BEREA,Ohio--Joe says he's ready.
The Browns Pro Bowl cornerback hasn't seen any game action since Nov. 1,2015 when he went to the ground with a concussion and ankle injury against the Arizona Cardinals. Haden had a further set back during the off-season program when he re-injured his ankle and had to have surgery on the ankle. Haden vowed that he would be ready for the regular season. He practiced last week, but was held out of the preseason game with Atlanta, but he's expected to play Friday night after practicing this week with Tampa Bay.
"It just feels good to be back out there," Haden said. "Going against other players and just lining up, back peddling, breaking on passes. It feels good."
Haden said he has had no set backs, but has just been brought along slowly by the coaching and training staff.
"It's going really well," Haden said. "I haven't had any setbacks. Everything is just getting better and better and I'm able to do more and more, breaking, jumping and able to do a little bit of everything. Now, I'm able to do 11-on-11 and full team stuff, full go. I'm just getting better and better."
Big Play Josh: WR Josh Gordon practiced last week, but was held out of the game. However, facing a four-week suspension to start the season, he is expected to play this week against Tampa Bay. Gordon caught three passes in a row from QB Josh McCown in 7-on-7, including a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone. Later, in team 11-on-11, Gordon went up and took a pass from QB Robert Griffin III away from DB Eric Patterson for a long touchdown. WR Terrelle Pryor, Sr. caught a touchdown pass on the very next play as no one covered him down the field.
Jackson said he's anxious to see Gordon.
“What is important is that I don’t really know him yet as a football player," Jackson said. "I’m learning and I need to see what he is able to do. He is talented, obviously. He has a lot of talent. The more I can see him and feel him before because he will be away and not able to do that, the more I can understand when he gets back and he can hit the ground running the right way. It is important for him to be out there with those guys. It is important for him to be with the ones because I think he is going to be one of our better players. We have to put him out there and see what he is capable of doing.”
Taylor with First Team: DB Jamar Taylor was with the first unit at cornerback in place of DB Tramon Williams. Jackson said they're going to look at him there with Williams moving inside to the slot.
“It means he is one of starting corners,” Jackson said.
Jackson said Taylor has earned the first team reps.
“He plays the game we want him to play it," Jackson said. "He made some plays the other night on the ball. I expect our corners to get their hands on balls and defend the other teams’ receivers. We are going to keep mixing and matching until we get this right. That is just how I am. That is how our defensive staff is. This is how our offensive staff is. Our job is to put the best players out there and give them a chance to play and put people in position to be successful. That’s what we are going to do.”
Duke Dinged: RB Duke Johnson, Jr. walked off of practice Sunday with the trainers but Hue Jackson said he doesn't think it's anything serious.“We’re just going to check him," Jackson said. "He just got tagged one time. I think he’ll be alright.”
They're Back: Several of the injured players returned to practice on Sunday and Hue Jackson expects most all of the players to be available for the third preseason game next Friday night with Tampa Bay.
“That’s my plan," Jackson said. "I’ll check with our medical staff, but hopefully, the fact that they’re out here first day and in pads with everybody else, I think there is a good chance those guys will have an opportunity to play. It’s good to have them back and look forward to the rest of the week and see what they can do.”
WR Andrew Hawkins (hamstring), OL Joe Thomas (back), DL John Hughes (personal), QB Austin Davis (concussion) all were back on the field. There were three players working with the trainers: DL Nile Lawrence-Stample (shoulder), DB Trey Caldwell (hamstring) and WR Ricardo Louis (hamstring). RB Glenn Winston was not on the practice field.
Browns Sign Boyce: The Browns signed WR Josh Boyce and waived/injured WR Dennis Parks. Boyce (5-11, 205) is in his second season out of TCU. Originally selected by New England in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Boyce has appeared in 10 games with three starts. He has totaled nine receptions for 121 yards. He has spent most of 2016 with the Colts until being waived last week.
On the Road: The Browns will travel on Monday to Tampa Bay and will practice with the Bucs on Tuesday and Wednesday before playing them Friday night in the third preseason game.
“It has been great," Jackson said. "A lot of teams probably wouldn’t do it on the third week, but I thought it would be best for us, and I couldn’t foresee the physical injuries that we would have or anything. It wasn’t any magic solution. It just worked out this way. It’s working out in our favor because it is important for us and what we have in the future.”