BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Kenny Britt looked and sounded like a different guy Thursday.
Britt was smiling and engaging as he fielded questions in front of his locker about this week’s game in Indianapolis, and for him, the challenge that head coach Hue Jackson gave him this week after receiver Corey Coleman broke his right hand for the second straight year.
“We all gotta come together and pick up the slack because we all know how important Corey is,” Britt said. “We all have to band together.”
With Coleman lost for at minimum the next 8 weeks, the Browns desperately need Britt to step up and play like the guy they gave $32.5 million to this offseason. Jackson spoke with Britt earlier this week about his slow start and the need to pick it up on and off the field.
“Oh, I have challenged our guys every day and I have challenged him that he needs to step up and make plays and I think he will, I really do,” Jackson said. “Again, this is where we are. We have to make some plays and we understand that these are the guys that we have and Kenny is the elder statesman in that room and I think he will raise up and help lead these young guys and we will go play good this week.”
In 2 games Britt has been targeted just 5 times and he has 2 catches for 15 yards.
There have been times against the Steelers and Ravens where Britt has been open and the ball never went his way. There have been also others where Britt appeared to be disinterested, but without knowledge of the specific play call or his responsibilities on a given play, it’s difficult to levy such an accusation.
Regardless, Britt said that he took the conversation with Jackson to heart.
“Man-to-man,” Britt said. “[He challenged me] to step up, bring more energy to practice on and off the field and in the classroom. Because we’re leading down a path that we didn’t believe we would go. 0-2 is not where we wanted to be and is not where we’re going to stay. As long as we do the right things and the small things we’ve been missing the last 2 games, I believe that we could be contending in this league.
“I’ve always been up to any challenge.”
Receiver might be the weakest position on the team, especially from a depth standpoint, which makes Britt’s contributions even more critical to their survival.
Rashard Higgins came off the practice squad to lead the Browns with 7 catches for 95 yards last week. Ricardo Louis has caught 4 of 5 targets for 59 yards through 2 games while Kasen Williams was benched last week and Sammie Coates hasn’t practiced the last 2 days because of a hamstring injury.
Britt doesn’t see the situation to be nearly as dire as the rest of the world views it.
“We can be one of the top offenses once we start clicking,” Britt said.
Not Ready, Yet – While his teammates stretched Myles Garrett walked out of the locker room before sprinting over to the exercise machines at the beginning of Thursday’s practice.
“I think we are getting closer,” Jackson said. “He has done everything he can do, and then some, trying to make sure that he can hurry up and get back, because he wants to be out there with his teammates. At the same time, we are going to be smart about it and make sure that everything is good to go, so that when he is ready to go, that he is really ready to go.”
While Garrett’s progress is clearly significant, it appears that he isn’t ready to make his debut Sunday in Indianapolis.
Up, Down Welcome – Gregg Williams welcomed the 2 new Browns defenders to his team prior to Thursday’s practice with 40 up-downs.
Defensive back Reggie Porter, who was signed off Baltimore’s practice squad Wednesday, was 1 of the 2 players that the entire defensive unit gathered around and cheered on.
Injury Report – DNP: DE Myles Garrett (ankle), LB Jamie Collins (concussion), WR Sammie Coates (hamstring); LIMITED: DL T.Y. McGill (back); FULL: LT Joe Thomas (knee/rest), WR Kenny Britt (knee), TE Randall Telfer (knee), RG Kevin Zeitler (thumb)