It was a great weekend for women in sports. On Saturday, Sarah Fuller, Goalkeeper for the Women’s Soccer Team at Vanderbilt, was the first woman to play in a power-5 game (BSP Article). It was a great moment for women, and for sports fans alike. However, little did anyone really know, that history was about to be made again on a sunny Sunday Afternoon in Jacksonville.
Browns Chief of Staff, Callie Brownson, joined Kevin Stefanski’s staff during the off-season. Earlier this year she took part in the first game in NFL History to have women coaching on both sidelines (CLEvsWAS), while another woman was on the field as well, officiating (Sarah Thomas).
Brownson is in her second year as an NFL Assistant. She turned a training internship with the Buffalo Bills, into a full time position on Doug McDermott’s staff. Brownson has also been an offensive quality control coach at Dartmouth, and was also a scouting intern for the New York Jets.
On Sunday, Brownson got to stand alone in the spotlight, as she became the first woman in NFL history to coach a position group in a regular season NFL game. The Browns usual tight ends coach, Drew Petzing, missed the game because his wife was giving birth to their first child on Sunday Morning.
Brownson was singled out by Kevin Stefanski earlier in the week, saying she was crucial to the operation and winning in Cleveland. “That is our job to adjust as coaches and to see who is available to us and put a gameplan together to go win. I would go back to I have some really, really good coaches working with me. On a day like this when you are trying to get the schedule and you are trying to add extra meetings, (Chief of Staff) Callie (Brownson) is putting everything together for us. She is the star of the day and able to put that together. That is where I am lucky to have really good coaches around me.” (Kevin Stefanski)
Congratulations to Callie and the Browns as a whole. She has been a perfect chief of staff for Kevin Stefanski, so it was great to see her get her chance to coach a position group on gameday. We are expecting big things for Callie Brownson and her future. All in all it was a history-making weekend for women all around football.
Other Browns News & Notes
- On Tuesday the Browns finally activated defensive end Myles Garrett from the COVID-19 list. This is huge news for the Browns, as they are going into what could be a critical late season game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Garrett is arguably the best defensive lineman in football, so his presence versus the leagues leading rusher, Derrick Henry, could play a major role on Sunday. However, the Browns won’t be looking for Garrett to sack the quarterback as much as they need him to control the ground game.
- You win some (above), and you lose some. Safety Ronnie Harrison Jr., who was injured early on in the game on Sunday, was placed on the Injured Reserve, and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury. If the Browns do make the playoffs, the hope is that he could return in the wild-card round, but that seems a bit optimistic. The Browns claimed safety Tedric Thomspon off waivers on Tuesday, clearly hoping to add depth in the defensive backfield. Thompson will back up Karl Joseph, who was originally signed to be the starter, but suffered from early-season injuries.
- All-Pro Cornerback, Denzel Ward, is unlikely to face the Titans on Sunday. This is a huge blow for the Browns, especially with how important the game on Sunday is. Ward’s injury is very similar to the one that kept guard Wyatt Teller out for three weeks. Although he has played for three straight weeks, he always is listed as questionable, and is still fighting his way back to full health. Kevin Stefanski described Ward’s injury as week-to-week. “He’s truly week-to-week.” (Kevin Stefanski)
- Wyatt Teller had this to say about comparing his injury to Ward’s: “It sucks,’’ Teller said. “The way that I look at it, and the same thing I said to him was, it can always get worse. The same day that I pulled my calf, another great quarterback for the Cowboys (Dak Prescott), he broke his foot. It would have been really, really, really, really hard to see past that, but he’s obviously very strong-willed and he handled it like a man. It can always be different. You have to count your blessings.’’ Teller reassured Ward that with his work ethic, he’ll be like new in no time. (Cleveland)
- With Ward Sidelined for at least another week, barring a miracle, the rest of the Browns secondary is ready to step up. “I’m disappointed for Denzel, but it’s really no different than we have talked about with all the guys: They are out, and the next man has to step up,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I think you have seen our guys do that throughout this year. Excited for the guys that we will have available to us.” (Kevin Stefanski)
- In some new news, that could potentially have major implications in the game Sunday. The Browns shut down their facility for the first time this month today. They had closed their facility twice in November out of caution. This morning a staffer tested positive, so in a statement the Browns said they would temporarily conduct preparations remotely after a staff member apparently contracted the virus. (CBS)
All in all, having Myles Garrett back should be a huge boost, while losing Harrison Jr., will be a big blow, especially in run defense. Sunday’s game versus the Titans in Nashville, isn’t necessarily a must-win game, but it’s about as close to a must-win game as it could be. If the Browns win on Sunday, they would theoretically only have to win one or two more out of the Jets, Giants, Ravens, and Steelers. If they lose, one of those Ravens/Steelers games will be a must-win, and while they are both inside the friendly confines of FirstEnergy Stadium, it is not the position they want to be in.
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