While the injury to Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson understandably grabbed headlines this week, the Browns also have a heck of an injury situation at offensive tackle. In Week One, the team lost starting right tackle Jack Conklin for the season due to a knee injury. And just weeks ago, they lost LT Jedrick Wills for weeks due to a knee injury, though he’s expected back late in the season.
Shortly after that, mammoth rookie OT Dawand Jones, replacing Conklin on the right side, also suffered a knee injury. After missing the team’s Week 10 win over the Baltimore Ravens and landing as questionable on the Browns’ final injury report for tomorrow’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jones is reportedly expected to play. That’s according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz, who tweeted out the news late Saturday night.
Jones told reporters earlier in the week he anticipated on playing. But limited throughout the week, his status wasn’t clear. But it seems like he’ll have the green light to at least start this game. It’s a boost to a battered Browns’ tackle position.
The team is expected to start Geron Christian at left tackle, signed to the Browns’ practice squad on Halloween. He started in last week’s win. Though he allowed a sack, his overall performance was praised and he should get the nod over James Hudson, who will serve in a swing tackle role.
A fourth-round rookie out of Ohio State, Jones was one of the largest prospects in this year’s draft. Standing in at 6082, 374 pounds at the NFL Combine, he had the talent and pedigree of a Top 50 pick. But questions over his weight and maturity caused him to fall into Day Three. His NFL career has gotten off to a solid start, losing weight and playing well following Conklin’s injury. Jones will have a rematch against T.J. Watt Sunday. In their Week Two battles, Jones’ first career start, Watt finished with one sack, one pass deflection, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown after Alex Highsmith beat Wills around the opposite side.
The Steelers and Browns kickoff Sunday at 1 PM/EST.