BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Hue Jackson is hopeful that quarterback Cody Kessler will recover in time to start next Sunday’s game at Tennessee while veteran Josh McCown is a step closer to returning.
Kessler is still “day to day” according to Jackson who does expect him to practice this week in preparation for Sunday’s game at Tennessee.
“As I said [Sunday], there is nothing broken,” Jackson said. “There is a good chance that he will have an opportunity to be out there this week.”
Kessler sustained a chest/rib injury with 1:20 left in the first quarter when he got drilled by Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower while trying to throw a screen pass to running back Duke Johnson. The ball went backwards and Johnson tried to recover it before it went out of the far side of the end zone for a safety and a 16-7 New England lead.
Charlie Whitehurst replaced Kessler and sustained a hyper-extended left knee in the fourth quarter. His status this week is unknown although Jackson said he is also day to day bringing the injured quarterback total to 4 in 5 games.
“Sometimes things happen and each one of these injuries has been a little different,” Jackson said. “They haven’t all been the same but it is football and these things are gonna happen to players. We’ve just had our share of bad luck.”
Like he did after the game, Jackson took responsibility for the play call that ultimately got Kessler hurt.
“Absolutely. Not going to change,” Jackson said. “Just a bad call in that situation.”
McCown, who broke his collarbone in the first quarter of the 25-20 loss to Baltimore on Sept. 18, has been cleared to practice this week. His availability for the Titans game has yet to be determined because he hasn’t practiced and hasn’t been cleared by doctors to play.
“It’s more up to the team docs and stuff like that,” McCown said. “But we’re taking the next step and practicing and that’s what we’re most excited about and we’ll see how the week goes.”
McCown thinks it would be reasonable to expect to play Sunday if all goes well this week during Wednesday and Thursday’s practice.
“When you’re kind of going through what we’re going through, just to be out there on the practice field and to get back moving around like that is going to be, it’s exciting for me,” McCown said. “And then we’ll see where it goes. But I’m looking forward to helping any way I can and getting back out there with the guys.”
Cam Close – Center Cameron Erving, who sustained a bruised lung in that loss to the Ravens, is also scheduled to return to practice Wednesday.
“I’m definitely excited to get back out there. It sucks just watching,” Erving said. “Putting all the time that we put into this sport, anybody who gets hurt, it sucks. But thankfully I’m in a position where I’ll be able to come back soon. So just going out there and just going to work to get myself back in shape first off and just fight through anything that I may have to fight through.”
Jackson said that Erving will probably return as the starting center once he’s cleared to play which may or may not be in time for the Titans game. Doctors have cleared him for practice and although concerns about his lung have subsided, he will be smart.
“[If] you go out there worried, you’re going to get hurt again,” Erving said. “That’s always been what I’ve been told, so I’m just going to go out, I’m going to be smart, but I’m going to make sure I get the work that I need to get in and try to be ready to help the team this week but at the end of the day be smart. So leave everything else up to Coach Jackson but just make sure that I put myself in a position to possibly be able to play this week.”
Cooper Claimed – The Browns were awarded guard Johnathan Cooper off of waivers Monday. Cooper, the former No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 draft, was a acquired by New England in a March trade from the Arizona Cardinals but was inactive the first 4 weeks of the season.
To make room for Cooper, center Austin Reiter, who tore his ACL at Washington, was placed on injured reserve. The Browns also waived offensive lineman Anthony Fabiano leaving the team with an open roster spot.