The Browns have a whole host of new players for Saturday.
The Browns have a lot going on at the moment. Most of their regular and reliable players are out for the upcoming matchup with the Raiders. Only the Rams, who are for some reason trying to keep pace with the Browns in positive COVID cases (I blame Odell) have nearly as many players with positive tests.
Thankfully, every player appears to be healthy, and asymptomatic, which is the most important thing.
That doesn’t mean much, however, when we’re talking about the Browns having a competitive roster come Saturday. This team has had zero time to practice and considering all the new pieces they’re forced to work into the team, it stands to reason that this is a calamity waiting to happen.
There are talks of postponing the game to Monday or Tuesday but nothing formally has been finalized. So until then, let’s look at the team as it stands for Saturday.
The Backs and Special Teams
Out: Baker Mayfield, Case Keenum, Kareem Hunt (INJ), Jamie Gillan
In: Nick Mullens, Kyle Lauletta, D’Ernest Johnson/Demetric Felton, Dustin Colquitt
The Browns will walk out a backfield that will include Nick Chubb, Andy Janovich, and their new starting quarterback; Nick Mullens. While Kareem hunt is out as well, due to injury, his backups – Demetric Felton and D’Ernest Johnson, get reps regardless if he’s healthy or not. So their workload will increase, but it’s not like they’re making their season debuts.
Chubb and Janovich are obviously not new to this either.
Mullens, and his new backup Kyle Lauletta, are now your options under center if the game happens. Mullens does have the equivalent of a full season under his belt (5-11). He’s thrown for 4,714 career yards, 25 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions and completed 64% of his passes. If this were any other day, I’d be fine with Mullens going in as our backup.
The problem is that he’s not our backup, he’s our backup’s backup. It’s unlikely he’s taken any snaps with the starters, even into this week, and with football being a game of chemistry and timing like none other, the facts are that’s not a good thing. In a vacuum, Mullen’s would be fine.
Yet, with no time to practice with the starters, and the constant news of new starters being added to the COVID list, it’s untenable. Mullens isn’t going to have to adjust to the rhythms of a full squad, but one of bits and pieces. Cobbled together. A North/South collegiate senior game will have more chemistry with one another than the Frankenstein’s monster of a Browns’ squad that walks out onto the field come Saturday afternoon.