JOK shines in Browns’ debut, team awaits results on Wilson

NFL

CLEVELAND (AP)Mack Wilson’s shoulder injury could push Browns rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah into the starting lineup sooner than expected.

The team was awaiting MRI results on Wilson, a projected starter on Cleveland’s revamped defense after he injured his shoulder early in Saturday night’s 23-13 exhibition win at Jacksonville.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski provided little information Sunday on Wilson’s status – or for any of the other Cleveland players – hurt in the preseason opener. Stefanski wasn’t precise on when Wilson was injured.

”It was one of the first couple of plays and just dinged that shoulder,” he said on a Zoom call. ”Honestly not exactly sure which play it was and I can vividly remember him grabbing it. We’ll see how he comes out of it after the MRI.”

Wilson, who was so down he considered retirement last season after he injured his knee and struggled when he came back. has been having a strong training camp. His latest medical setback will test Cleveland’s depth at linebacker.

It could also accelerate Owusu-Koramoah’s rise on the depth chart. The second-round pick from Notre Dame was one of the biggest bright spots in Cleveland’s convincing win.

Flashing the speed that made him attractive to the Browns before the draft, Owusu-Koramoah, who missed the start of camp after testing positive COVID-19, recorded a team-high eight tackles – three for loss – and a sack in his pro debut.

Stefanski lauded Owusu-Koramoah’s performance while also pointing out some flaws.

”He did make splash plays,” Stefanski said. ”He made good tackles along the sideline, made a nice play on that screen. He needs to clean up his eye progression and he understands that and the coaches are working very hard.

”To really play fast in this league, it’s when you’re not thinking, and I think he’s getting there. With a lot of work, I think he will get there. But I think overall he understands that there’s plenty of work to be done.”

Stefanski was not ready to commit to Owusu-Koramoah getting snaps with the starters.

”As we continue to progress through training camp, we’ll continue to meet as coaches and discuss those types of things,” he said. ”With all of our rookies, we bring them up all on different time frames and some guys are ready for more and some guys aren’t. So we’ll make that on a case by case basis.”

NOTES: While they waited for Wilson’s rest results, the Browns feared TE Stephen Carlson suffered a season-ending knee injury in the win. Undrafted from Princeton, Carlson has spent the past two seasons with Cleveland and was expected to be the club’s fourth tight end in 2021. … The Browns rested most of its starters, including quarterback Baker Mayfield and All-Pro DE Myles Garrett against the Jags. Stefanski doesn’t know who will be back for this week’s two joint practices with the New York Giants before the teams play Sunday.

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