BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Defensive ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney are continuing to make progress but it’s too early for head coach Kevin Stefanski to project their availability this week.
“I think we need to get to Wednesday, kind of take in information as we go and see how those guys feel and see how they look,” Stefanski said Monday, a day after a 23-20 loss to the Falcons. “Until we get to Wednesday, I think it is probably premature.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning that Garrett could be sidelined 2-4 weeks with the shoulder sprain and strained biceps injuries suffered as a result of his car accident a week ago.
“I don’t know about that specific report,” Stefanski said. “I would just tell you I want to get to Wednesday. I know he is feeling better so we will see where we are come Wednesday.”
Clowney has been sidelined with a sprained ankle he suffered September 18 during the third quarter of a stunning 31-30 loss to the Jets.
Taste of their own medicine – The Falcons ran the ball 15 consecutive times in the second half Sunday and the Browns were hapless to stop it.
“It is never one thing. We played hard,” Stefanski said. “There were times that we executed really well, and there were times that if it is one guy here or there. Certainly, we want to put the guys in position to go make plays, but in those moments, you have to find a way to get them off the field. A lot of times, that can be pursuit related, that can be making sure that we are assignment sound and all of those things, but you have to find a way to get them off the field.”
The Falcons ran their way right down the field – 10 plays and 75 yards – without throwing a pass, capped by a Caleb Huntley’s 5-yard touchdown run that gave Atlanta a 17-13 lead.
“Obviously, when it came down to the fourth quarter, we still were in the game,” linebacker Sione Takitaki said. “I felt like we could have done better. Obviously, all around we could have done better. It is not really one position group. I feel like we all had our downs at times in our position groups. To be honest, it is about playing tight once it gets to the fourth quarter.”
In all, the Falcons ran up 172 yards on the ground over the final 30 minutes and it was probably a good thing that it took Atlanta until the second half to figure out they should run the ball.
“I think the frustration is not winning,” Stefanski said. “It is just the margins in this game are so small, and you are trying to take away multiple guys. There is really, really good effort out there. We just have to learn from the ones that we can clean up and the plays that we know we can finish or we can put the guys in position to make a play. We have to learn from those.”
Balancing the backs – Nick Chubb, who racked up 118 yards on 19 carries in his homecoming to Georgia, wasn’t on the field for the final drive leaving many fans – and media members – perplexed.
“You are always in constant communication knowing how many touches Nick has, how many touches Kareem has and really all of our guys who we want to touch the ball,” Stefanski said. “That is a constant dialogue throughout the game. When we are able to run the ball late in the game, obviously Nick and Kareem are the main cogs to that. In that situation with the two-minute drive being what it was, I was comfortable with the roles we had.”
Kareem Hunt, who was on the field for that last ditch effort to pull a rabbit out of a hat, was throwing Falcons defenders around like rags, yet he only touched the ball 12 times, including just three times in the passing game that saw him catch two for 19 yards.
“It is a balance,” Stefanski said. “We have two guys – we have talked about it many, many times – we have 1A and 1B. I trust both of those guys. Sometimes it shakes out with different opportunities, but certainly, you want Kareem to touch the ball in the run and the pass.”
Roster moves – The Browns claimed offensive guard Drew Forbes off waivers from Detroit and waived safety Richard LeCounte III.
LeCounte is the first player drafted by EVP/GM Andrew Berry to be waived but he could be brought back to the practice squad should he clear waivers.
Cleveland selected Forbes in the sixth round of the 2019 Draft and was waived during the 53-man roster cutdown in late August.
Quote of the day – “We’re an aggressive offense. So, to be honest, stuff like that excites me. It shows that we’re not afraid to put it all on the line and sometimes we are able to execute, other times not so lucky. We’re going to put our best foot forward and do everything we can in our power to compete and win.” Njoku on Stefanski’s decision to go for it on fourth down instead of kick a field goal on the opening drive of the game.
Injury report – Stefanski did not report any new injuries from Sunday’s game.
Up next – Players off Tuesday; practice Wednesday