The Browns' transaction wire has been at its busiest all season in the last week, and the team is expecting the daily moves to continue all the way up until the final hours of Saturday's Christmas Day kickoff in Green Bay.
Cleveland is embracing the obstacles of the roster fluidity that have arisen as a result of numerous positive COVID-19 tests from the last two weeks. Fortunately, many of the moves this week have been geared toward bringing players back from the reserve/COVID-19 list — TE Austin Hooper, S Grant Delpit, LB Jacob Phillips and James Hudson III have been among them — and more are set to be activated before Saturday as the 10-day timeline for players who tested positive last week expires.
Others could be activated, too, before Saturday. Head coach Kevin Stefanski said he hopes all players activated from the list in time will be able to play, but it's no certainty, and the Browns are truly preparing for all scenarios.
"We're going to work through it," Stefanski said. "Moving parts, but that's the name of the game."
Stefanski said he is certain that WR Jarvis Landry and T Jedrick Wills Jr. will both be able to be activated Friday as their 10-day period expires. QB Baker Mayfield, DT Malik McDowell and DE Ifeadi Odenigbo will be eligible to be activated Saturday if they aren't already activated Friday, and Stefanski said the Browns have transportation options ready to get them to Green Bay in time for the game if they're not able to be activated before the team plane departs from Cleveland.
That timeline means there's a good chance the Browns will have Mayfield back under center for the 4:30 p.m. kickoff.
"We will see if he tests out and is available to be with us tomorrow," Stefanski said. "If not, we will take it to Saturday. If he is as healthy as he's been and he's cleared and ready to go, then I anticipate him playing."
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Other key players on the list include C JC Tretter — who was added to the list Thursday — DE Jadeveon Clowney, S Ronnie Harrison Jr., QB Case Keenum and LBs Mack Wilson and Tony Fields II, among others. Those players will only have a chance to play Saturday if they're able to test out of the protocols because their 10-day period won't expire before the game. RB Kareem Hunt (ankle) and CB Greg Newsome II (concussion) are on the list, too, but have already been deemed unlikely to play by Stefanski due to their injuries.
All of the possible moving pieces present a variety of preparational challenges for the Browns, but it's nothing they're not prepared for. The Browns endured the same obstacles last week against the Raiders and still nearly won, and several coaches and players pointed toward the COVID-19 challenges that arose at the end of last season as another experience that ultimately helped them learn how to stay ready.
None of it is enjoyable. But the Browns aren't expecting anything to come easy for them as they continue their playoff hunt in the final three regular season games.
"We're all fighting," WR Donovan Peoples-Jones said. "We're all in there every day preparing. We're all trying to do everything we can individually. Coaches are trying to do everything that they can do. We're just excited for this game."