BEREA, Ohio—The Browns could be without three key contributors when they take on the New Orleans Saints in the home opener on Sunday.
Running back Ben Tate injured his knee and has already been declared out for this week’s game by Mike Pettine. Reports have said he could miss up to a month with a sprained knee.
Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron missed all but one play in the second half last week after landing on his shoulder after the 47-yard reception he had against the Steelers.
Besides Tate and Cameron, Barkevious Mingo injured his shoulder and his game status is up in the air. None of the three practiced on Wednesday.
Pettine was asked if Cameron re-injured the AC joint that he sprained during training camp.
“I’m not going to get into the medical specifics of it,” Pettine said. “He took a pretty good shot. From what I’ve been told, I don’t think it’s a chronic thing, so I don’t know whether it’s just a coincidence that it’s the same one or a repeat of the old injury. I just don’t have the feel for that yet.”
Cameron said he had an MRI and there was no structural damage to the shoulder and he’s hopeful he will be able to play Sunday.
“It is a similar injury,” he said. “I trust the trainers.”
The Browns added a player they hope can fill Cameron’s role if he is unable to play for any period of time.
Gerell Robinson (6-3, 220) is officially in his first NFL season out of Arizona State. He was originally signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent, Robinson spent part of the 2012 season on Arizona’s practice squad and all of 2013 and Week 1 of the 2014 season on Denver’s practice squad.
“Robinson is a converted wide out,” Pettine said. “We feel like we have two pretty good blocking tight ends in (TE Gary) Barnidge and (TE Jim) Dray. I thought they did a solid job in the game. Also, they weren’t just…it wasn’t like having a third tackle. They were both more than functional in the pass game – caught the balls that were thrown to them, got open, ran the right route. They were dependable. The reason that Jordan separated himself from that group was just a different skill set – to have a guy who’s more of an athlete, can stretch the field.
“That’s the type we were looking for, and that’s what Robinson, we hope, can bring to us is a guy who has wide receiver type skills, yet he’s still functional in the run game if he does have to block. He’s not just a wide receiver.”
As a wide receiver as Arizona State, Robinson recorded 135 receptions for 2,071 yards and 12 touchdowns in 47 games.
Pettine said that Barnidge and Dray are similar and wouldn’t say who would start if Cameron doesn’t play.
“It depends on personnel grouping, we have both groupings and it depends on how Kyle (Shanahan) wants to open the game as far is who is out there.”
Mingo was not seen on the field during the portion of practice open to the media and listed as did not practice on the injury report.
If Mingo can’t play, it is expected that Jabaal Sheard will step into the starting lineup in Mingo’s place.
“I’ll try to step up and do my job.”
Mingo was injured against the Steelers and did not register any tackles in the game.
Bryant had surgery on his wrist during the preseason and Pettine said he would take part in the team portion of practice.
“I think that helps us, certainly from a pass rush standpoint,” Pettine said. “This is a good week to get him back. The Saints do run the ball effectively. At the same time, they go as their pass game goes. It’ll be important to have…just anytime you can have fresh legs out there as a pass rusher, especially as the game gets going on, as the reps pile up…a lot of games are won and lost in the fourth quarter based on how you rushed the passer.”
Bryant is thrilled to be back on the field.
“It’s a great feeling to be back out there,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Pettine also said he is hopeful that DL John Hughes, who has been sidelined with a hamstring will return. He was on the stationary bike during the open part of practice.
“(It’s) wait and see mode with John Hughes,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get him back later this week.”
McQuistan was back practicing. Currently, the Browns have just seven offensive linemen after releasing OL Ryan Seymour. Bryant, Hughes and McQuistan all didn’t play last Sunday against the Steelers.
Thomas Excused: OL Joe Thomas missed practice for personal reasons and the Browns said he was excused. Thomas and his wife were expecting a baby that was due any time soon.