Cleveland’s covid complications


Coach Stefanski and Baker Mayfield

Ryan Barkley, Writer

As the Browns try and make a push for a spot in the playoffs for the second year in a row, they are going to have to overcome quite the obstacle. 

Cleveland’s road to the playoffs were already difficult enough, with the 7th hardest strength of schedule through their last 4 games. The Browns will also have to deal with the biggest Covid outbreak so far this season, as they recently placed 17 players along with 2 coaches onto the Covid reserve list, most of which will be out for at least one game unless they are able to test negative twice before Saturday.  

Some of the Browns top players have already been ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders. That list includes: Quarterback Baker Mayfield, Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry, Offensive Linemen Wyatt Teller and Jedrick Wills, Safety John Johnson, and Head Coach Kevin Stefanski. 

Filling in for Mayfield this week is backup quarterback Case Keenum who was able to lead the Browns to a win in week 7 against the Denver Broncos, when Baker had to miss the game due to  a shoulder injury. Keenum played fairly well in his first game as the Browns starting QB, putting up nearly 200 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 turnovers. Other players also stepped up that week, notably D’Ernest Johnson rushing for 146 yards and a touchdown. The defense also played very well, holding the Broncos to just 14 points, which  is something the Browns will need in order to get a win this week. 

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski will also be a big loss for the Browns, but this is one loss that they should be able to overcome. Looking at last year’s playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers which Stefanski also missed due to Covid, the Browns were able to put on one of their best performances in the past 20 years, winning 48-37. So despite the massive role he has played in turning around the Browns organization they should be able to perform fairly well without him. 

The Browns will luckily still have their 3 best players with Nick Chubb, Myles Garrett, and Denzel Ward all healthy for their game against Vegas. WIth Garrett and Ward healthy their defense should be able to slow down a Raiders offense that has been struggling for the past few weeks, scoring over 20 points in just 1 of their last 6 games. Having Nick Chubb back and fully healthy should help the Browns offense even with Baker and Landry out. Although with their offensive line being pretty banged up, running the football could prove to be difficult.  

Despite all of the players that they are going to be missing this week, if the Browns are able to get the run game going and can slow down the Raiders offense, there’s still a good chance they are able to get a win.