Yesterday, Craig wrote about the potentially scary scenario of having Eric Hagg starting at safety on Sunday opposite Mike Adams. With both Usama Young and T.J. Ward missing practice this week, it was a very real possibility. With Young returning to practice yesterday but still dealing with a hip injury, it now appears that Hagg could be seeing the field for a majority of the remaining season. It’s been reported that Ward could be out four to six weeks with a right foot injury. The length of the Ward’s unavailability came as somewhat of a surprise as the seriousness of the safety’s foot injury had not been previously addressed in detail – the club still does not know for sure if the foot is sprained or broken. He will have the foot re-examined on Monday.
Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron addressed the depleted safety position, and didn’t exactly sugar coat the unenviable situation.
“It’s not a great time for us or for him [to be injured]. T.J.’s a tough guy. They all are, but T.J.’s got unusual skills. He can deliver a blow, and he likes to deliver a blow. He plays hard and was coming along well in the way we do things.”
Ward heard a pop in the arch of his foot on Sunday against the Texans. It was expected he would miss the game this Sunday (he’s still listed as doubtful), as he has been in a cast all week. He’s scheduled to have that removed on Monday but he will still be out beyond this Sunday. The check up on Monday should add more clarity, and Browns fans will have a more exact estimate of when the safety will return this season. The second year safety had avoided the injury bug so far and has been a bright spot and promising prospect in the Browns defensive backfield. It’s a big blow on the defensive side of the ball.
Young, who has been dealing with a hip injury, returned to practice Friday after missing both Wednesday and Thursday. Young was not impressive in Houston last week filling in when Ward went down. He whiffed on a number of tackles and seemed overmatched. Mike Adams, playing the unwavering Earl Little role, remains undeterred and will line up with whoever the Browns throw out there.
It’s better than the alternative, I suppose, which is the rookie Hagg being thrown to the wolves (or much more benevolent Rams). As for Coach Shurm, he’s not worried about Young at all – “I’m absolutely confident that he’s going to do great.” I feel better about this already.