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Sport News The Cleveland Browns are preparing to play the absences of Covid

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Hosting the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday in a game with potentially crucial ramifications for their playoff ambitions, the Browns announced that 11 of those ruled out are regular starters.
First-choice quarterback Baker Mayfield was one of six players added to the absentees on Wednesday, joining head coach Kevin Stefanski and interim running backs coach Ryan Cordell for testing positive.

It remains to be seen how many of those currently sidelined will be eliminated in time for Saturday – pending further testing – but regardless, the outbreak has taken its toll on pre-match preparations.

The Browns weren’t able to hold a full standard practice this week, splitting into three separate groups for walkthroughs on Wednesday.

“A new step”

Despite the severity of the Browns outbreak, at a league meeting in Texas on Wednesday NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said there are currently no plans to postpone the game.

“We are convinced that with the continuous changes and adaptations of our protocols, we can do it,” he told reporters.

NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr Allen Sills admitted the Browns’ situation coincided with a “substantial increase in positive cases” across the league, stressing that the pandemic had entered “a new phase.”

Sills felt that the Omicron variant, lowered immunity, and increased potency of respiratory illnesses in winter all contributed to an increase in cases, but noted two key differences in the recent increase in cases.

“First of all, a lot more players affected than staff,” Sills said.

“We have about twice as many staff as we have players testing and so generally we have a higher ratio of staff to player cases – in the last four to five days we’ve seen this reverse report. “

The second distinction, “the most important,” said Sills, was a large proportion of asymptomatic or mild cases.

“Looking at our data from the past two days, two-thirds of people have no diagnosed symptoms,” Sills said.

“The rest have very mild symptoms – symptoms that might not even cause them to ask for a test under ordinary circumstances.”

During the meeting, the NFL encouraged players to get the shot and get the shot.

On Dec. 2, the league said 94.4% of its players were vaccinated along with “nearly 100%” of other NFL staff.

“I think everyone is completely focused on how we stay safe, how to do it in the best possible way,” Goodell said.

“Dr. Sills has been consistent, as have the NFLPA medical experts and our independent experts…

“Thank goodness we have Case Keenum”

For Stefanski and the Browns, this new scenario is “just another obstacle”. As 18 doors close, many more open for previously underutilized players to have an impact.

“We have a very good leadership in this team with our players, and I really believe that they are going to focus on the task at hand,” said Stefanski.

“We have guys on this list that we’ve grown who are in meetings and who are diligent in preparation. If we call them this week, they’ll be ready, that’s what they do. job.”

Sport News The Cleveland Browns are preparing to play the absences of Covid

One of those players is quarterback Case Keenum who, in Mayfield’s absence, is suddenly faced with the prospect of leading the offense in a deciding game.

A crucial 24-22 win over the Baltimore Ravens (8-5) at the top of the AFC North last weekend brought the Browns closer to their defeated opponents, who will face a tough test against the Packers. de Green Bay (10-3) Sunday.

Keenum oversaw a win in the absence of an injured Mayfield in Week 7, with throws for 199 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 loss to the Denver Broncos. Two months later, he is preparing for service under very different circumstances.

“It’s pretty unique,” ​​Keenum said. “I would say nothing really surprises me about the NFL these days.

“It just adds one more thing to the portfolio, if you will, of strange events and different situations that arise.”

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer – who is expected to replace the interim head coach if Stefanski is ruled out – has no doubts about Keenum’s ability to lead the team through.

“Thank goodness we have Case Keenum,” said Priefer.

“If you had a real young quarterback, an inexperienced quarterback, it might be more difficult.

“Case is going to execute the game plan exactly as it should be executed, and I know the whole team has confidence in him.”

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