Even after the loss of two starters last week, the Browns defense could be in better shape than it was by the end of last week’s loss to the Chiefs.
Linebacker Joe Schobert, cornerback Denzel Ward and safety Damarious Randall are all listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Falcons. Schobert has missed the previous three games with a hamstring injury, Randall (groin) was inactive against the Chiefs and Ward missed all but the first series after suffering a hip injury.
Center JC Tretter was listed as questionable for the fourth straight week. He was a limited participant in Friday’s practice after sitting out Wednesday’s and Thursday’s with a high ankle sprain that has dogged him since Week 6. He has yet to miss a game because of the injury.
Offensive lineman Desmond Harrison (illness) and tight end David Njoku (knee, ribs) are also considered questionable.
Schobert’s potential return comes at an ideal time.
Veteran and captain Christian Kirksey, who had been filling Schobert’s spot at middle linebacker, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, effectively ending his season. Cornerback E.J. Gaines, a starter since Terrance Mitchell was lost to a broken wrist, also landed on injured reserve.
Ward and Randall, if they’re available, will be two of Cleveland’s biggest components in a secondary that will be tasked with slowing down Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the rest of Atlanta’s high-powered passing attack.