It’s not going to be easy for the Cleveland Browns to rebound after last week’s 21-21 draw with the Pittsburgh Steelers entering Week 2, especially when that Week 2 opponent is Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, who are coming off a heartbreaking 48-40 loss at the hands of Tampa Bay. You know the Saints are coming in hungry for their first win, so that means the Browns need everyone healthy to provide the counter punch.
One guy they may not know will be fully healthy is defensive end, Emmanuel Ogbah. Ogbah injured his left ankle in the first quarter of last week’s game and has been fighting the high-ankle sprain since. Head Coach Hue Jackson initially ruled the third year lineman from Oklahoma State out earlier this week. However, on Wednesday they announced that he might be cleared to play down in “The Big Easy.”
For head coaches, these decisions are never easy. Ogbah has been one of the most consistent players the Browns have drafted in recent years and that’s not saying a lot. He’s currently the highest pick remaining from the Browns 2016 Draft class. For Coach Jackson, the decision of whether or not to play Ogbah comes with a high risk of putting more pressure on that ankle and injuring it even more.
Additionally, Ogbah has had a recent history missing playing time.
Last year, Ogbah suffered a fractured foot in Week 11 vs. Jacksonville, resulting in him missing the rest of the season. Yes, that was his right foot and this time it’s his left foot, but Ogbah is arguably one of the most talented defensive ends the Browns have at this point and you need him fully healthy in order to give yourself a chance to win. The rest of the starting line is comprised of Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi and Trevon Coley.
If Ogbah starts to play and he does not look 100%, the best option for Jackson and Gregg Williams to send in is their rookie defensive end out of Miami (FL), Chad Thomas. Thomas showed huge promise in the preseason, even with limited playing time. Even in his time at Miami, he was arguably the toughest defender in all of the ACC. We do not fully know whether or not Thomas can compete yet at a high level and throwing him in against New Orleans for his debut is a huge task. However, he may have to be called upon if Ogbah isn’t healthy enough to play.