BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – There is a chance the Browns’ defense could get a major boost Sunday even though they’ll be without one of their top defenders.
Rookie defensive end Myles Garrett is officially listed as doubtful while linebacker Jamie Collins is out against Indianapolis with a concussion.
The Browns hold what they call a “walk-through” on Fridays, which is closed by league rule to reporters so it is unclear just what Garrett was able to do on Friday. He worked on the side with trainers on Wednesday and Thursday this week during the portion of practice open to reporters.
“I think we will be cautious with him,” head coach Hue Jackson said.
Garrett, who suffered the high ankle sprain on Sept. 6 after a teammate stepped on him during practice and has missed the first 2 games of the season, is out of the walking boot and he spent the week during practice exercising on the side. He was listed officially as ‘DNP’ on the injury report for all 3 days this week.
Collins suffered the concussion at the 8:18 mark of the fourth quarter of last week’s 24-10 loss at Baltimore trying to tackle Ravens tight end Max Williams on a short throw in the middle of the field when his head hit Williams in the hip.
Patient Peppers – Jabrill Peppers hasn’t had many chances to show off his explosiveness in the return game outside of a 25-yard punt return he had against the Steelers in week 1.
“You have to be patient, and you don’t know when those opportunities are going to arise,” special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said. “When an opportunity arises, you have to take advantage of it. We will do our best. We want the ball in his hands and give him an opportunity to make plays.”
Peppers has only had 6 return opportunities through the first 2 games – 2 kickoffs that went for 32 yards and 4 punts totaling 34 yards. Despite the lack of opportunities, Tabor isn’t the least bit worried about Peppers’ confidence either.
“I don’t have to really do any psychology with that guy. He is good and he is smart,” Tabor said. “I think good players recognize when they have to take chances and when they don’t have to take chances. At the same time, we have to as coaches help him.”
Last week the Ravens tried popping the ball up on kicks to have them land near the goal line as opposed to the Steelers, who tried to just kick it through the end zone. Tabor explained why the pop up kick is effective.
“When you start getting into the 4.2-4.3’s, that actually in my opinion adds distance to the kick, even though it might look like it, whereas sometimes a guy might bring it out 9-yards deep and the hang time is at 3.7,” Tabor said. “Some kickers, they mishit a kickoff and the ball will just be rolling around back there. Everyone goes, ‘Gosh, what a terrible kickoff.’ Then when you hit your stopwatch and you hit it when he picks the ball up and finally fields it, you go, ‘Wow, that was like a 4.1 hang.’ It got there in 2 seconds, but by the time he handled it, it actually bought you some hang time.
“I thought he did a really good job. He is smart. I know I keep saying that all the time, but he handled that really well.”
Roster Move – With receiver Sammie Coates listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game in Indianapolis the Browns elevated receiver Jordan Leslie, who was signed to the practice squad this week after being cut on Sept. 2.
Rookie receiver Reggie Davis was waived to make room on the roster. Davis was inactive the first 2 weeks of the season.
Still No. 2 – Kevin Hogan remains the backup quarterback this week after having to relieve DeShone Kizer for 4 series after Kizer suffered a migraine last week in Baltimore.
Hogan completed 5 of 11 passes for 118 yards, including a 23-yard TD toss to tight end David Njoku, and a critical interception late in the first half that Baltimore converted into a touchdown and a 21-7 lead.
“I like both our guys that are back there,” Jackson said. “They both have done a good job. Kevin came in the game obviously last week and led us to 10 points. That was huge. At the same time, I think both of those guys have earned the right to be the backup quarterback for this football team.”
Tough Choice – Before he left his chair, Tabor was put on the spot Friday morning when he was asked to choose between former Browns kicker Phil Dawson or current Colts kicker and presumed future Hall of Famer Adam Vinatieri.
“Guys, I’m a Phil Dawson fan. Let’s don’t ever forget that.”
Injury Report – OUT: LB Jamie Collins (concussion); DOUBTFUL: DE Myles Garrett (ankle), WR Sammie Coates (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: DL T.Y. McGill (back); EXPECTED TO PLAY: WR Kenny Britt (knee), TE Randall Telfer (knee), RG Kevin Zeitler (thumb)