Clayton: Don’t expect offensive fireworks in Broncos-Browns showdown
Don’t expect an offensive shootout Thursday night when the Broncos play the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns won’t have starting quarterback Baker Mayfield, who loses a streak of 51 consecutive starts. He has a completely torn left labrum and was ruled out Wednesday.
The backfield won’t have Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, both injured. Odell Beckham Jr. may try to play, but he won’t be the same. He has a third degree AC joint sprain. Tackles Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills, as well as center J.C. Trotter, are questionable.
Backup quarterback Case Keenum has to make the best of a tough situation filling in for Mayfield as the starter.
The Broncos have their own problem and it could be at quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater is questionable with a foot-ankle injury. Though he should be able to play, he won’t be able to scramble and you wonder if he’s going to be able to throw the ball as effectively as normal.
Remember, Bridgewater is playing a defense that can really pressure the quarterbacks. The Browns have Myles Garrett and should have Jadeveon Clowney, who can really rush. The tackles will have to play at their best.
What I didn’t realize is how much Bridgewater got pounded last Sunday. He endured 17 quarterback hits. That might be the most for any quarterback this season. No quarterback can survive that for too long.
“Some of them aren’t what you would call hits, but currently, you don’t want your quarterback to accumulate hits in any way, shape or form,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “Some of it does come down to the fact we got into a throw kind of deal where you are throwing it more. They tend to add up.”
In other words, the Broncos need to run the ball more. The Browns might have a tough time doing that.