The Browns were without starting defensive tackles Larry Ogunjobi (abdomen) and Sheldon Richardson (thigh) at Wednesday's practice. It's too early to tell what it means for Sunday's game against the Colts, but coach Kevin Stefanski indicated one of their backup's roles was already growing.
The player? Third-round rookie Jordan Elliott, who has seen a steady dose of action in each of the first four games to kick off his NFL career.
"He has done a nice job and we need him to continue to progress," Stefanski said. "His role will expand. But he is very, very diligent about this. He wants to be great. He works really hard out at practice. So, he just needs to keep progressing."
With Ogunjobi sidelined for most of Sunday's second half, Elliott saw an uptick in his playing time and finished the game with 31 snaps. Though he has just three tackles on the year, Elliott has been among Pro Football Focus' highest-graded rookie defensive tackles.
Elliott's teammates have been impressed with how he's acclimated himself to the NFL game. In August, Ogunjobi raved about Elliott's attitude and desire to be great. Earlier in the season, Richardson said Elliott "knew his stuff."
"The only thing is he just needs more experience, and he is getting that slowly but surely. He is going to be just fine. He is going to be just fine in this league," Richardson said. "He is always ready. He is always alert. Usually one of the first ones in the meeting rooms and last one to leave – usually, because he has to because he is a rookie. He is going to be all right. He is going to be fine."
As for Ogunjobi and Richardson, Stefanski said their playing status will be monitored as the week progresses.
"See how those guys are starting really tomorrow," Stefanski said. "We will not have them out there today, and we will just kind of take it day by day."
Check out the best photos from the Browns win over the Dallas Cowboys yesterday by the Browns photo team
Other Injury News
Njoku on Wednesday was designated to return from injured reserve. The team has three weeks to activate him, but Njoku isn't expecting to wait that long.
"It feels really good. My body is really healed now," Njoku said. "So, I am ready to go."
Along with Richardson and Ogunjobi, LB Tae Davis (elbow) did not practice.
RB Kareem Hunt (groin) was a limited participant after missing Wednesday's and Thursday's practices last week. Despite the lack of reps throughout the week, Hunt was thrust into a bigger role Sunday after Nick Chubb was lost to a knee injury.
"I am willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win," Hunt said. "If that means getting more carries, then I am fine with that, too."
Though he finished the 2019 season as the Browns' starter at right guard, Wyatt Teller wasn't offended in the slightest when new offensive line coach Bill Callahan opened up the job to competition.
Teller, of course, won the job and has thrived in his first four games of the 2020 season. It didn't require any additional motivation to get him to this point because he pretty much maxed it out on his own.
"I knew that I could play, but I did not expect to be handed a job and I did not expect to be handed anything," Teller said. "I knew that I was going to work. I have been working the past three years that I have been in the league. I knew that it would be beneficial for the whole team to have a competition and not a 'He is our guy. An unproven guy, he is our guy.'
"I kind of understood that I knew that I had to take lots of steps, but in my mind, it was mine, it was my job, I wanted it and I was going to do whatever it took to get it."