Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – If it isn’t one thing, it’s another for the Cleveland Browns this season – namely injuries.
One player comes back, another goes down – especially on defense.
Cornerback Joe Haden is the latest to go down after being sidelined with an oblique injury which he sustained during practice on Wednesday.
The severity of the injury, whether or not he will be able to play against the Cowboys Sunday and how long it will keep him out is unknown.
What is known is if Haden can’t play Sunday in Dallas, the Browns’ defense is in big trouble.
“When anyone is down, especially a starter, it hurts,” safety T.J. Ward said. “Not having Joe would hurt us, but the next guy just has to step up. That’s how it’s been all year. We haven’t had our complete defense on the field at all. It just seemed like everyone was starting to get back, and Joe hasn’t been practicing.
“Hopefully, we can have him this weekend.”
That is doubtful after Haden sat out Thursday’s practice.
Haden served a 4-game suspension earlier this season for the unapproved use of Adderall. The Browns went 0-4 and allowed 30.5 points per game in his absence.
“It’s one of those hypothetical things, ‘What if we had this guy?, safety Usama Young said. “We don’t really want to get into the ‘what if’ basis in this game. I try to just remain positive, hopefully the guys that are out get back as soon as possible, and we can be at full force.”
In 5 games played, Haden has 27 tackles, 5 passes defensed and 2 interceptions.
When he is on the field, the defense gives up nearly 13 fewer points per game this season.
The injuries are frustrating but cornerback Sheldon Brown feels that sometimes players have to suck it up and play through pain to get to an elite level in the NFL.
“The only year I made the Super Bowl was the season where the same guys who started the season were the guys that we ended the season with,” Brown said. “Were they nicked up? Yeah they were beat up but they found a way to get on the field. For me, that’s the ultimate goal, you know? People can talk about young, old; you can say whatever you want to say. You’ve got to have a mental toughness about you in this game, that’s going to allow you to be there for sixteen weeks.
“And you have to understand that you’ve got to sacrifice and play through some crap, because the chemistry and bond that’s very important in this game.”
For Brown, playing hurt comes with the territory in the NFL.
“I’ve played with a bunch of crap and my teammates that I’ve played with over the years will tell you that they’d rather have me out there at 50 percent than a young guy out there at 100 percent sometimes,” Brown said. “It’s just your presence, knowing what to do, knowing what to expect. You can kind of anticipate what somebody is going to do to you.”
The question is how hurt is Haden?
He was not available for comment Thursday following practice.
Buster Skrine would take Haden’s starting spot and rookie Trevin Wade will likely get playing time at nickel if Haden can’t play.