News

Need to Know: Hue Jackson ‘fairly confident’ Browns secondary will be at full strength vs. Lions

Posted Nov 9, 2017

Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Jabrill Peppers and Jason McCourty all battling back from injuries

The Browns secondary is expected to be at full strength against one of the NFL’s most potent passing attacks.

Browns coach Hue Jackson said he was “fairly confident” cornerbacks Briean Boddy-Calhoun (hamstring) and Jason McCourty (toe) and safety Jabrill Peppers (toe) would be available for Sunday’s game at Detroit. It’d be a big boost for a Cleveland secondary that will be tasked with stopping the Matthew Stafford-led passing attack.

All three of the players have been limited in practice this week.

“All three of these guys have a good chance to play, so I feel good about them,” Jackson said Thursday. “I mean, they practiced. I understand what limited is, but they were out there practicing, participating. There were probably some things they didn’t do everything, but they did enough that I feel like these guys are going to be ready to go come Sunday.”

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the group is Boddy-Calhoun, who injured his hamstring late in the action of Cleveland’s loss to Minnesota before the bye week. At the time, Jackson said he expected Boddy-Calhoun to miss some extended time, but the second-year, do-it-all defensive back has recovered quickly.

“Some guys heal a little bit faster than others. Normally when you hurt a hamstring like that it takes a little while. Some guys, they get back, so I think he is going to be fine. I mean, I have seen him out there running around making plays, so he is going to be fine.”

McCourty and Peppers have missed the past two games with their respective injuries. Peppers’ return comes at a key time, as his replacement, Ibraheim Campbell, was waived with an injury designation Thursday after suffering an injury at Wednesday’s practice.

Mike Jordan took most of the snaps in place of McCourty and held his own.

“It was fun to watch, especially as an older guy when you see young guys get an opportunity,” McCourty said. “That’s always fun to watch because you never know until you’re called upon how you’re going to play and how you’re going to react. He’s done a really good job of knowing what he’s doing.”

After a slow start, Detroit’s Marvin Jones Jr. has been one of the NFL’s best receivers over the past four weeks. He hauled in two acrobatic touchdown catches Monday against the Packers and has 25 catches for 385 yards in the past four games.

Fellow wide receiver Golden Tate is tied for sixth in the league with 50 receptions.

“(Jones) is a tremendous football player,” Jackson said. “He brings a lot to their offensive football team because of his ability to make acrobatic catches and stretch the field. There is not a route that he can’t run and there is not a catch that he can’t make so we have our hands full with him. Him and that young man Tate, those guys are really good players. We have to make sure that we slow them down.”

-- Jackson said a combination of factors led to the team opting to keep rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez in his spot heading into the second half of the season.

“There probably wasn’t anybody out there that we felt really good about, and then No. 2, again, we felt comfortable that this guy can work through where the issues are if (special teams coordinator Chris Tabor) spent more time with him,” Jackson said. “That is all Coach Tabor has been doing. I know we are opening ourselves up to this yo-yoing of going up and down, and hopefully, the guy can kick consistently and stay that way for the rest of the year, but he has a job to do.”

Gonzalez missed an extra point and a short field goal in Cleveland’s Week 8 loss to the Vikings. The seventh-round pick has missed four of his 11 field goal attempts on the season.

“I think he knows what the expectation is,” Jackson said. “I give him that stare and that look, but he understands that he needs to get better and he needs to do better. That is what we expect from him.”

Recent Headlines