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News & Notes: Jedrick Wills Jr. 'no worse for the wear' after gutting through ankle injury

The Browns are sorting through plans following injuries suffered in Week 2 and lingering injuries from Week 1

Head coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday that three players recovering from injuries following the Browns' Week 2 win over the Texans are considered to be "week to week."

WR Jarvis Landry, who went down on the second play from scrimmage with a knee injury, was one of them — more information on Landry can be found here.

LB Sione Takitaki, who suffered a hamstring injury after playing 16 snaps on defense, will also be monitored on a week-to-week basis. OL Chris Hubbard, who didn't play Sunday after he injured his triceps in Week 1, is on the same timetable. 

Over a dozen injury timeouts were needed between the Texans and Browns on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

"Injuries, nobody likes them. They're awful," Stefanski said. "You never want to see that, but it's part of our game. It's a very physical game. Guys have to step up. That's the nature of this thing. I thought guys stepped up."

OL Jedrick Wills Jr. played 70 percent of the offensive snaps before he was relieved by Blake Hance. Wills was listed as questionable due to an ankle injury suffered in Week 1 and attempted to play as long as he could, which was the Browns' plan after Wills tested the ankle in pregame and felt comfortable enough to compete.

"He's no worse for the wear," Stefanski said. "I'm really proud of him for how he wanted to go out there and competed. It got stiff, and I thought it was the right thing to do to take him out. It was a big deal, and I think his teammates realize it was a big deal, when you fight to make it to Sunday."

Quarterback Baker Mayfield injured his non-throwing shoulder after making a tackle following his lone interception. After briefly getting it checked out in the locker room, he returned to the game without missing a snap — and didn't miss a pass the remainder of the game.

Stefanski said Mayfield is doing well.

"Our training staff has talked to him," he said. "He's sore, but he's doing fine."

Stefanski didn't rule any of the aforementioned players out for Sunday's game against the Bears. He also said he has not made a decision on WR Odell Beckham Jr., who was questionable in Week 1 and ruled out early in Week 2 as he continues to recover from a season-ending knee injury in 2020.

"I'll just hold off on any of those types of decisions," Stefanski said. "I'll just tell you that we're working through all those things."

Check out photos of the Browns against the Texans in week two

Teaching moment for Newsome

Greg Newsome II has been lauded by Browns coaches throughout his first several months in Cleveland for how quickly he's acclimated to NFL speed. 

But there's still plenty of teaching moments ahead for the first-round rookie cornerback. One of them occurred Sunday when Newsome was flagged for defensive passing interference on a deep ball to Brandin Cooks.

Newsome forced an incompletion and put his hands up but failed to turn his body around to the football. The flag was thrown, and the Texans gained 27 yards.

"You're going to see examples of these rookies growing throughout the season," Stefanski said. "That's a tough play. He's in great position, but you just have to wait for the receiver's hands to go up, and that's when your hands go up.

"He was in good position, and that's a good place to start. We'll try and teach off the tape when it comes to that."

Third-down improvements

As the Browns defense continues to grow in experience and mesh new pieces together, they've highlighted one major area in need of improvement that was evident Sunday: third downs.

The Browns allowed eight of them on 14 opportunities, a number too high considering the amount of veterans and proven playmakers capable of making big stops. Stefanski said it didn't help how many times the Texans only needed a few yards to make a conversion, and much of the emphasis on improving third downs will require better execution on first and second down, too.

"It's always a combination of things," Stefanski said. "It's never just one thing. Third down is a really important down. It's important that we get the offense into some non-advantageous third-down distances, and then we force them to punt."

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