Rookie receiver Willies breaks collarbone
Derrick Willies suffered a broken collarbone as the Browns were winding up their preparation for the Chargers.
“We still have (Damion) Ratley. There’s Duke (Johnson). There are all kinds of ways, if that’s the case. ” – Coach Hue Jackson
Derrick Willies suffered a broken collarbone in practice Oct. 12 as the Browns were winding up their preparation for the Los Angeles Chargers and might miss the rest of the season.
The rookie wide receiver came off the bench last week to make three catches against the Ravens after Rashard Higgins suffered a knee injury. The Browns were already thin at wide receiver because of the Higgins injury. Higgins is listed as week-to-week with a sprained MCL and will not play against the high-scoring Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 14 at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“He came down on it a little funny, so we’ll see where we are,” Coach Hue Jackson said before Willies was diagnosed with a broken collarbone.
Ironically, Willies was injured on his 24th birthday.
The Browns declined to add a veteran wide receiver after Higgins was injured. Willies figured to be a major part of the game plan against the Chargers, but Jackson is ready to look elsewhere on the current roster without reaching out to a veteran this late in the week.
“We still have (Damion) Ratley,” Jackson said. “There’s Duke (Johnson). There are all kinds of ways, if that’s the case. Let’s just see where we are.”
Ratley, a rookie sixthround draft choice, played
one snap in the first five games.
Johnson, the fourth-year running back who last year led the Browns with 74 catches, has touched the ball only 27 times in five games. He would welcome the chance to step in for Higgins and Willies.
Rod Streater, signed as a free agent by the Browns on Sept. 17, is in his sixth season. He is looking for his first catch with his new team, but he has 127 career catches – 60 with the Oakland Raiders in 2013.
“I’ve been in this situation before,” Streater said on Oct. 12 in the locker room. “I was with the Chiefs (in 2016) and then in Week One was traded to the Niners
and had to go out there and play on Monday night, so I’m used to it. It was no different when I got here. I had to learn the plays. I had to learn special teams and go out and make plays, so it’s pretty similar.”
Ratley is looking forward to his opportunity. He boasted to Streater that he’s the fastest player on the team, which does not equate to being a successful receiver.
“I’m going to try to and bring the best of my abilities in everything I can do, catching and running, doing everything I can to help the team where (Willies) was going to help the team,” Ratley said. “Next man up, that’s what it is.
“It’s a little difficult. We’ve got to move around, do certain things and learn new stuff, but it’s part of the NFL. Have to go home, study, get up, study, study all day tomorrow and be ready for the game on Sunday.”
The Willies injury is going to allow the Chargers to concentrate even harder on Browns top receiver Jarvis Landry. Landry leads the Browns with 29 catches.
The Browns could elevate wide receiver D’Mari Scott from the practice squad if they decide to put Willies on injured reserve. They would have to clear another spot for Scott if they keep Willies on the 53-man roster.