The Browns will be without one of their best defensive players when they travel to Indianapolis.
Linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. is out for Sunday's game against the Colts with a concussion, head coach Hue Jackson said Friday.
"We're losing one of our better players, one of our good players on this team," Jackson said. "We've got to step up and put some guys out there."
One of those players will be backup linebacker James Burgess Jr., who made two tackles and a sack in last week's loss to Baltimore. "He'll go make plays," Jackson said. "He knows how to play within our system and we trust him."
"I've made a career out of players like Burgess," defensive coordinator Gregg Williams added. "He has instincts and he's tough. And when I say instincts, he understands where the ball is going before it goes there and train-wrecks it. I'll live with that."
— Jackson said a victory against the Colts "would boost everybody's morale" following an 0-2 start to the season. "We need a win," he said. "Our guys have worked extremely hard and that's something I talk to them about. Obviously, we've played two of the better teams in our division and we get it, we're not there yet. But that's where we want to be."
— While Myles Garrett has made "huge progress" since suffering a high ankle sprain days before the season opener, it's doubtful the rookie defensive end and No. 1 overall pick will play Sunday. "I think we'll be cautious with him," Jackson said. "I think we'll make the best decision with him once we know more, see more and go from there." Wide receiver Sammie Coates is also listed as doubtful with a hamstring injury. Coates joined the Browns via trade with the Steelers.
— Much like Jackson, run game coordinator/running backs coach Kirby Wilson didn't take issue with Isaiah Crowell's comments that he wants more carries. "I thought it was great because that's what all of them think," he said. "I was happy for him to say what's on his heart and we support it. We think as a coaching staff he brings a lot to the table and to our team .. we had a big smile on our face."
— The Browns will have to remain cognizant of rookie safety Malik Hooker's whereabouts Sunday. Jackson praised the former Ohio State star and first-round pick, but stressed "the guy we have back there is a ball hawk, too," in reference to Jabrill Peppers. Hooker recorded his first NFL interception last weekend against the Cardinals. He totaled seven in only one year as a starter with the Buckeyes in 2016.
— Jackson said Kevin Hogan will remain the team's backup quarterback. Hogan passed for 118 yards, a touchdown and an interception last week in place of DeShone Kizer, who missed roughly a quarter with a migraine.
— Peppers stressed patience after the Ravens neutralized him as a kick/punt returner last week. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said that approach speaks volumes about the rookie safety. "I think good players recognize when they have to take chances and when they don't have to take chances," he said.
To illustrate that point, Tabor pointed to Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker's 58-yard field goal attempt before halftime (he missed it wide right). Tabor said, "Jabrill immediately thought, 'Should I go back as returner?' because that's a situation where you do those things.
"For a young player, he's being respected and I think he understands that and is smart," he continued. "I don't see that guy hitting the panic button … he lets things come naturally to him."