Cleveland Browns Lose Benjamin Watson to IR, Evan Moore Likely To Start

Brian MurtaughAnalyst IDecember 16, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Tight end Benjamin Watson #82 of the Cleveland Browns makes a catch over cornerback Justin King #21 of the St. Louis Rams at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns placed tight end Benjamin Watson on injured reserve on Friday, and now some glaring holes are beginning to show in what was once a strong point on Cleveland's struggling offensive unit. Watson is currently recovering from his third concussion sustained this season, and is now facing some major health concerns for the rest of his professional career.

The Browns currently have three more tight ends on the active roster. Evan Moore, Alex Smith and Jordan Cameron have seen game action in 2011, but none have contributed nearly to the extent that Watson has over the last two seasons.

Watson is currently second on the Browns roster with 37 receptions and two touchdown catches. In 2010, Watson led the Browns in receiving with 68 grabs for more than 700 yards and three scores. Watson was clearly a favorite target of every Browns quarterback last season and was really one of the few reliable pass catching options Cleveland has had in the past few seasons.

It is expected that Evan Moore will take over most of the tight end duties during Watson's absence. Moore has caught 16 passes on the season, but more importantly, signed a three-year contract extension with the Browns in the early portion of the year. This will be Moore's opportunity to showcase his talents to Cleveland's front office and prove that he has the ability to play tight end at the professional level on a consistent basis.

Moore has been used by the Browns as a wide receiver in multiple instances this season and has become a very good red zone target. In addition to his new starting role, Moore will also be working with Seneca Wallace at quarterback because of a concussion sustained by Colt McCoy against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Wallace and Moore have spent plenty of practice time together over the last two seasons on the second-string offensive squad. Browns fans will have to hope the two have built some sort of connection over all those months of practice or it will be another long offensive Sunday for the orange helmets in Arizona.