Cleveland – The Browns took a big pre-season win in North Asia Thursday night. However, during their 29-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, they also picked up some big injury questions in defense.
None of those were bigger than the quadruple injury suffered by linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. early in the third quarter. Walker faced face down on the grass for several minutes before he was eventually carried off the field.
In the same series that injury occurred, linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah left with a thigh injury and a defensive tackle Taven Bryan did the same with a hamstring injury. Neither of them is back in the game.
Coach Kevin Stefansky said in a call Friday with the media that the team is still awaiting the results of the MRI scans that were done on each of those injuries. Shortly after the call, a league source confirmed to the Beacon Journal that Walker tore his quadriceps tendon and would require end-of-season surgery.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report. The team officially announced the diagnosis later on Friday afternoon, and put Walker on their booked list of injured.
A source also confirmed that injuries to La Owusu-Kuramoah or Brian are seen as long-term concerns, which was first mentioned by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. This also applies to the safety of Ronnie Harrison Jr., who suffered a hamstring injury during the pre-game warm-up and did not play, leaving Jedrick Wills Jr. , who returned after sustaining a leg injury in the fourth return leg.
Walker’s loss would be the longest-range blow to Brown’s defense. Given the MRI results, a trip to the sufferers reserve is in the future, with a recovery of five to seven months.
“When you see, obviously, the interest on the court, obviously it wasn’t very good,” Stefanski said on Friday. “I think that’s clear. We’re hopeful against Anthony. I spoke to him last night. He’s a huge, huge, huge part of our football team, what he gives us on the field, off the field. So we’re going to see what the MRI carries, But then, I’ll just wait and see.”
Walker’s lead role is indisputable on Brown. He was one of two defensive players elected by his teammates to be among the five captains for the full season. He was also designated with the green dot on his helmet, which means he received radio communications from defensive coordinator Joe Woods.
Stefanski said the green point will go to the player who will replace Walker in the squad, Jacob Phillips. Phillips led the Browns with seven combined tackles, plus a third big down sack and another pass for the third down against the Steelers.
“He does a good job communicating,” Stefansky said. “There were two plays he made late in the game with the hijacker and the sack and then the PBU which was great. I’m proud of Jacob just because you wish you could put 12 players there to defend and we included it as a start with Anthony early because those guys, we think, are capable of start.”
Leave it to the league at Steelers OT Chukwuma Okorafor
What infuriated some about the play in which Walker was injured was what the Steelers did to properly deal with Chokuma Okurafor after the downfall of the Browns midfielder. Walker apparently got his foot stuck at first in the grass and stopped, then fell backwards by Okurafor.
However, while Walker was lying face down on the ground, Okorafor came back and jumped over him. Stefansky was asked if this was something he might send to the NFL office for further review,
“I’m going to let the league deal with these things,” Stefanski said.
It’s time to unlock Mini Bay for Browns players and coaches
Thursday night games like the one Brown played against the Steelers can be a pain at the front end. Sometimes, as with some Cleveland out-of-game injuries, it can be painful in the moment and moving forward as well.
However, there is a benefit that comes from playing on Thursdays. It gives teams the chance to play in a little break that they usually only get during their full farewell week.
“You always care when the schedule comes, where is Thursday night’s game and where is farewell week,” Stefanski said. “It’s a little goodbye in many ways. Hopefully, in these 10 days, we can get the guys to recover and recharge for a second. At the front end [of the Thursday night game], you have to play. I mentioned that last night, there are a lot of guys that pushed to get to that match, and I’m really proud of them. Then they got leave on the other side.”
This time also includes the technical staff. Stefanski said the plan was for coaches to try to move away from the facility as well for the next two days before starting to prepare for the game on October 2 at the Atlanta Falcons.
“We’re going to have a little break here,” he said, “but it gives you a chance to do a little three-game study on yourself and then do some work in Atlanta.”
Miles Garrett has drawn more attention off the edge
A hasty of Miles Garrett’s stature can’t help but expect to see some extra interest from opponents. That will be even more so when Gadvion Clooney is sidelined as he picked up an ankle injury during Thursday’s win.
Garrett has two assists and hit one quarterback in the win over the Steelers. Oftentimes, he would fight not only left to Dan Moore Jr., but others would come to help as well.
“That’s what you can expect,” Stefanski said. “Teams will wait to see where he lines up, they will slide the tight end over to him, they will send the line on his way and they will go to send back his way. That is the nature of how the teams are going to try to defend us. It opens up opportunities for the guys. There are things we did last night and things we will continue to do as ways to try to free him. And it’s not a secret.”
It’s no secret that Garrett is still half a bag behind Clay Matthews’ “official” record of 62 bags. The sack wasn’t considered an official NFL statistic until 1982.
The last time Jarrett had a sack when he brought down Joe Flacco just over eight minutes before in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Jets. He also sacked the Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield twice in the opening game.
“I think you control what you can control,” Stefanski said. “The prime minister’s rushers get that kind of attention. I think about von Miller when we played with him a couple of years ago. You’ll make sure you have someone to cut it for every time. That’s exactly what You make the difference.”
Contact Chris at [email protected]
On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ
This article originally appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal: Browns’ Anthony Walker Jr. exited for a season with a torn quadruple chord
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