All-Pro cornerback Joe Haden is among five key contributors that will be inactive for the Browns regular season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers today.
The 24-year-old Haden will miss the game because of a hip pointer that has bugged him over the last week. Rookie Leon McFadden will make his first career start in Haden’s absence.
In addition, both Phil Taylor (concussion) and John Hughes (knee) on the defensive line are out. Ishmaa’ily Kitchen and Billy Winn will get the starts there.
On the offensive side, guards Jason Pinkston (concussion) and Shawn Lauvao (thigh) will not play. John Greco will switch over to right guard and start, while rookie Garrett Gilkey will make his first career start at left guard.
Tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) is active and expected to start.
With all of these injuries, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is lined up for a field day at home. Receiver Antonio Brown ranks third in the NFL in receiving yards and already was a matchup nightmare. Without Haden, the Steelers could pass all over the Browns, who also are missing one of their most disruptive forces on the line. It could be a long end to the season.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.