NEWARK, NJ – Brown’s receiver Jarvis Landry struggled with a hip injury all last season and fought back from off-season surgery to keep his estimated 110-game streak alive. On Sunday she ended up against the Jets by putting him on the COVID-19 reserve as a high-risk close contact.
Landry is one of five players – top four receivers and a starting linebacker – who were put on the list as close contacts on Saturday night by linebacker BJ Goodson, who tested positive for the virus. The others are recipients Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, and Donovan Peoples-Jones; and linebacker Jacob Phillips.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported early Sunday morning that close contact with Goodson took place in the area of the team’s recovery pool, These include a hot tub and a cold hot tub. The NFL also has a video of one of the players not wearing a mask properly in another encounter, Pelissero reported.
All six players will have to sit out Sunday’s potential playoff game against the 1-13 Jets, and Goodson will also miss next week’s season finale against the Steelers as players who test positive will have to stay away from the team for at least 10 days.
In addition, the club has recruited receiver Ja’Marcus Bradley, linebacker Montrel Meander and receiver Derrick Willies from the training team. The only active recipient still on the list prior to the training team calls was Marvin Hall, who was called on December 7th by Detroit for waivers.
Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL, told cleveland.com that the game is still being played as medical staff have determined that other coaches and players are not at risk of virus transmission and have identified all possible close contacts. Contacts must be in isolation for five days and can return on day six if they continue to test negative, meaning they can likely get back to training on Thursday.
The Browns thought they might be out of the woods when rookie left Jedrick Wills Jr., who entered the COVID-19 reserve as close contact with someone outside of the organization on Thursday, removed from the list and brought back to his start became place for the Jets game.
The game is enormous for the Browns as they stand a chance of taking their first playoff spot in 18 years with a win over the Jets and a loss or a tie for the Raven or Colts. The Dolphins made the road a little tougher with their last-second 26:25 win over the Raiders on Sunday night, improving to 10-5. If they had lost, the Browns would only have had to beat the Jets to get in.
If the Browns end the season in a four-way tie at 11-5 including the Ravens, they will be excluded from the playoff competition.
Landry, who has grown strong in the past four weeks with 29 receptions and three TDs after failing to score his first 10 games, broke it down on social media. The absence brings a string of 110 straight games to his seven NFL seasons. He also leads the team with 67 receptions and 789 yards.
“Annoyed,” he tweeted.
Not only will the Browns have to replace Landry on his routes and presnap moves, they’ll miss his arm, too.
“I knew he could throw the ball really well,” said offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt on Thursday. “I probably didn’t pay enough attention to the type of route runner he was and the ability to part with tight coverage, catch competitors and all that. I’m pretty sure he’d been the Bengals a few before Scored against us with a nice throw on the right sideline so obviously I knew he could throw it well. “
Higgins, one of Mayfield’s favorite targets, was also upset.
“I don’t even have COVID,” he tweeted. “That sucks !!!”
The Browns were preparing for their afternoon flight to New Jersey on Saturday morning when they learned that Goodson, the first middle linebacker, had tested positive. At that point, they closed the facility, held meetings virtually, and delayed their 2:45 p.m. flight while they did contact tracing. They also worked closely with the NFL on appropriate next steps.
Losing Goodson was a big enough blow as he is the inspirational leader of the defense, leading the team in 91 tackles and being the first to draw level with two interceptions. If the Browns beat the Jets and the 11-3 Steelers lose to the 10-4 Colts, the Browns have a chance to win the division for the first time since 1989 in the season finale on January 3.
“BJ is doing a good job,” said Stefanski on December 7, the day after Goodson helped the Browns beat the Titans 41-35. “You hear it before you see it. He gathers the boys in training and during games. ”
If Goodson and Phillips drop out, Mack Wilson will have a chance to repay after being benched last week, presumably for performance. Phillips started in his place, but Wilson could be put into service either at the middle linebacker or at his usual weak spot. The Browns also have Malcolm Smith and Tae Davis ready to intervene.
When the follow-up messages came in, it couldn’t have been much worse if Baker Mayfield hadn’t been on the list. Mayfield has shown the light in the past four weeks, climbing to # 12 in the NFL at 99.4. He has to rely heavily on his tight ends and the setbacks of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
In his last four games, Mayfield has executed 10 touchdowns against just one interception, completed 70% of his passes, and received a rating of 117.7.
Luckily for Mayfield, he’ll face an injured Jets Secondary who plays a second-team rookie cornerback, a third-team safety and a third-team nickelback. The Jets are 29th overall in defense, including 14th against the barrel and 30th against the pass. You are also allowed 28th in points with 29.5 per game.
The Browns will also rely heavily on their stellar bottlenecks in Austin Hooper, David Njoku and Harrison and their leading setbacks in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, which could be more likely to be used as receivers in this game.
Additionally, Mayfield already has natural chemistry with Willies, who played with him at Texas Tech before Mayfield moved to Oklahoma, and got many reps with him in his 2018 rookie year after Willies was signed as an unoccupied free agent. Willies broke his collarbone during practice this year and was on the training team for the next season, but he has caught a lot of passes from Mayfield who trusts him.
Willies was reassigned to the practice group on November 17th.
At around 7 p.m., the Browns left for New Jersey 4 hours and 15 minutes later than expected. By then, there were plenty of vacancies on the flight, and six key contributors at home wondered what had hit them.
The tough part will possibly be that the receiving corps won’t be back on the line against the Steelers until Thursday with a playoff spot or the AFC North crown. Players must continue to test negative in order to return.
To date, more than 25 people across the NFL identified as high risk contacts have turned positive.
The Browns have been looking at COVID-19 on a weekly basis, with Myles Garrett still doing respiratory treatments and battling the lingering effects of the virus. After the 20: 6 win over the Giants last week, he had a coughing fit and hopes to be closer to his usual self through the playoffs.
New Browns Face Masks For Sale: Here, you can purchase Cleveland Browns-themed face covers for adults and teenagers to protect against coronavirus, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All NFL proceeds were donated to the CDC Foundation.
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