Delaying the Browns vs. Raiders game may not fix things much.
The Browns are in for a long few days. They were supposed to play Saturday in the late afternoon/early evening at home, taking on the Raiders. Problems arose, however, with 20+ positive COVID tests, ruling them all out for Saturday. The game has now been moved to Monday evening barring something catastrophic.
The protocols for the season were supposed to be that a player would need to negative-tests in a row, though that may have been changed in the last few days. Who knows what the protocols are, or what the NFL is doing about them, as the NFL allegedly broke their own rules in handling this whole thing.
So it really doesn’t matter what the new rules are, because there’s no guarantee the NFL is going to follow them. They were actually trying to get guys who were positive to get through testing and play.
So clearly the NFL is just lost. So despite the fact that the NFL would rather burn down the entire concept of competitive integrity than do the right thing, it’s still possible that the delay doesn’t help the Browns much, if at all.
The Browns may still be short-handed even with the delay
Allowing the Browns a chance to get their asymptomatic players back before the Raiders game was the right call. Yet, there’s no real way to know if guys like Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry are going to be cleared in time for Tuesday. Guys who tested later in the week, like Case Keenum and Jadeveon Clowney are safe bets to assume won’t be playing.
The one group of players the team can’t afford to not have, however, is the secondary. As the Raiders live and breathe with the passing game, and Derrek Carr’s connection with Hunter Renfrow is their primary form of offense, the Browns can’t afford to have their defensive as depleted as it is.
The Browns have since brought back former linebacker Willie Harvey, signed former Seahawks rookie Bryan Mills and brought up Porter Gustin from the practice squad to help with the depth issues.
Of all the guys, it looks like Clowney is absolutely out. He’s also experiencing minor symptoms, so he may take longer to convalesce.
If the Browns can keep Myles Garrett in a bubble, and get most, if not all, of their defensive backs to return, Cleveland may just have a shot.