The Cleveland Browns lost offensive tackle Jedrick Wills to a serious leg injury on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Wills was carted off the field in the third quarter and he was emotional as he was taken back to the locker room. He had an air cast on his right leg.
Wills went down previously and was taken into the medical tent but re-entered the game to start the second half. Wills dealt with foot and ankle injuries during the week but did not have an injury designation heading into the matchup with the Cardinals.
Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reported after the game that the injury “could threaten” the rest of Wills’ season.
Wills was a first-round pick of the Browns in 2020 and had a fifth-year option picked up this offseason. If it’s a serious injury, Wills’ base salary of $14.175 million for 2024 is guaranteed.
Veteran backup James Hudson III entered the game to fill in for Wills. The Browns are already down right tackle Jack Conklin, who was lost to a season-ending knee injury. Rookie Dawand Jones has filled in for Conklin but he’s also dealing with injury concerns. He was questionable entering Sunday. Jones left the game against the Cardinals but returned.
Jedrick Wills Has Been Criticized for Play
Wills previously played right tackle in college at Alabama and transitioned to the left side after being drafted. He’s expressed that it hasn’t been an easy move.
“It’s just like if you ask a basketball player who’s been playing right handed all their whole life, to switch to their left hand, they’ll look at you like you’re crazy,” Wills said during training camp. “It’s a whole new world … especially when you’re going against 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive ends who run 4.5 40 (yard dashes).”
Wills ability and effort have been a topic of conversation this season. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski backed Wills when asked about his play.
“I just think you focus on the work and you focus on that practice just now and getting better with your technique,” Stefanski said on October 12. “When you’re playing tackle in this league, you’re going to have some moments where the other side gets you. There are some good rushers, as we all know, but he’s going to continue to battle and I think continue to get better.”
Deshaun Watson Shaky in Return From Injury
The most notable injury news in Cleveland has been surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson, who missed three-plus games with a rotator cuff strain. Watson saw a quarter of action against the Indianapolis Colts on October 22 but exited after taking a hard hit. He missed a Week 8 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks but returned to face the Cardinals.
Watson didn’t look quite right against the Cardinals although Cleveland was glad to have him back.
“It motivates us,” Browns star pass-rusher Myles Garrett said ahead of the game. “He’s been a big motivator in the locker room on the field, even though he hasn’t been playing. But seeing him on the field doing his thing, balling out, having fun, supporting the guys. It’s just another level.”
A matchup against the Cardinals was a good test for Watson. The Arizona offense was dismal with rookie quarterback Clayton Tune under center. The Browns defense forced a pair of turnovers that the Browns were able to flip into touchdowns and led comfortably for most of the afternoon.