Kevin Stefanski brought some much-needed good news on the injury front to his Monday video conference with local reporters.
RB Kareem Hunt and T Jack Conklin are expected to return to practice this week as the Browns prepare for a primetime AFC North showdown with the Ravens. Both players have been on the reserve/injured list and have missed the requisite number of games to be potentially eligible for Cleveland's Week 12 matchup in Baltimore.
Stefanski said he's hopeful one or both players will be available for the next big game on Cleveland's schedule.
"I do not know if I have a number for you, but yeah, I am hopeful," Stefanski said. "I think they are both progressing well."
Hunt has been sidelined since he suffered a calf injury in the fourth quarter of Cleveland's Week 6 loss to the Cardinals. He was playing at an extremely high level before the injury and is still among the team leaders with 20 receptions for 161 yards despite missing the past five games. He also amassed 361 rushing yards and five touchdowns while splitting carries with Nick Chubb, giving the Browns' one of the NFL's best one-two punches out of the backfield.
Conklin has been sidelined for the past three games with an elbow injury he suffered in the Browns' Week 8 loss to the Steelers. The All-Pro right tackle also missed time earlier in the season with a knee injury. During his absence, Blake Hance, who is typically a guard, has filled his spot.
Check out photos of the Browns against the Lions in Week 11
Other Injury News
Stefanski said WR Jarvis Landry (knee) and LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ankle) should both be able to continue to play through their injuries.
During Sunday's second half, both Landry and Owusu-Koramoah appeared to re-aggravate injuries that have dogged them in the past. Landry missed four games earlier in the season with a knee injury and has since battled through it. Owusu-Koramoah recently missed three games with an injury to his right ankle before returning to action Week 10 against the Patriots.
Rush D Under Spotlight
The Browns have been among the best teams in the NFL at stopping the run, but the past two weeks have not helped their average.
One week after allowing a season-worst 184 rushing yards to the Patriots, Cleveland surrendered 168 to the Lions. Detroit leaned heavily on second-year RB D'Andre Swift, who rushed for a career-high 136 yards — a good chunk of that yardage coming on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Browns now rank seventh in the NFL with an average of 101.4 rushing yards allowed per game. They'll need one of their best performances in this department over the next two games against the Ravens, who boast the NFL's No. 3 rushing attack (151 yards per game).
"We gave up too many rush yards in that second half, and it is just a matter of fits and tackling," Stefanski said. "Sometimes it is tackling. Sometimes it is tracking to the tackle. We just did not do a great job, and that team runs a physical run game. We saw it the week before where they ripped off some runs. If you do not tackle well versus players like Swift, they have a chance to go the distance so we have to clean that up."