The Browns will undoubtedly miss receiver Jarvis Landry as he recovers from a sprained medial collateral ligament. His toughness, energy, leadership, playmaking and reliability can’t be replaced as he deals with the “week to week” injury suffered on the second play Sunday in the 31-21 win over the Texans.
“We are just going to have to keep him with us,” running back Kareem Hunt said Monday. “Hopefully he is going to be back soon. We are just going to go out there and play for him and be able to continue to keep winning.”
The return of Odell Beckham Jr. would take some of the sting out of the loss of Landry. Beckham’s a true No. 1 receiver, and his dynamic playmaking ability should send a jolt through the offense and get the attention of opposing defenses.
Coach Kevin Stefanski said Beckham’s return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament is independent of anyone else’s status and no decision had been made regarding his availability for the visit from the Bears on Sunday.
“We’ll continue to bring him along and see when he’s ready to go,” Stefanski said.
Safety Grant Delpit is an LSU alum like Landry and Beckham and predicted a Beckham return.
“Juice is definitely a big key to our offense, a big key to our team, so it’s going to be tough without him for a couple of weeks or whatever it is,” Delpit said of Landry. “But we’ve got O coming back. He’s definitely going to fill in that role, be that missing piece.
“So I’m excited to see O back, and I’m praying for Juice. I know what it is to sit out, and I know he wants to be out there just as bad as anybody. So hopefully we get him back soon.”
Stefanski announced Landry’s MCL sprain Monday and said the organization will decide in the next few days whether Landry will be placed on injured reserve, which requires a minimum three-game stay.
“Every Time I put this brace on somebody gon have to pay for it in the near future,” Landry tweeted. “#Offline”
Beckham replied to his best friend.
“we waitin slimeballl!” he tweeted. “Keep that pain on ya… we gon hold it down”
We waitin slimeballl! Keep that pain on ya… we gon hold it down 😈
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) September 20, 2021
Hunt said Landry always plays angry.
“So he’s just going to be even a more angrier guy, I guess,” Hunt said. “Jarvis just plays tough, he loves the game, he’s tough as nails. I love that energy.”
Landry was injured on a 9-yard catch-and-run and limped off the field. He didn’t return and his 111-game streak with at least two catches ended. It ranks fourth in NFL history.
Landry, 28, has never missed a game due to injury in his eight-year career. His only missed game came last year due to COVID-19 protocols when he was identified as a close contact.
“I’ve already spoken to him. He’s attacking rehab as you can imagine,” said Stefanski, who wouldn’t officially rule out Landry for the Bears game. “Nobody likes to be injured. These guys are going to fight their rear ends off to get back and battle and be with their teammates. I think Jarvis will be another example of that.”
Landry is a five-time Pro Bowler with 642 career catches for 7,108 yards and 35 touchdowns. He entered the season feeling great after he wasn’t himself last year coming off hip surgery in the 2020 offseason.
“We lose a big-time leader, the mentality and a playmaker,” Hunt said. “I can’t wait for him to get healthy and get back out there.”
The Browns expected Beckham to play in the opener Sept. 12 in Kansas City, but he wasn’t ready for a significant workload. If he still isn’t comfortable rejoining game action less than 11 months removed from surgery Nov. 10, the Browns (1-1) would be without both their starting receivers to face Chicago (1-1).
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins and rookies Anthony Schwartz and Demetric Felton are next in line at receiver. Each has flashed, but quarterback Baker Mayfield targeted wideouts only six times Sunday after Landry left, including two to Felton, who doubles as a running back.
Higgins caught two passes for 27 yards. Peoples-Jones fumbled his only catch, a 14-yarder. Felton had two for 51, including a 33-yard touchdown. Schwartz didn’t have a catch and he stopped his route on the lone target, which led to Mayfield’s interception and subsequent left shoulder injury.
“I feel like we’ve got a bunch of playmakers on this team. I feel like we’ll be able to carry the load and hold it down till either one of them get back,” Hunt said of Landry and Beckham. “So the sooner the better, but it is what it is, I don’t want them rushing, just take their time.”