Two games into the season and it’s already the next man for the Cleveland Browns’ pass rush. Trouble is, there’s only so many men on the line of defense to turn to.
Jadeveon Clowney was ruled out with an ankle injury, while defensive end Chase Winovich landed on the injured reserve (IR) list this week, where he will remain for the next four games. All Pro Myles Garrett is scheduled to play the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night, although the Browns put him on injury report Tuesday, Sept. 20, with a previously undisclosed neck injury that led to his absence from practice that day .
After Stephen Weatherly picked up a knee injury in early August that cost him the season, the Browns are left with just a few rookie options to supplement their pass rush against the Steelers — a team that has played for quarterback so far this season – Pressure is vulnerable.
Those two players are third-rounder Alex Wright, who has appeared in two games for 38 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, and seventh-rounder Isaiah Thomas, who has appeared on nine percent of defensive snaps so far.
Both Wright and Thomas spoke to the media Monday about their opportunities to play significant minutes in a crucial competition for the Browns so early in their respective careers.
“It sucks. [Especially] something that’s so random, something that shouldn’t be happening,” Wright said of Clowney’s injury, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. “But at the end of the day someone has to get up. We can’t sit back and hang our heads because he’s down. We just have to watch this because he will be fine, he will come back. While he’s gone someone has to get up, someone has to take his place and do plays.
Thomas also praised Clowney Monday before sharing Wright’s take on her dual responsibilities going into the matchup with the Steelers.
“As a young man [seeing Clowney] Get a strip sack in a big moment of the game, it’s inspiring to watch guys like this. ‘If he can, why can’t I?’ That’s what you think,’ said Thomas. “It sucks having a vet but of course the next man. They brought me, Alex Wright, other D-Ends here to come in and perform and play, not sit and just watch from the side.