The Browns held their 16th full-squad practice of training camp today. Here are some highlights from practice and subsequent interviews:
Browns middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson practiced this afternoon for the first time since Aug. 7. He had been sidelined with a sore shoulder.
“It was just sore,” Jackson said. “We had a lot of guys going down and banged up, so we took the precautionary route just to let it calm down a bit. Now I’m back.”
Jackson made his presence felt upon returning. He participated in team drills and thrived in a two-minute session against the first-team offense.
“I’ve spoken numerous times about what he means to this team, not just as a player but as a leader,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “When he’s back out there, it adds to what we can do.”
On second down, Jackson blitzed and recorded a virtual sack against rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. On fourth down, he broke up a pass over the middle, forcing the starting offense to a four-and-out.
In 2009 and 2010, Jackson missed 26 consecutive games with two torn pectoral muscles. He bounced back last season, led the team with 158 tackles and was named a first alternate for the AFC Pro Bowl team.
His health is vital to the success of the defense.
“I take care of my body better than I ever have,” Jackson said. “If something comes up, I’ve dealt with it in the past, so it’s always frustrating. That part never leaves. But you understand as far as sitting out, it’s better to sit out now if something comes up. It’s better to sit out because it’s early. The season hasn’t started. So when we get rolling, I’m full steam ahead.”
Other injury updates
Tight end Benjamin Watson (undisclosed injury) practiced for the first time since Aug. 3. He participated in individual drills but not team drills.
Wide receiver Rod Windsor also returned to practice after sitting out Friday.
The following 11 players missed practice: wide receiver Carlton Mitchell (right leg), cornerback Dimitri Patterson (right ankle), strong safety Usama Young (reported hamstring), rookie running back Trent Richardson (had arthroscopic surgery on left knee Aug. 9), weakside linebacker Chris Gocong (had surgery Aug. 10 to repair torn right Achilles tendon and is out for the season), linebacker Emmanuel Acho (undisclosed), defensive tackle Scott Paxson (right knee), offensive lineman Oniel Cousins (Shurmur cited soreness), defensive end Juqua Parker (undisclosed), defensive tackle Phil Taylor (had surgery to repair torn pectoral muscle May 16 and is out at least until late October) and strongside linebacker Scott Fujita (left leg).
The Browns hope Richardson returns by the regular-season opener on Sept. 9.
“He’s getting better every day, so his progress has been outstanding,” Shurmur said. “He’s about where we thought he’d be at this point, probably a little bit ahead of that. So he’ll be out here soon.”
Plan for Friday
Shurmur said the starters will play about a half in the Browns’ third preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I think it’s fair to say that our ones or the guys that line up as ones will play a half or a little more, maybe a little less,” Shurmur said. “It worked out for the offense that we had 40 plays by halftime [Thursday in the second exhibition game against the Green Bay Packers], which is unique for a preseason game. That was really good work. We got a half of football in 40 plays. You can’t always count on that, so we’re gonna have to kind of reserve the ability to change that plan.”
Who will be the Browns’ No. 2 quarterback, Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace?
“I don’t see a real urgency right now to settle that,” Shurmur said. “Everybody’s out there working hard and Week 1 it’ll pretty much be unveiled who’s two and who’s three. I don’t necessarily see the drama in it quite frankly. They’re working through it.”
Shurmur said he doesn’t think a decision will be made until the Browns have completed their final two exhibition games.
“We’ll just continue to let that play out,” Shurmur said.
Roster move on horizon?
When asked why the Browns cut backup kicker Jeff Wolfert on Saturday instead of using him through the rest of the preseason, Shurmur said, “We feel like we know what we’re going to do at that position, and as we move along here, there could be some changes to the roster. And that’s a spot.”
Shurmur said backup punter Spencer Lanning could serve as a place-kicker during the remaining exhibition games.