BEREA, Ohio (AP)Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson could be without top target Amari Cooper on Sunday in Cincinnati after the wide receiver sustained a hip injury in practice.
Cooper leads Cleveland with 61 catches for 832 yards and seven touchdowns. He didn’t practice Friday and is listed as questionable against the Bengals (8-4), who have lost five straight to the Browns (5-7).
Coach Kevin Stefanski didn’t provide any details on Cooper’s injury, only saying it happened near the end of Thursday’s workout. Stefanski said Cooper will receive treatment the team will ”see where it lands.”
Cooper was briefly in the locker room after practice and said ”should be” when asked if he’ll be able to play.
Watson is hoping to bounce back from a rusty debut for Cleveland last week in Houston in his return from an 11-game NFL suspension for alleged sexual misconduct.
In his first game in 700 days, Watson completed just 12 of 22 passes for 131 yards against his former team. Cleveland’s defense bailed him out by scoring two TDs and the Browns had a punt return for a score in a 27-14 win.
Watson admitted it was a challenging for him to handle the emotions of his comeback. The three-time Pro Bowler spent this week working in practice on his mechanics, which showed major rust.
Stefanski said it’s natural for any player to get back to basics after struggling.
”What happens in any game, you look at it, and `Here is what you would do differently. Here is a correction that you can make for alignment. Here is a six-inch step that we need you to take,’ he said. ”It’s all of those type of things that you work on postgame.
”That’s part of playing this game is doing something, making a correction and making sure you work on it the next week.”
Cooper had a team-high four catches for 40 yards last week, but he and Watson didn’t connect on a few over easy throws.
”Just timing,” Cooper said when asked how he can help Watson improve. ”Obviously, that is something that you really want to get down pat – that relationship between the quarterback and receiver because we all run at different tempos, different stride lengths and stuff like that.
”The more we can do to get him acclimated to each of our stride lengths in terms of breaking out of a route and stuff like that, I think that is No. 1.”
NOTES: Browns All-Pro DE Myles Garrett said he fell asleep and didn’t see former teammate Baker Mayfield’s dramatic comeback for the Rams on Thursday night. Garrett found out about the QB’s heroics from his physical therapist. ”And so I wake up and there’s a text waiting on me,” Garrett said. ”He’s like, `you won’t believe it’. I said, yeah, I will.”
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