BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was ruled out of Sunday’s game at Denver after missing practice the last 2 days with a knee injury.
Coach Pat Shurmur made the announcement following practice Friday.
With Massaquoi, who was on the field Wednesday but was limited, out, rookie Josh Cooper will get another opportunity.
“It’s nice to get back out there,” Cooper said. “I’ve been up and down all season and I really have to stay in the moment and study the playbook because you never know when you’re going to get the call and it cam my way so I’m excited to get back out there and hopefully make a difference.”
Cooper has 7 catches for 98 yards in 4 games this season and has tried to use his natural chemistry with quarterback Brandon Weeden to his advantage.
“He knows where and when I’m going to stop on read routes and that’ll always be there,” Cooper said. “We haven’t worked together much lately because I’ve been running [scout team] reps but it’ll always be there and he knows where I’m going to be and hopefully we can make it show on Sunday.”
A hamstring injury earlier this season kept Massaquoi out for 5 games and since returning he’s caught 7 passes for 109 yards in 6 games. He has 17 catches for 254 yards but has yet to catch a touchdown in 9 games this season.
Also Out: In addition to Massaquoi, Shurmur ruled out tight end Jordan Cameron and safety Tashaun Gipson.
“They won’t even make the trip with us,” Shurmur said.
Gipson hurt his foot in practice this week and was expected to start in place of safety T.J. Ward, who was placed on injured reserve this week.
Brad Smelley and Eric Hagg are expected to be active. Hagg will start opposite Usama Young.
“With Gib going down [Thursday] I’m just ready for the opportunity to prove what I can do,” Hagg said.
Hagg has played in 9 games this season recording a total of 17 tackles but was inactive for the last 2.
“You’ve just got to keep on your mental preparation and just keep studying film and I’m ready to go,” Hagg said. “I’ve been ready to go since I was playing last, just getting mental reps, being on special teams, getting some reps at nickel and stuff like that. It’ll be good.”
Tanks Turn: Linebacker Tank Carder will see significant playing time Sunday with James-Michael Johnson out with a knee injury.
“It’s bad for JMJ,” Carder said. “It’s never good when injuries occur. It’s never good when injuries occur. He was playing great ball. Hats off to him the way he’s been playing, but that’s the way it is. That’s the nature of the beast. People are going to get hurt and the next guy has got to step up. It’s an opportunity and you’ve got to run with it.”
Need For Speed: In the last 2 weeks Travis Benjamin has scored on a 93-yard punt return and 69 yard touchdown reception.
“We’ll have plays designed to throw it his way and we’ll see if we can get it done.” Shurmur said.
Benjamin has 11 catches for 209 yards and 2 scores in limited opportunities this season.
Injury Report: Out – WR Mohamed Massaquoi (knee), TE Jordan Cameron (head) and DB Tashaun Gipson (foot)
Questionable – DL Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (calf), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/hip) and TE Alex Smith (knee).
Probable – WR Travis Benjamin (finger), WR Josh Cribbs (knee), LG Shawn Lauvao (head/foot), DL Juqua Parker (knee), DT Phil Taylor (knee) and LT Joe Thomas (back), OL Oniel Cousins (shin), RB Montario Hardesty (knee), RB Trent Richardson (chest/ribs/finger), RG Shaun Lauvao (head/foot).