When the Browns suit up tonight in Cincinnati to face the Bengals, they’ll be without the services of six starters, four of whom suffered concussions in last Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Among those in the league’s concussion protocol are two starting defensive backs, Joe Haden and Donte Whitner. A third DB, Jordan Poyer, will also sit out, in his case due to a shoulder injury. The depleted defensive backfield is expected to give more playing time to Johnson Bademosi, Ibraheim Campbell and Pierre Desir.
Also ruled out due to concussions are wide receivers Andrew Hawkins and Brian Hartline. The Browns are expected to dress four wide receivers Thursday night, Travis Benjamin, Dwayne Bowe (No. 80 if you have difficulty locating him), Marlon Moore and Taylor Gabriel. But, the thinner WR corps could also give running back, Duke Johnson Jr. a more prominent role in the passing game.
Josh McCown will not suit up due to shoulder and rib injuries. That moves Johnny Manziel into the starting role for the second time this season. It also moves No. 7 Austin Davis into the backup role behind Manziel.
The seventh Browns player listed as inactive against the Bengals will be former Bengal, Jayson DiManche, the linebacker signed on October 20 off the Kansas City practice squad.
Safety Tashaun Gibson and linebacker Craig Robertson were listed as questionable due to ankle injuries, but will be active against the Bengals. The same goes for linebacker Nate Orchard, who had also been listed as questionable (shoulder).
In NFL parlance, the terms used for players’ injury status are defined as follows:
Doubtful = 25% chance a player will play
Questionable = 50% chance a player will play
Probable = 75% chance a player will play
Interesting that the Browns players listed on their Injury Report on the team website includes Johnny Manziel. Injury? Right elbow. He was listed as “Probable” but he’ll be active and will start.
The Browns are fifth in the NFL in sacks allowed to their quarterbacks with 27 (22 for McCown and 5 for Manziel). However it may be even worse than it looks because their QB’s have been hit and hit hard many more times than just the number they’ve been sacked. That contract extension for Austin Davis may have been influenced by those numbers as much as any other.
For the 7-0 Bengals, the inactives are: wide receiver Mario Alford, defensive tackle Marcus Hardison, cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris, linebacker Rey Maualuga (calf injury), defensive tackle Pat Sims, offensive tackle Andre Smith (out with a concussion), and tight end, C.J. Uzomah.