Finally, some good injury news for the Cleveland Browns. They will be without their starting quarterback (Baker Mayfield) and top-two running backs (Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt) against the Denver Broncos Thursday night. But they do get back wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who has missed four games with a knee injury.
Jarvis Landry returns from injury
The Browns activated Landry from the injured reserve Thursday afternoon, making him available for the Broncos game. The expectation is he will play. But how much?
That remains to be seen. Landry has been practicing over the last couple of weeks in preparation for this possibility. The Browns decided to activate Landry after he showed enough in practice on Tuesday, even though he worked on a limited basis.
Certainly, it’s welcome news for Browns No. 2 QB Case Keenum, who is making his first start since 2019. Keenum will be backed up by Nick Mullens, whom the Browns elevated from their practice squad Thursday.
And if Odell Beckham Jr. can play through a painful shoulder issue, the two star receivers should provide a lift to a Browns offense that was brutal in Week 7. Neither will be 100%, however. Beckham is officially questionable with a shoulder injury.
Landry, a five-time Pro Bowler, had caught just 6 passes for 80 yards before spraining his knee in Week 2.
Nick Mullens will back up Case Keenum
Mullens is a fourth-year pro who started eight games for the San Francisco 49ers last season in place of an injured Jimmy Garoppolo. He has appeared in 19 games overall in the NFL, completing 64.5% of his passes for 4,714 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions with a passer rating of 87.2.
“I honestly have a ton of confidence in all of our backups,” said Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski. “I really do. I think these guys stay ready so they do not have to get ready. I think they do a great job in the meeting rooms and on the practice field. Specifically to Case, he is a pro. He will be ready if we need him, and that is no different than a lot of these guys.”
Landry is arguably the offense’s second-best and second-most important player behind Chubb, who is out with a calf injury. Landry has caught 242 passes for 3,070 yards and 150 first downs since joining the Browns after the Dolphins traded him in 2018.
The Browns then acquired Beckham the following year. Expectations were the two WRs would recreate the magic they made during their time together at LSU, but that has not happened yet. And with Mayfield dealing with a significant shoulder injury the rest of the season, there’s a real chance it never does.