and now looking like the “Sux for Luck” swepstakes winners. They throw one season…get Luck and are back on top. That would be much less painful than being the joke of the NFL for 10 years now!!!

  • jraster

    I have tickets to the game today and was debating last night whether or not to go. It’s six hours round-trip and literally takes up the whole day. Yeah, the game will probably be a stinker and a waste of my time, but who else am I going to root for? I can’t just pick another team. I was telling my brother last night that I would stop watching football altogether before jumping ship. Even when awful Cleveland has a soul that I don’t see with other teams. So it’s now 6:20 and to quote the youtube ranter, I’m just asking for the game to be watchable. It’s not getting any warmer and my grass isn’t gonna cut itself.

  • Nik-GoPackEffinGo-Cash

    Hagg is a great player that was way so UNDERRATED for the NFL Draft…. Didn’t have the “best” exercises/drills when he went to the NFL Combine but had GREAT numbers in college and made a lot of BIG plays that not many others can make.. He will be startin at least HALF of the games next year during his Sophomore NFL season. Just watch, he’s gonna grow into a great every day player real quick, will quiet and make all of the doubters and haters eat everything that was been negatively said about him… Not even a Brown’s fan, don’t know why I even commented on this site honestly lol. Just think Hagg is a REALLY great player that no one noticed and will be one of those real late draft diamonds in the rough. Like I said, I wanted my Green Bay Packers to pick up Eric Hagg during last years draft, even though our DB’s are pretty much set and he wouldn’t get that much if any playing time at all if he was with Green Bay. He’ll be startin soon though, just watch him prove all of the doubters way wrong!