BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – There’s a chance that the Browns defensive line could be at full strength for the first time this season.
Defensive tackle Danny Shelton, who suffered a calf injury during practice last Wednesday that forced him to miss the first game of his career, returned Thursday.
“That was exciting,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “It’s always good to get our players back.”
Jackson believes there’s a good chance that Shelton could play in Sunday’s game against the Jets.
Shelton’s return would come in conjunction with the regular season debut of rookie defensive end Myles Garrett, who has practiced the last 2 weeks and has been limited but tweeted in Spanish Wednesday “I’m back.”
Jackson plans to keep a close eye on Garrett’s playing time.
“I’m sure we will have him on a pitch count,” Jackson said. “He is just now getting back to practice a week ago. He has put together a week and a half of practice, but still, he has been off for quite a while, too. I think we have to be smart about our expectations of him this weekend.”
It would mark the first time that Garrett and Shelton have been able to play together this season.
“I think he will have a lot of impact,” Shelton said. “We are just focusing on being dominant up front so we can help out the team.”
Too Early To Judge – With the Browns 1-19 since the latest plan to reconstruct the franchise commenced at the outset of 2016 criticism of both executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and Jackson have been mounting.
Left tackle Joe Thomas, who has gone through 6 regime changes in 11 seasons, doesn’t feel the criticism is fair to either Brown or Jackson.
“Even ownership and management came out when they started on this journey and kinda gave that 4-5 year timeline and sort of where they expected things to really be turning around,” Thomas said. “So, I don’t think it’s really fair to judge either Sashi and his crew or Hue and his crew after a year and 4 games because of that fact. Because of the depth and the significance of the tear-down and the rebuild.”
Despite adding 47 players since 2016, including 38 with 2 or fewer years of experience, the Browns have maintained – at least publicly that they are trying to win.
“No matter your circumstances, you are always trying as hard as you can to win with the players, the coaches and everybody that you have in the building,” Thomas said. “I don’t think that ever changes, but as far as if you are thinking from a high level ownership perspective, how am I evaluating the job that everyone has done? I think you have to be patient when it comes to those things.”
Britt Biking It – Receiver Kenny Britt, who continues to come under fire for under-performing after signing a 4-year, $32 million deal with $17 million guaranteed, remained on the bike Thursday during the portion of practice open to reporters with a knee and groin injury.
“Kenny is a pro,” Jackson said. “He will handle however this weekend unfolds for him the best. We have a lot of football to play. Kenny is going to be a huge part of that so he has to get himself ready to go, and he will do that.”
Britt has caught just 8 of 23 targets this season for 121 yards and a touchdown that have included several drops – 2 of which have deflected off of him and resulted in interceptions.
Collins Closer – Linebacker Jamie Collins remains sidelined by the concussion suffered Sept. 17 at Baltimore but he could be closer to making his way back.
“I think he’s getting closer,” Jackson said. “No question he is getting closer but just not out of the protocol yet. He is definitely better than what he has been so we are closer to having him back out there.”
It didn’t sound like Collins has resumed physical activities just yet.
“I think we are closer to that phase than we were a week ago,” Jackson said.