Browns-Saints matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Oct. 21, 2010 @ 3:35 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Here's a closer look at a matchup to watch in Sunday's Browns-Saints game:

Browns wide receivers and tight ends vs. Saints pass defense

How each team deals with injury concerns could tell the tale in this particular matchup.

As of this writing, it was unclear whether Browns WRs Mohamed Massaquoi and Joshua Cribbs would be able to play in Week Seven after each sustained concussions on Sunday at Pittsburgh. If they are out, Chansi Stuckey will see more playing time, and rookie Carlton Mitchell also could get a chance to play. 

Stuckey (five targets, four catches, 46 yards, no TDs in Week Six) has caught 14 passes in the past three weeks and could be the Browns' top target among wide receivers if Massaquoi and Cribbs are out. He has been a dependable possession receiver this season. Second-year pro Brian Robiskie (four targets, two catches, 13 yards last week) has started three of the four games in which he has played this season but has just five catches.

The good news for the Browns is that they have two capable pass-catching tight ends. Browns TE Benjamin Watson is the Browns' leading receiver. He was targeted nine times last week at Pittsburgh and caught six passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Watson can run away from linebackers and safeties alike, and stopping him should be a priority for New Orleans. Reserve TE Evan Moore (nine catches, 202 yards, one TD this season) runs very well and can be split out as a wide receiver.

The Saints, who are allowing just 195.5 yards per game through the air, have some injury issues at cornerback. Starting LCB Jabari Greer (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Tracy Porter, the starting right cornerback, is out with a knee injury. Making matters worse, the Saints placed veteran CB Randall Gay on injured reserve this week because of a concussion.

Should Greer miss Sunday's game, it's unclear whom the Saints might start opposite of rookie RCB Patrick Robinson, who has played well recently. Leigh Torrence and Usama Young may be the next options if Greer can't go. The Saints did get some positive news this week when FS Darren Sharper (knee) returned to practice after spending the first six weeks on the PUP list, but it's unclear whether he will play Sunday.