Already thin, the Cleveland Browns’ group of wide receivers has gotten skeletal.
Rookie Derrick Willies broke his collarbone in practice Friday and will miss Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers and likely several more, further depleting a receiving unit lacking experienced playmakers.
Willies came off the bench last week after Rashard Higgins injured his right knee and made the game’s biggest play in an overtime win. But both he and Higgins will miss this week’s game, and the Browns (2-2-1) will have to go further down their depth chart.
Rookie Damion Ratley will likely be active and fill in for Willies as Cleveland’s No. 3 receiver behind Jarvis Landry and rookie Antonio Callaway. Running back Duke Johnson, who led the team in receptions last season, can also line up wide or in the slot.
CHIEFS: Wide receiver DeAnthony Thomas broke a leg during practice and could miss the rest of the season, the latest in a string of injuries to befall the unbeaten team.
The Chiefs also listed Justin Houston as doubtful for Sunday night’s game against the Patriots in New England with a hamstring injury. Free safety Eric Murray has been ruled out with an ankle injury and offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is out with a broken bone in his leg.
Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said that Thomas was taking part in Thursday’s practice when he got stepped on from behind, fracturing the same leg he broke in a game last December. Thomas had surgery to repair the break and had a metal rod inserted, though the latest break did not damage that repair.
JAGUARS: Jacksonville signed former New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers and placed left tackle Josh Wells on injured reserve with a groin injury.
Flowers was waived by the Giants on Tuesday after he failed to live up to lofty expectations. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft. Flowers was moved from left to right tackle this season after the Giants signed Nate Solder, but lost that job to Chad Wheeler after just two games.
The Jaguars are down both Wells and Cam Robinson at left tackle, and will start Josh Walker at Dallas. Flowers could take over as early as next week against Houston.
The move Friday reunites Flowers with Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations who was the Giants’ coach when he was drafted. Jacksonville offensive line coach Pat Flaherty served in the same role in New York during Flowers’ rookie season.