3 players Cleveland Browns can’t lose to injury in 2021
Three Cleveland Browns players who could derail the season if they get injured
The Cleveland Browns haven’t had much luck with health in 2020, whether it’s injuries or COVID-19 issues.
But most of their problems didn’t significantly change the season and the team made it to the divisional round of the playoffs.
In order to play deeper into the 2022 calendar year, Cleveland will need to stay healthy. Here are three specific players who would have a significant impact on the outlook for the season if they were short on time.
3. Myles Garrett
If Aaron Donald is the best defender in football (and he is quite possibly the best individual player of all time), Garrett is probably second. His statistics are excellent; in 53 career games, Garrett has totaled 45 sacks, 44 quarterback hits, 216 presses and 42 tackles for a loss. His impact on the game goes way beyond the stats sheet, as he has a certain gravity to his game, which requires multiple blockers with each snap and keeps opposing coaches awake at night.
Cleveland’s defense survived without him for four games in 2020, and he’s faced many others hampered by nagging injuries. After the first five weeks of the season, Garrett was on a legendary pace, but started to get carried away, and by the end of the year, Olivier Vernon dominated him. Garrett faced the lingering after-effects of COVID-19, which severely hampered his conditioning.
The Browns need Garrett to be at full power this year, and their EDGE room is designed to allow that. His number of snaps will likely be reduced, especially earlier in matches and when the score gets out of hand. When he needs it, he’ll be healthy and fresh, and so will Jadeveon Clowney. Young guys like Takk McKinley, and at least two from Porter Gustin, Curtis Weaver and Malik McDowell, should be able to deliver quality rotating play, which defensive coordinator Joe Woods highly appreciates.
If Garrett were to fall, it would force Clowney to take on the lead role of EDGE, and he lacks the curvature, flexibility, and durability to make it happen. He may be a great number 2, but Garrett has to be the alpha and he has to have the best (and healthiest) season of his career if the team is to win a Super Bowl.