CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Less than 6 months after tearing his left pectoral muscle, Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor expects to make his season debut Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
Taylor, who was selected with the 21st overall pick in last year’s draft, had 59 tackles and 4 sacks last season as a rookie for the Browns.
“I’m really excited to get back on the field,” Taylor said. “I just want to get back out there and do what I have to do.”
More importantly, Taylor is excited to see the defense close to full strength.
“This defense, we’ll be really good once we get back to full strength,” Taylor said. “Right now we’re missing a few pieces but I’ll be up and do what I have to do for the team.
“When we’re all healthy, we’ll be good.”
While Taylor isn’t expected to start, coach Pat Shurmur sounded pretty confident Wednesday morning that No. 98 would be able to at least rotate up front Sunday.
“If things go well we’ll have Phil [Taylor] back,” Shurmur said. “He’s gotta have a good week of practice. We’ve got to see him being able to function.”
Cornerback Joe Haden is excited about the thought of getting Taylor back up front on a defensive line which has played above expectations with rookies Billy Winn and John Hughes.
“He’s a really good run stopper, obviously because he’s huge,” Haden said. “Just being able to put pressure on the quarterback and the rotation of such good defensive linemen with him, (Ahtyba) Rubin, (John) Hughes and Billy Winn, all those dudes being healthy and being able to go full steam when they’re in there is just going to help out tremendously.”
He’ll assume the roster spot vacated by Emmanuel Stephens who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Stephens sustained a neck injury in Sunday’s 7-6 win over the Chargers.
“It’s unfortunate,” Shurmur said. “But we’ll get him better and try to get him back at some point next year.”
As for returning in time to face Ravens running back Ray Rice, Taylor doesn’t seem too worried.
“He’s just a name, you know?,” Taylor said. “They got Ray Rice, we got Trent Richardson. I don’t care.”
Staying Dry: Shurmur once again moved practice inside Wednesday.
“Those fields have taken a lot of water here in the last couple of days,” Shurmur said. “Even if it was warmer, I might consider going in just because of the sloppiness.”
Following Sunday’s 7-6 sloppy win the the driving wind and rain, some criticized Shurmur for moving indoors so often but he has a valid reason for not practicing in the elements – especially this week.
“You want consistent footing. You don’t want guys slopping around,” Shurmur said. “I think the new artificial surfaces are a little easier on the legs so you can practice on them when you have a choice to practice outside in past years.
“My philosophy in terms of practice is there’s a lot of new stuff being installed, and what you want to try to do is create an environment where they can focus and concentrate and execute the new stuff. Sometimes that involves battling the elements, other times it doesn’t.”
Fighting The Elements: Quarterback Brandon Weeden got his first taste of Cleveland weather late in a football season – rain, wind and cold.
He’s yet to see snow.
“From what I understand, what everybody is telling me it’s going to be like that the rest of the year,” Weeden said. “So I just have to fight through it.”
Understandably, Weeden struggled throwing the ball against the Chargers completing 11 of 27 passes for 129 yards but he did learn a lesson.
“You better grip and rip with the football,” Weeden said. “I talked to Pat [Shurmur] on Monday night. He was like, ‘Man, for a quarterback that’s about as bad gets – wind, rain and cold – whew, that’s not fun.’ As a quarterback, [when] it gets cold, when your out there it’s not as bad unless you get wet. Once I got wet, I don’t think I thawed out until midnight.”
Practice Squad Move: The Browns filled their vacant practice squad opening by signing defensive lineman Hall Davis from Louisiana-Lafayette.
Davis was drafted by the Rams in the 5th round (No. 149 overall) in 2010 and he spent the 2012 preseason with the Oakland Raiders.
Injury Report: Did Not Practice – CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle) and DT Ahtyba Rubin (calf).
Limited – DT John Hughes (arm), LB D’Qwell Jackson (foot/toe), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib), DE Brian Sanford (knee), S Ray Ventrone (hand/calf) and SS T.J. Ward (hand/shoulder).
Full Participation – DBs Johnson Bademosi (hip and Tashaun Gipson (knee); LB James-Michael Johnson (knee/groin), RG Shawn Lauvao (groin), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (chest/ribs), DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder/toe), OL Jarrod Shaw (illness), LS Christian Yount (shoulder) and QB Brandon Weeden (groin/thigh).