BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns added to their injury report on Saturday and as a result they could be without their top receiver against the Steelers.
Here’s our top Brownie Bites from the final practice before Monday night.
Questionable Cooper – Receiver Amari Cooper, safety Juan Thornhill and defensive tackle Siaki Ika are questionable for Monday night’s showdown with the Steelers. Cooper was added to the injury report on Friday after suffering a groin injury during practice Saturday. “I really don't have an update past that, so we'll see how he does over the next 48 hours,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said. Cooper slipped and went down during last Sunday’s 24-3 win over the Bengals but returned to the game. “Just bad footing, bad weather,” Cooper said on Thursday. “Just slipped and kind of tweaked something, but it's all good.” It is unclear if the two are related but the Browns could be without their top receiver in Pittsburgh. “We don't know too much about what happened,” receiver Elijah Moore said. “We don't know if it’s serious at all. So we're just going to pray for him and it's always next man up there. You can't miss a step.” Cooper’s possible absence could open the door for rookie Cedric Tillman to get some targets. “I think every day in practice, the more reps that he gets, he gets to feel out the game,” Moore said. “And honestly, it’s all just opportunity as far as feeling out football because football is football. He’s probably been playing football since he was little, so it is just putting him in a position that he is good at.” Thornhill hopes to play after being limited the last two days with a calf injury while Ika has a foot injury.
95 Crossover – Four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Myles Garrett broke out the crossover move early last week before blowing by Bengals Ted Karras. “I’ve done it for years in practice, but I just never brought it out,” Garrett said. “I was like, this year I’m just going to have fun and we’re just going to bust out everything I’m doing in practice. So that was just one of them days.” Garrett, who plays basketball in his spare time and is a Cavs fan, enjoyed the clip going viral on social media. “It's funny, when Jim [Schwartz] made that call, my eyes went right to Myles knowing where he was going to be rushing,” Stefanski said. “So I saw it right away. And listen, whatever it takes, he can go around the back next time if he wants.” Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wants his players to show their personalities and celebrate when they make plays. “I mean the door's completely open as long as you're in the framework. He's seen me win doing stuff like that. So if I was just doing that and I was getting locked up, it would be a little bit different. But he knows he can count on me in those kind of situations.” Left guard Joel Bitonio has seen Garrett go to work in practice, but without the dribble move. “The thing about him is a lot of guys kind have a little euro step in there, but he has such, he can cover such a distance with it and he’s so fast and powerful that it makes his kind of one of a kind,” Bitonio said. “But yeah, that's the Myles Garrett move that I think if you’re like, all right, he’s going to win a pass rush, that’s probably what he’s going to bring out to try and do that.” Apparently the Eurostep is just one move in Garrett’s arsenal. “I like the Euro step but I have variations that I wouldn’t particularly name that but things that look similar,” Garrett said. “So might have to start naming each one.”
What a rush – The Browns aren’t the only team that will be on the field Monday night with a lethal pass rush combo. Even with defensive tackle Cameron Heyward out, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith still provide a one-two punch. “Both of them can rush very well,” Garrett said. “Both of them can play the run very well. So it’s just a matter of never letting off a single play because that one could be game changing with that group. So you got to be on your P’s and Q’s all throughout, make sure you know your assignment.” Watt is coming off a three sack performance in Week 1. “TJ finds a way to win. He’s a dog. He always has those second effort plays. He can win inside, outside. He’s strong, he’s fast. I mean he doesn’t look as strong as he is, but the way he long arms guys or the way he finds a way to fight through a double or single, it’s really impressive and I have a lot of respect for his game and him. So I always look forward to doing my best out there at Pittsburgh and it’s just fun knowing that on the other end I have someone who’s of a similar caliber trying to do their best as well.”
Eye on NFL – With Sunday off, the Browns will have some time to take in games across the league as they make their way to Pittsburgh. “I think all of us players, coaches, we all follow this league,” Stefanski said. “I think so many of us have friends throughout this league that you’re following how people are doing. So we’re always aware of who’s playing, how they’re doing. Obviously in game, your game ends and you ask, all right, how did this team do? How’s do so? Yeah, we’re always interested in what’s going around in the league.”
Notable quotable – Moore prefers grass to turf fields and believes artificial surfaces lead to injuries. “I think soccer, they play on all grass. I feel like that's something that we should lean towards doing too. If they look at the facts, I think it would lean towards it being more safer for the grass anyway.”
Injury report – QUESTIONABLE: WR Amari Cooper (groin), S Juan Thornhill (calf), DT Siaki Ika (foot); EXPECTED TO PLAY: LG Joel Bitonio (rest), DE Myles Garrett (rest), LB Anthony Walker (rest), DT Shelby Harris (Achilles), DT Maurice Hurst (hamstring)