BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Another day, more bad news for the Browns.
Left guard Joel Bitonio is the latest injury casualty to hit the club.
Bitonio will be lost for an “extended period of time” due to a mid-foot injury sustained in Sunday’s 33-13 loss to the New England Patriots according to the team. Bitonio did not miss any of the team’s 63 offensive snaps Sunday despite getting hurt.
“They are calling it a mid-foot sprain. We know he is going to miss some time, obviously, but nothing has been totally decided,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “That is a tough blow to our team, but again, as you guys know, it is next man up. Nothing we can do about that. Those things happen in football. It is unfortunate. We have had a lot. I think we all know that. That is well documented, but that is part of this deal.
“We are just grateful, the whole team, the guys that are left standing for the opportunity to come out here and keep practicing and keep getting better.”
Prior to last week’s game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that the combination of Bitonio and left tackle Joe Thomas was one of the best in the league and the loss of Bitonio is yet another blow to a young team that has been inundated with injuries through the first 5 weeks of the season.
A total of 10 players are on injured reserve, including starting quarterback Robert Griffin III, their first-round draft pick Corey Coleman remains out with a broken hand and the team was forced to go to their fourth quarterback in 4 weeks – Charlie Whitehurst – after Cody Kessler left late in the first quarter with a chest/rib injury.
And that is only the tip of the injury iceberg but Jackson refuses to let the string of bad luck get him or his team down.
“You guys want me to say I give, I quit or what? That is not going to happen,” Jackson said. “I’m built for this. I’m just telling you, I’m built for this and I think our team is. It is not easy. I’ll be the first to tell you that. I’m not going to sit up here and tell you, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great.’ No, it is not, but at the same time, what do you guys want me to do? We are going to keep working. We are going to keep coaching and keep getting these guys better. We are not going to make excuses. I don’t think that is what this is all about. This is the National Football League. We have other guys that are paid to do a job, and we as coaches have to get them ready to play and our guys have to get themselves ready to play.”
The Browns claimed and were awarded former 2013 No. 7 overall pick Jonathan Cooper off of waivers from the Patriots on Monday.
Center Cameron Erving may return which would allow John Greco to shift back to right guard and Alvin Bailey could move to left guard. Cooper as well as fifth round pick Spencer Drango could also be called upon.
Erving has missed the last 3 games after sustaining a bruised lung during the team’s Sept. 18 loss to the Ravens.
“We have had a ton of injuries, It has been unfortunate, It has been our year,” Jackson said. “Hopefully, after this is done, we are going to get some guys back. As you know, we are starting to get guys back. Here comes Cam, here comes [defensive end Carl] Nassib last week. Hopefully, [receiver] Corey Coleman will be back here soon and others.
“I’m not going to put my head down and nobody is. That is just the way it goes. We are going to get this thing right and get it better, and that is what I’m here to do.”
Coleman Update – Receiver Corey Coleman will have a follow up x-ray this week or next according to head coach Hue Jackson.
“I know he’s champing at the bit,” Jackson said. “He is tired of running over there on the side so hopefully we will get him back out here soon.”
Coleman broke a bone in his right hand during practice on Sept. 21 after he caught 5 passes for 104 yards and his first 2 NFL touchdowns in a 25-20 loss to the Ravens.
Injury Report – DNP: LT Joe Thomas (knee), LG Joel Bitonio (foot), WR Corey Coleman (hand), TE Randall Telfer (ankle), TE Seth DeValve (knee), DL Xavier Cooper (shoulder); LIMITED: TE Gary Barnidge (forearm/hip), C Cameron Erving (chest/lung), QB Cody Kessler (chest/ribs), QB Josh McCown (left shoulder), CB Tramon Williams (shoulder)