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News & Notes: More players ruled out vs. Jaguars

Cleveland is dealing with absences and injuries at a number of positions

Myles Garrett won't be the only player from the reserve/COVID-19 list sidelined for Sunday's game against the Jaguars.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski on Wednesday ruled out FB Andy Janovich, who missed last week's game against the Eagles, and DE Joe Jackson, who was placed on the reserve list Tuesday. The announcement came two days after Stefanski said Garrett would miss his second straight game because he wouldn't be off the list in time.

LB Sione Takitaki was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday after Stefanski met with reporters. He won't play Sunday.

T Chris Hubbard, who has missed the past two games while spending time on the reserve/COVID-19 list, "has a chance" to return in time, Stefanski said.

Asked if the recent surge in COVID-19 cases is wearing on the team, Stefanski said it was not.

"It's 2020," Stefanski said. "We are ready to go."

Ward Update

CB Denzel Ward also won't be available Sunday and is considered "week to week" after an MRI revealed he had a calf strain. Ward played every snap in the Browns' win over the Eagles and made an interception late in the game.

Stefanski said Ward likely suffered the injury late in the game but didn't know for sure. Asked if Ward was a candidate for injured reserve, which would keep him sidelined for a minimum of three games, Stefanski said, "We will work through that but as of yet we have not put him on there."

"Disappointed for Denzel but really no different than we have talked about with all the guys. They are out and next man has to step up," Stefanski said. "I think you have seen our guys do that throughout this year. So, I am excited for the guys that we will have available to us."

Stefanski said the team is weighing a number of different options and combinations in the secondary to combat Ward's absence. Slot corner Kevin Johnson has spent some time on the outside in the past while Tavierre Thomas, who has mostly played special teams in recent weeks, played extensively at the start of the year.

"We have had a lot of guys playing, so I think we have options there," Stefanski said, "but we will see how that plays out this week."

More Injury News

Three other Browns defensive players are dealing with injuries.

Safeties Sheldrick Redwine (knee) and Andrew Sendejo (groin) and DT Larry Ogunjobi (ankle) are considered day to day, Stefanski said.

S Ronnie Harrison (knee) was slated to participate in practice just a few days after suffering his injury against the Eagles. Harrison sustained a bone bruise early in the action and was limited to six snaps.

If he's ready to go Sunday in Jacksonville, he'll be lining up across from the team that traded him to Cleveland shortly before the start of the season.

"Typically when you play your former team, the guys do get a little bit extra juice from that," Stefanski said. "But Ronnie is a pro. He understands that he has to make sure that his preparation is on point.

Game Balls

Stefanski revealed Wednesday that he doles out game balls to practice squad players who helped the team to a victory by what they did on the practice fields in the days leading up to the game.

Because of tweaks to game-day roster limits — which have allowed teams to elevate practice squad players on Sundays without adding them to the official 53-man roster — and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, practice squad players have taken on even more responsibilities in 2020, and Stefanski is thankful for how much of an impact they've made.

"I really do believe that," Stefanski said. "I think they help us win every week. And then you have to stay ready. These guys like you mentioned, can be up at a moment's notice, so our coaches spend a lot of time with them to make sure that if that happens, they are ready."

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