Browns will face Broncos backup QB Brandon Allen in Denver - News & Notes

For the second time this season, the Browns will face a team's backup quarterback on the road.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio announced veteran Joe Flacco would be unable to play Sunday against the Browns because of a neck injury. Brandon Allen, a fourth-year journeyman, will make his NFL debut when he starts in Flacco's place.

"He'll definitely miss this week," Fangio said. "Then we'll re-evaluate after the bye."

Fangio said the team would decide during the week whether to make rookie Drew Lock, who is currently on injured reserve, or practice squad quarterback Brett Rypien the backup.

Earlier this season, the Browns beat the Jets, who were without starter Sam Darnold and forced to play their second- and third-string options.

Allen, who starred at Arkansas, was a sixth-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2016 draft. He was with the Rams from 2017-19 until he signed with the Broncos shortly before the start of the regular season.

Check out the best photos from the Cleveland Browns game against the New England Patriots yesterday by team photographer Matt Starkey

-- Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said he liked the effort from Justin McCray, who started Sunday in place of Greg Robinson at left tackle. It was the first time McCray, a veteran lineman who has primarily played at guard during his professional career, played left tackle in a game during his NFL career.

"I thought he fought," Kitchens said. "I did not think he did too bad for his first start and away. He gave up a sack, the guy actually slipped and fell and kind of caught his knee, a weird deal. But I thought he fought and was good in the run game. He fought in protection. So I thought he was OK."

Kitchens wouldn't commit to McCray making a second start against the Broncos. The Browns also gave Wyatt Teller a handful of snaps at right guard behind starter Eric Kush as the team continues to look for the right mix up front.

"Everything is being evaluated," Kitchens said. "At some point, we got to start building some depth up there and see where we are at."

-- Kitchens said the Browns came away from Sunday's game relatively free of injuries. Asked specifically about quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Jarvis Landry -- both of whom took hard hits during the second half -- Kitchens said both of the players "will be fine."

Safety Damarious Randall (hamstring) remains a player to monitor after missing Sunday's game.

-- Kitchens acknowledged that hindsight is 20-20, but he didn't fault Mayfield for throwing the shovel pass that was ultimately intercepted by Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy in Sunday's first quarter.

Guy burst through the line and barged himself right into the play, which was designed to get the ball in the hands of a motioning Landry.

"It is a 4-yard, 3-yard little shovel. We have run it several times, we just did not execute what we were supposed to do up front," Kitchens said.

"I mean you would like to second guess everything. You would say, 'Yeah, hold onto that', but that does not happen. I have never seen that happen. We have to execute up front with that."

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