Jadeveon Clowney might not practice this week, but he's not ruling himself out just yet for Sunday against the Chargers.
The three-time Pro Bowl edge rusher has been nursing an ankle injury suffered in Week 2 and has missed the Browns' last two games. He didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday, but he still believes he'll be ready for Sunday if he's pain-free.
"Just take it one day at a time right now," Clowney said. "I miss playing, and I'm ready to be back."
When asked if he'd be able to play despite not practicing for the last three weeks, Clowney said "I've done it before — a few times. I should be all right."
The Browns could certainly use Clowney, who has 1.5 sacks and two pass breakups this season, on the edge against the explosive Chargers pass game, led by the NFL's leading thrower in Justin Herbert. The third-year QB is atop the league's passing leaderboard with 1,250 yards, and no team in the NFL has averaged more yards per game via the pass than Los Angeles with 307.3 yards.
"He's one of the best quarterbacks in our league, and of course you want to go out there and help your team win," Clowney said. "We need this win. We need all these wins."
Check out photos of players and coaches working to prepare for the teams regular season game against the Los Angeles Chargers
Cleveland could possibly have both Clowney and its other Pro Bowl edge rusher, Myles Garrett, for the game. Garrett returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since he suffered injuries in a car accident on Sept. 26 and has made progress in his recovery.
Clowney was relieved to see Garrett healthy and able to return to the team so soon.
"I told him that if something had happened to him, I don't know how it would've went in this locker room or with this team and whether we'd still be playing or not," Clowney said. "He's a big part of this team and a great guy to have around. Very good friend in the locker room. It's got nothing to do with football. He's just a good dude. I was praying for him, and I'm glad he's back."
When asked if Garrett could play Sunday, defensive coordinator Joe Woods said "I think so."
For Clowney, the Browns are also taking a day-to-day approach.
"We'll see what happens," Woods said. "He's moving around a little bit. I hope he makes it, but we'll see."
Clowney believes his return will happen sooner rather than later.
"I should be back well very soon and back to my old tricks," he said.
Cooper fine with involvement
Amari Cooper had no qualms about how many passes were thrown his way in last Sunday's loss to the Falcons.
Cooper was targeted four times and caught one of them for nine yards in the game, a low output after he topped 100 receiving yards in Weeks 2 and 3. Cooper knows he'll have plenty of other opportunities to reach that total in the future, and it was simply the flow of the game — and a credit to the Falcons' defense — that led to the ball going elsewhere.
"Some games, you might not have any catches, and others, you'll have 10 catches," he said. "It's just the ebb and flow of the game. I just want to help the team win in any way. Sometimes, the ball doesn't always come your way."
Praise for Wills
One player who has certainly shown a noticeable progression early this year has been LT Jedrick Wills Jr., the 10th overall pick in 2020.
Wills leads all offensive tackles in the league with a pass block win rate of 97 percent, per ESPN, and has allowed two sacks in 285 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Wills, however, faces a stiff challenge this week in his matchup against Chargers edge rusher Khalil Mack, a six-time Pro Bowler who has five sacks this season.
"(Wills) is playing really well," guard Joel Bitonio said. "I think the last game was one of his better games here in Cleveland. Just really on top of his assignments and getting his job done. A huge test this week with Khalil Mack. That's going to be a big step up for him in competition … I think (Wills) has had a whole offseason to focus and know what he needs to improve on, and he's healthy."