The Browns certainly missed their top two Pro Bowl edge rushers Sunday against the Falcons.
Cleveland generated only one sack as they worked without edge rushers Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, which was the second straight week they've recorded just one tally in the sack column. The Browns have eight sacks this season, and 4.5 of them have come from Garrett and Clowney, who were each absent Sunday for the first time since Clowney joined Garrett on the D-line in 2021.
Clowney missed his second straight game due to an ankle injury, while Garrett missed the game due to shoulder and bicep injuries sustained in a car accident Sept. 26.
The Browns are hoping both of them will be back soon, but head coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday that the team will wait until later this week on any further updates for their status for Sunday's game against the Chargers.
"I think we need to get to Wednesday, kind of take in information as we go and see how those guys feel and see how they look," Stefanski said. "Until we get to Wednesday, I think it's probably premature."
Stefanski added that Garrett has made progress in his recovery. Garrett rejoined the team Thursday but did not practice last week. He's one sack away from moving ahead of Clay Matthews (62) to the top of the Browns' all-time career sack list.
"I know he's feeling better, so we'll see where we are come Wednesday," he said.
In addition to Garrett and Clowney, starting DT Taven Bryan was also out Sunday due to a hamstring injury. DT Jordan Elliott was the lone starter on the defensive line and was the recipient of the defense's lone sack, which was the first solo sack of his three-year career.
Stefanski said Garrett and Clowney's absences didn't alter the faith the coaching staff had for the defense.
"You want your players out there and all of those types of things, but we have a ton of confidence in the guys who were playing yesterday," he said.
Check out photos of the Browns against the Falcons in Week 4
Browns D owns up to struggles against the run
Perhaps no stretch of the disappointing loss Sunday to the Falcons was harder to watch than when Atlanta used 10 straight run plays to orchestrate a 75-yard touchdown drive.
The drive was a rough and fatiguing sequence for the defense, which had allowed 83.6 yards per game before the game. The Falcons, however, ran through them for 202 yards, nearly half of which was picked up on the non-stop rushing drive that gave the Falcons a 17-13 lead in the fourth quarter.
"They committed to the run there on that drive and in the second half," Stefanski said. "It's never one thing. We played hard. There were times that we executed really well, and there were times that if it is one guy here or there. Certainly, we want to put the guys in position to go make plays, but in those moments, you have to find a way to get them off the field. A lot of times, that can be pursuit related. That can be making sure that we are assignment sound and all of those things, but you have to find a way to get them off the field."
First Berry draft pick waived
The Browns on Monday waived S Richard LeCounte III, marking the first time the Browns have cut one of the 22 players Executive VP of Football Operations and GM Andrew Berry has drafted since he became GM in 2020.
LeCounte was waived because the Browns claimed G Drew Forbes, a 2019 sixth-round pick by the Browns whom they cut before the season. Forbes was then claimed by the Lions and spent the first three weeks of the season with them but was waived Saturday.