Coach Kevin Stefanski took a wait-and-see approach on whether All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett will be able to play Saturday against the Green Bay Packers. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson tried to talk it into existence.
“I’m going to put positivity in the air and say he’s going to be there,” Jackson said Wednesday on Zoom.
Garrett sustained a groin injury Monday early in the fourth quarter of the 16-14 loss to the Raiders. He labored to finish the game, then said afterward it would take someone to “kill me” or “break my leg” to keep him from playing the rest of the season. The Browns are 7-7 and likely need to win out to return to the playoffs for the second straight year.
“We’re just going to have to work through it,” Stefanski said. “He has an injury there. We’ll see if it prevents him from playing, we’ll see if it prevents him from practicing.
“We’re not there yet, we just gotta see how he does today and the next day.”
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The Browns were set for a walkthrough Wednesday afternoon in Berea.
“So not doing much from a physical standpoint, but I’ll get my eyes on him today and we’ll see how it goes,” Stefanski said.
Garrett is tied for third in the NFL with 15 sacks, a franchise season record. He was voted a Pro Bowl starter for the second straight season.
Myles Garrett injures groin, says someone will have to “kill me” or “break my leg” to get him off field
Stefanski refers to him as the best player on the team, and the Browns would be even more hard pressed to slow down MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the NFC North champion Packers without him.
The Browns are already short-handed at pass rusher.
Jadeveon Clowney, the other starter at end, is on the COVID-19 reserve list after testing positive and having symptoms late last week. No. 3 end Takk McKinley is done for the season after his Achilles ruptures Monday and will need surgery.
“I think we’ve got guys that have been sitting here biting at the chomps ready to get out there and show what they have,” Jackson said. “I don’t think we’ll miss a beat. As good as Myles is, I think guys, if we’ve got two or three guys going just as hard, it will be good like Myles. I think we’ll be good.
“I know Myles is a warrior, he’s going to try to go and be out there and help us, so that’s what I’m expecting. But if he can’t, then that’s what it is and I expect (Curtis) Weaver or Porter Gustin or whoever’s up to do their thing.”
Ifeadi Odenigbo and Joe Jackson are other options. Odenigbo is scheduled to come off the COVID list in time to play.