Another day, another injured Browns receiver.
This time, it’s second-year Anthony Schwartz, who went down with a non-contact knee injury Tuesday.
It’s unclear how concerned fans should be about Schwartz’s injury and how much time he might miss.
But it highlights a recurring theme so far this summer: receivers simply haven’t been available.
Jared Mueller of Browns Wire summed up the Browns’ receiving situation aptly:
“On day two of training camp, Anthony Schwartz went down with a non-contact injury to his knee. While the extent of the injury is unknown at this time, losing Schwartz would shine a spotlight on the depth concerns at the position.
If the season started today (thankfully it doesn’t), [Amari] Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones would take their expected places as the team’s top receivers. [Jakeem] Grant, primarily a return who has only caught 100 passes in his seven-year career, would get the nod as the slot receiver.”
Not only would Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones be the starters, but they’d also be two of the only options.
That’s because not only is Schwartz out but so are rookie David Bell and rotation player Javon Wims.
#Browns key players continue to reiterate how much better the vibe is in the locker room already this year…
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) July 28, 2022
Bell’s injury isn’t considered severe by the team and he should be back soon enough.
The rookie out of Purdue was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list ahead of camp as a result of a failed physical.
Evidently, Bell suffered a minor foot injury, so as soon as he is healthy and recovered on that front, he’ll be back on the field for the Browns.
Timing Is Everything
While a player (or players) missing time is always a setback, that’s especially true for this Browns receiving corps.
First, the Browns need reps with their quarterbacks and receivers.
Both positions feature new names and faces, including Deshaun Watson and Jacoby Brissett under center, and Cooper and Bell at receiver.
Building a rapport between new teammates is crucial.
In a room full of new faces and new teammates, there is no substitute for on-field chemistry.
And any missed time means missed reps means missed opportunities to build that chemistry.
Second, Bell is missing time adjusting to the playbook and NFL timing.
He excelled in college, no question.
Not me, but a diehard buddy of mine ran into @Flash_Garrett today. What made it even better is hearing how great/nice he was to him & his little girl. Kudos to you, Myles! Go #Browns! pic.twitter.com/DyPP65TwkC
— CLE_Dave (@CLE_Dave) July 25, 2022
But he needs reps to figure out how to best adjust his game for the pros.
Ditto for Schwartz, who is looking for a breakout season after missing time last year with injuries.
He struggled through training last year with a hamstring injury and missed three games with a concussion.
And while it’s far too early to label Schwartz an injury magnet, he needs to find ways to spend more time on the field than on the medical bench.
Perhaps it’s nothing and Schwartz will be back in no time.
But Schwartz entered this season with hopes of breaking through.
And any time away from the field cuts into that promise and potential.
If the receivers don’t take the field soon, expect the Browns to scour the free agent market.
Julio Jones is no longer available, having signed with the Buccaneers, but Emmanuel Sanders could be a quick fix.
And even more important, he might just be a body that the Browns can put on the field.
Because at present, they’re running out of options.
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