Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur insisted that the decision to play Buster Skrine at cornerback instead of Sheldon Brown was a coach's decision and was no influenced by the injury Brown sustained last week.
#Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Sheldon Brown was not injured they just decided to go with Buster Skrine— Will Burge (@WillBurge) September 16, 2012
Shurmur on why Skrine over Brown "Sheldon is fine, we played Buster"— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) September 16, 2012
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton went after Skrine for much of the day and exploited the entire Browns secondary, passing for over 300 yards. Shurmur claims that playing Skrine was a coach's decision, but Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward believes that injury has to be the reason Sheldon Brown was held out.
"I'd be shocked if his health wasn't an issue," safety T.J. Ward said. "You ask any team in the NFL what it would be like to go into a game without their two starting cornerbacks, it's going to be pretty difficult. We have other guys who are able to come and fill a job, but the two guys start for a reason because they are the best cornerbacks on your team. ... The big plays hurt us overall."
Brown played only one down Sunday, but that was good enough to extend Brown's games-played streak to 162. Fellow cornerback Joe Haden will miss three more games with suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, so a healthy Sheldon Brown -- if indeed health is the issue -- would be a huge boost for a struggling Cleveland secondary.