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Browns dealing with injuries beyond QB, looking within to fill key spots

There are specific answers and there are possibilities that lie ahead for the Browns as they deal with a rash of injuries from Sunday's loss to the Ravens.

The same philosophy, though, applies to all of the starting positions that need to be filled, whether it be quarterback, center, defensive end or safety.

"It is the next man up mentality for our football team," Browns coach Hue Jackson said Monday. "We are not going to all of the sudden change it. I think we all know we are not going to go out and find a whole bunch of new players and put them on our team, whether it is offensively or defensively. I think our answers are in our building. These are the guys that have been with us the whole time."

While the Browns' situation at quarterback, where rookie Cody Kessler appears poised to fill in for veteran Josh McCown (shoulder/clavicle) dominated Monday's headlines, the team is also dealing with significant injuries to center Cameron Erving (pulmonary contusion) and defensive lineman Carl Nassib (hand). Both will be sidelined Sunday against the Dolphins and each will be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

At center, the answer is clear cut during Erving's absence. Veteran right guard John Greco, who filled the void during Sunday's final four snaps, will continue to play at center during Erving's absence and Alvin Bailey will take over at right guard. Bailey, who was signed in the offseason after three seasons with the Seahawks, has eight career starts, including two in the postseason.

Greco last started a game at center in 2014 but has regularly worked at the position at practice to stay fresh. The Browns may add a backup center to the 53-man roster in the coming days.

"I feel good about that combination," Jackson said. "Greco has done it in games before so I think we will manage that part pretty well."

It's unclear when Nassib injured his hand against the Ravens, but it will ultimately keep him off the field Sunday in Miami. The promising rookie who was recently elevated into the starting lineup played through the pain and logged 34 snaps in the loss.

Jackson said Nassib eventually will be able to play with a cast on his hand but the Browns will have to fill his void in the meantime. Jackson mentioned Gabe Wright, who was promoted from the practice squad last week, as a player who could see an increased role in the near future. Tyrone Holmes, who was claimed off waivers shortly before the start of the season, saw his first action with the Browns on Sunday and was disruptive during his 10 snaps.

"That rotation over there probably changes a little bit – some guys that have been playing a little less will be playing a little more – but I don't think it is going to be anybody [outside of this building]," Jackson said. "I just don't want anybody thinking it is going to be anybody we are going to go get off the street to put on our football team to take over that side of the ball."

Safety Ibraheim Campbell played just 20 snaps Sunday and is dealing with a hamstring injury, Jackson said. Rookie Derrick Kindred, who had already been splitting time with Campbell and Jordan Poyer at safety, filled in and played 62 of 75 defensive snaps. Kindred had five tackles and two passes defensed.

At a team meeting Monday, Jackson implored the players not to get dragged down by the injuries because he sure isn't.

"This is pro football and these things happen, maybe not to this degree any place I have been, but I have been toughened before," Jackson said. "I have been in the abyss – whatever they say, the bad abyss before – I've been there. We are not getting drug under, I promise you that. We are going to keep fighting and that is what I told the guys. We are not going to get caught up in this."

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