Cleveland Browns vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Injury report, practice notes

The Cleveland Browns injury report is looking good as the team prepares for the season’s opening game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Cleveland Browns will head into Sunday’s season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles in good shape.

Cleveland released its first injury report of the week and defensive back Marcus Bailey, who has a groin injury, was the only player that did not practice due to an injury. Left tackle Joe Thomas was also a non-participant on Wednesday, but that was due a veteran’s day off rather than an injury.

Defensive back Tracy Howard and wide receiver Ricardo Louis, both nursing hamstring injuries, and cornerback Tramon Williams, who has been battling a toe injury, were full participants.

The fact that Williams returned to practice is good news for the Browns. While Joe Haden and Jamar Taylor are listed as the starters, Williams should see plenty of action as the nickel corner against the Eagles.

“During the preseason, it was shaky, but now we just understand that the starters are going to be the ones out there playing the entire game,” Haden said on Wednesday. “We have to be able to go out there, make plays and execute. We feel like we have a lot of growing to do as a defense, as a secondary together, so it is just everybody going in there with that hungry mentality knowing we have a lot to prove.”

As for the Eagles, they only listed two players: defensive lineman Vinny Curry was limited, while wide receiver Bryce Treggs did not practice. Both are dealing with knee issues.

In other news from Wednesday’s practice:

Aug 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) on the sidelines during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Falcons won 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) on the sidelines during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Falcons won 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Oh Captain! My Captain!

The Browns announced the result of the team voting for captains and left tackle Joe Thomas, cornerback Joe Haden, linebacker Demario Davis, quarterback Robert Griffin III and linebacker Tank Carder will carry the honor in 2016.

Of course, since these are the Browns, something as simple as voting for a team captain cannot be met without a manufactured controversy, as head coach Hue Jackson was questioned about possible vote rigging in Griffin’s favor.

“They are 100 percent accurate,” Jackson explained. “We didn’t do that. I looked at them. I was a little surprised – I’ll be very honest with you – because obviously, Robert hasn’t been here very long and we haven’t played a real football game yet. For him to be voted captain, he should feel good about that. His teammates feel good about him. No, we didn’t rig that by no stretch of the imagination.”

Jan 3, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell (34) runs past a tackle fromPittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt (91) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Steelers defeated the Browns 28-12. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 3, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell (34) runs past a tackle fromPittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt (91) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Steelers defeated the Browns 28-12. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

It is good to have goals

Running back Isaiah Crowell has a clear goal in mind for the upcoming season.

“I feel like everything I’ve been waiting for is here now,” the third-year running back said Wednesday. “I feel like we have a coach that wants to establish the run game and I really appreciate that because that’s something I feel like is very important and I want to be a part of it because that’s something I feel like is very important and I want to be a part of it.”

If he can pull off the feat, Crowell would be the first Browns running back to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since Peyton Hillis rushed for 1,177 yards in 2010. It would also be a neat trick for a running back who has averaged just 41 yards per game in his first two years in the league, well below the 62.5 yards per game needed to break what was once the hallmark of a top running back.

While the Browns should run the ball more this year – of course, that is always the plan – it still may be hard for Crowell to get enough carries to hit his goal. But the effervescent Jackson is all for him trying.

“Only 1,000? Why not more?” Jackson asked. “Yeah, I think so. I like Crow. Crow has done some good things. He is a very talented player. We just have to get a rhythm and play football the way we know we can, and we are looking forward to it.”

Dec 26, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox (91) sacks Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 26, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox (91) sacks Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

An early test

The Browns rebuilt offensive line will get a test on Sunday, especially when it comes to dealing with defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who went to the Pro Bowl last season after posting 9.5 sacks.

With second-year center Cameron Erving still working to find his footing at center, expect the Eagles to exploit the middle of the line, which means that guards John Greco and Joel Bitonio will be busy.

“Every team is going to try and create double teams to get movement on those big guys and move them to the linebackers. They do a really good job of trying to take you off of those double teams because their linebackers play so quick downhill and they are really aggressive,” Greco said. “We have to look at our gameplan and try to take advantage of those opportunities when we do have double teams and try to get some movement, and if not, we are singled up and going to do the best we can.”

The final word

“There are little things – just mindset and just how everybody goes about their business – but this game is all about wins and losses, and we are here to win. We are not here to lose,” Robert Griffin said. “We are not here to rebuild or anything else. We are here to win. Every time we step out there on that field, every time we go to practice, watch tape, we are watching it with a winning mindset and we have to go play with that same mindset.”

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