Browns Should Bench Damarious Randall, Start Sheldrick Redwine Rest of Season

Pete Smith

The Cleveland Browns should bench Damarious Randall and start Sheldrick Redwine the rest of the season at free safety. The team shouldn't cut Randall because the team is so thin at safety, if Redwine were to get hurt at this point, they'd be pulling a fan from the stands to play free. The bottom line is that Randall no longer matters. He's not going to be the solution at free safety and Redwine may not be either, but he will be here next season and Randall won't.

Whatever Randall did to essentially be grounded for the biggest game of the year makes it painfully clear the team can't rely on him. This comes down to standards and expectations. Being a member of the Browns is supposed to mean something and if a player can't be accountable to the team or his teammates, let alone for a must-win game against the team the Browns want to beat most, it requires action. Sitting him for that game is fine, but there's little reason to put him back on the field. The team needs to be focused on accountable players able contribute to where the team is headed.

Randall's season has been riddled with injuries and frustration. When he's been on the field, he's played poorly, so it's not putting the team in a difficult situation on how to handle him. He's unreliable and he's not playing well. He's scheduled to be a free agent after the season and there's no reason to think the team will bring him back, so putting him back on the field in a starting role when there are other viable options serves little purpose.

Beyond that, rookie Sheldrick Redwine was decent enough in his starting debut to merit a further look. He wasn't particularly good, but he at least looked like an NFL football player. As poorly as Randall has played this year, switching to Redwine is basically an even trade in terms of impact. Redwine will be here next season and this experience could prove valuable as the team has to search for answers at both safety spots. Even if he's not up to starting next year, four more games of starting reps would help his development to contribute in the event of an injury or subpackages, both of which have been factors this season.

This isn't a situation where playing Redwine is waving the white flag on the season, nor is this suggestion the Browns should sit healthy veterans out for the sake of younger players as they play out the string the final four games. Redwine starting is prudent for the future but does nothing to harm their chances of winning any of their final four games, which they should still be fully committed to doing. It's simply a matter of what is best for the Cleveland Browns.

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