CLEVELAND — The protest during the national anthem has been a little different each week of the Eagles' preseason.
This time, safety Malcolm Jenkins stayed in the tunnel adjoining the Eagles' sideline, as he'd done last week at New England, but unlike last week, corner De'Vante Bausby didn't stay back with Jenkins — Bausby was on the sideline with the rest of the team.
Defensive end Michael Bennett was the last Eagle to take the field, as he has been each week, Bennett presumably remaining in the locker room during the anthem. Each week, Bennett has walked to the field with team security director Dom DiSandro.
Last week, Jenkins explained that he opted for the tunnel instead of his usual raised-fist gesture during the anthem to try to focus attention on the racial issues that underlie the protests, and not on the anthem itself.
Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills and running back Josh Adams returned to the lineup after missing last week's game with injuries, but most of the players absent against the New England Patriots remained out against the Browns.
The Eagles missed three of their top three wide receivers: Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Mack Hollins, along with Bryce Treggs, Markus Wheaton, and Kamar Aiken. If you thought the Eagles were undermanned at wide receiver, just look at running back. Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Donnel Pumphrey were out because of injuries. Darren Sproles is healthy, but has been held out this preseason. The Eagles are giving that same treatment to tackle Jason Peters.
Richard Rodgers and Josh Perkins were out at tight end. Brandon Graham did not play even though he was activated from the physically-unable- to-perform list this week. Safety Chris Maragos remains on PUP and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan remains on the non-football injury list.
Wendell Smallwood made his case as the Eagles' fourth running back, playing all but one snap of the first half and gaining 53 yards on a dozen carries … The one first-half snap Smallwood didn't get at RB was a disaster, Matt Jones running into Terrance Mitchell and fumbling the ball away … Jason Kelce seemed to have suffered a back injury early but quickly returned to the game after an exam. But with Kelce, Stefen Wisniewski and Halapoulivaati Vaitai all getting checked out on the sideline at different times, Isaac Seumalo went into halftime having seen action at center, left guard, left tackle and third tight end … DeAndre Carter was a bright spot, zipping 45 yards with a pair of first-half passes.